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[Podcast] DMI CEO Barb O’Brien: New leadership and opportunities for 2022

Progressive Dairy Published on 08 December 2021

After more than three decades, 2021 saw new leadership installed at Dairy Management Inc. – the organization that manages the industry’s checkoff program. Barb O’Brien succeeded long-time CEO Tom Gallagher earlier this year. Editor Walt Cooley recently caught up with O’Brien to talk about what changes dairy farmers can expect in the checkoff under her leadership and some of the key issues she believes are facing the dairy industry.

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Season 3, Episode 41


Here is a breakdown of the episode:

  • Was it a good thing or a bad thing that DMI leadership hasn’t turned over for decades? [~1:25]
  • What do you like about working for the dairy checkoff? [~4:30]
  • What are some things that will change (and won’t change) under your leadership? [~6:30]
  • Will producers see external changes at DMI? Or are changes most likely internal ones? [~10:00]
  • Tell us about DMI’s own podcast and what it covers. [~12:30]
  • What will be DMI’s budget priorities under your tenure? [~13:40
  • What are some opportunities you see for dairy in 2022? [~18:30] 
  • How do you describe Gen Z as dairy consumers? [~20:30]
  • What should school milk look like for Gen Z? [~23:05]
  • Tell listeners about climate change and what dairy’s role should be in it. [~27:30]
  • Explain the farmer “listening tour” that you intend to embark on. [~32:25]
  • What do you think are your greatest strengths or qualifications to lead at this time? [~34:20]
  • Give your rapid-fire responses about these favorites: ice cream, pets, season of the year, etc. [~36:45]


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