North Dakota farmer wins dairy-board award


When you do a lot for your industry, you often get recognized. That’s why North Dakota’s Jerry Messer has earned one of the nation’s most prestigious dairy awards.

The National Dairy Promotion and Research Board honored Messer as the 2017 recipient of the Richard E. Lyng Award for his contributions and distinguished service to dairy promotion. Messer is a dairy farmer from Richardton, N.D.

“When you consider the qualities of leadership, including honesty, dedication, passion, foresight, strategic thinking and humility, Jerry demonstrates them all,” said Amber Horn-Leiterman, Wisconsin dairy farmer and chair of NDB.

Since 2012, Messer has been Chairman of the National Dairy Council. In this role, he’s served as a public face for youth wellness and the dairy checkoff’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program, an in-school initiative that promotes healthy eating and physical activity. Messer also serves as chair of Midwest Dairy Association’s North Dakota Division Board and the North Dakota Dairy Promotion Commission, roles he’s held for 25 years. Since the early 2000s, Messer also served on Midwest Dairy’s corporate board, holding the position of chairman from 2008-17. Nationally, he’s been a member of the United Dairy Industry Association and Dairy Management Inc. boards and held national leadership positions as DMI Treasurer and UDIA 2nd Vice Chairman.

The award is named for former USDA Secretary Richard E. Lyng, who played a critical role in implementing policies that led to the establishment of the NDB more than 30 years ago. The Lyng Award honors leaders who have made a significant contribution to dairy promotion that benefits the entire industry.

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