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Source: Midwest Dairy Association news release

Midwest Dairy Association, a nonprofit organization which manages dairy farmer checkoff funds in a 10-state region, has named Trudy Wastweet as chief operating officer, a new leadership position.

Currently serving as the director of congressional relations for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C., she will begin with Midwest Dairy on March 27, reporting directly to CEO Lucas Lentsch, and will be based in the organization's St. Paul, Minnesota, corporate office. Wastweet previously served as the deputy secretary of the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.

"I am pleased to bring someone with Trudy's expertise and professional experience in public policy, advocacy, outreach and communications to work on behalf of Midwest Dairy's 8,000 dairy farm families," said Lentsch.

In her new role, Wastweet will be responsible for developing the strategic and corporate communications plan for Midwest Dairy as well as leading the day-to-day operations of the Industry Relations and Integrated Communications teams. Her non-checkoff responsibilities will include strategic leadership and relationship coordination for Midwest Dairy's partnerships with four state trade organizations, including South Dakota Dairy Producers, Nebraska State Dairy Association, Minnesota Milk Producers Association and Iowa State Dairy Association, which provide public policy and education support to member farmers in those states.

"It is an exciting time for the dairy industry with the potential to reach new consumers with innovative new dairy products," said Wastweet. "I'm looking forward to partnering with dairy farmers in the Midwest region to help grow the marketplace for dairy."

As part of Midwest Dairy's new leadership structure, longtime staff member Louise Gallagher will assume the role of chief administrative officer. Over her 23-year career with Midwest Dairy, Gallagher helped to build the infrastructure and expand the region and reach of the association. She began her career as the director of administration for Midwest Dairy's predecessor organization, the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council of the Upper Midwest, which included Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota.

In 2000, Gallagher was instrumental in helping with the merger of that organization with Midland Dairy Association, which included Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma, to form Midwest Dairy Association. Illinois joined the Midwest Dairy family in 2001, and Nebraska joined in 2011.

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