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0609 PD: New hire Dana Brooks

Published on 09 April 2009

Dana Brooks
Senior Director for Government Relations at National Milk Producers Federation in Arlington, Virginia

Education
First, I have a degree in agriculture from University of Arkansas – Monticello. Second, I have years of practical agriculture application. Now, I have a large network of professional relationships in Washington, D.C. Plus, I am an effective communicator. On a personal level, my father was involved in a fatal farm accident in 1996. I truly understand and can relate to the ups and downs, hardships, economic difficulties and emotional strains in agriculture production. I have a desire to help farmers and a passion to positively represent a farmer’s daughter.

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Background/Experience
My resume includes grain merchandiser, rice buyer, crop consultant, research assistant, grain inspector, small business owner, legislative assistant and government relations director. I have worked in agriculture directly or indirectly for 20 years. The last nine years I have been involved in the legislative process either as a congressional legislative assistant or government relations director. I had the privilege of working for two agricultural champions in the House of Representatives – Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR) and Rep. JoAnn Emerson (R-MO). Then I pursued a wonderful opportunity working for the American Farm Bureau and Florida Farm Bureau, focusing on the Farm Bill and disaster assistance programs. I’ve come a long way from baling hay and farming catfish to lobbying Congress and advocating for dairy farmers.

How will you be of most help to producers in your area of expertise?
Some of my colleagues tend to poke fun at my excitement and enthusiasm, but I can express the plight of a farmer during economic crises, the concerns of a producer with transportation and energy costs increasing and the enthusiasm of a manufacturer regarding a new product.

What excites you most about working in your new role?
No other sector of agriculture works more days or longer hours consistently than a dairy farmer. The cows must be milked everyday regardless of weather, temperature or sickness. I truly admire the commitment of dairymen. Coming to NMPF, I wanted to be more involved in food safety, nutrition and animal agriculture issues. I admit that these are not my strengths; however, my excitement regarding these new issues has pressed me to learn quickly.

What’s your best story from the first day on the job?
I was told that I could take the first week to settle in and organize my office. The second day was a whirlwind of activity and has been ever since. Therefore, my office looks exactly the same (maybe slightly more unorganized) as the first day I walked into NMPF. My predecessor’s files are still everywhere. I promised Jerry Kozak, NMPF CEO and president, that I would hang some pictures, organize my work space and store old files by the end of April. Check back with me on that! PD

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