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ADSA® Presidential Report

      As the past president of ADSA, I can think of no better adjective to describe the past year than “momentous,” a year of great consequence. I vividly recall the deep contentment that I felt at the 2022 Annual Meeting when I officially handed over the baton of the ADSA presidency to the incoming president; so much had been accomplished, and the association is positioned to accomplish so much more. Today, there is no question in my mind that the current ADSA leadership team, headed by President Normand St. Pierre and Vice President Federico Harte, will guide the association to the next level in the year to come and beyond. The advancement of sound dairy science will continue to be central to solving many pressing problems that confront humanity, and ADSA is poised to rise to the challenge despite a fragmented public landscape that does not always understand and appreciate the importance of the global dairy sector. That is where, in my view, the science that ADSA supports can make a monumental difference for the good moving forward, if we have the courage and humility to wield it wisely.
      As I think back over the past year, a jumble of positive developments and outcomes for the good come to mind. At the top of the list is the recruitment and hiring of Jerry Bowman, our current ADSA executive director. When Bowman came on board in September of 2021, he inherited a portfolio of “deferred maintenance” issues that had accrued during a period when ADSA was without an executive director, followed by a brief season with a talented executive director who then moved on, followed by another period without an executive director, even as the brave new world of COVID-19 burst onto the scene. This was a difficult history for a newcomer to navigate, but Bowman immediately stepped forward with skill and grace to help me and the ADSA Board focus on the immediate future direction, and broader vision, of the association. With unanimous support from the ADSA Board, we were able to complete and approve a new strategic plan by the mid-year board meeting in February, which I believe will come to be viewed as a watershed step forward for ADSA.
      As Bowman settled in, I also marveled as a unified ADSA Board pressed on to deal with complex, and even potentially divisive, issues that needed immediate attention, especially the renegotiation of the Journal of Dairy Science (JDS) contract with Elsevier. As negotiations unfolded under the leadership of the JDS team and JDS Editor-in-Chief Paul Kononoff, it became increasingly clear that an open-access platform would best serve the long-term needs of JDS, ADSA, and our global stakeholders. The final contract, unanimously approved by the board, places JDS and ADSA on a sound financial footing. This was not an easy decision, however, because it meant that many ADSA members would see an increase in the cost of publishing their papers in the new open-access JDS. To lessen the financial impact on our members, the board increased withdrawals from the ADSA growth fund (or Super Fund, as it had been known) to provide additional relief for JDS authors who are members. Despite the costs involved, I am proud that the journal leadership team and the ADSA Board made the decision to move to open access when they did, especially in view of the recent announcement by the US federal government that it will mandate open-access publishing for all federally funded research by 2026. JDS and JDS Communications (JDSC) are now securely positioned for that transition, and ADSA now enjoys the benefit of a financially sound contract with Elsevier. But equally important from my perspective is the good that will accrue because the cutting-edge dairy science in both JDS and JDSC is now freely accessible worldwide.
      There were other new initiatives this past year, approved unanimously by the board, that will add to the good that has already been accomplished. First, a task force was formed to hire and work with an outside expert consultant to address diversity, equity, and inclusion within the association. Another task force is working with our partners at the European Federation of Animal Science (EAAP) to deliver a series of educational dairy science webinars to our colleagues in Ukraine, even as they endeavor to restore some semblance of normalcy to their lives and move forward professionally amid the destruction and sadness of the current war. A task force to look at ADSA investments, and another task force that is focused on governance, are working toward making ADSA more transparent and disciplined, and at the same time nimbler and better equipped to respond to the rapidly changing landscape of the 21st century. Finally, the 44th ADSA Discover Conference, Why Cheese From Milk?, is the result of a new partnership between ADSA, the ADSA Foundation, and the American Cheese Society (ACS). The 44th Discover Conference will inform some of the latest research on the nutritional and health-promoting aspects of milk and cheese, and I am very excited to see ADSA targeting this group of stakeholders. Special thanks go to the ADSA Foundation Board of Trustees and its past and current chairs, Phil Tong and Maurice Eastridge, respectively.
      Much to everyone's relief, the 2022 Annual Meeting in Kansas City was held in person for the first time since 2019. The meeting featured a hybrid option for those who weren't able to join us in person, which not only provided attendees with access to this year's fantastic scientific content, but also provided invaluable experience for the board and staff as the association continues to explore the best ways to incorporate the new world of virtual communication into our Annual Meeting. We had a total of 1,673 registrants from 45 countries, once again demonstrating the global reach of ADSA. There were 535 oral presentations and 535 poster presentations, a fabulous array of symposia, and a sprinkling of new events and offerings aimed at providing more opportunity for networking and dairy science community building. A big shout out is gratefully directed to the Overall Programming Committee and its chair, Trevor DeVries, along with Cara Tharp and the FASS team, and all the meeting sponsors, for orchestrating the reconvening of a terrific in-person meeting in 2022.
      Finally, as I gradually but inexorably disengage from ADSA leadership, I want the membership to know how blessed I have been to work with multiple ADSA Boards over the years, serving as a board member myself, as ADSA Foundation Board of Trustees chair, as ADSA vice president, as president, and now as past president. Ever since the 2022 Annual Meeting, the deep feeling of contentment that I referred to at the start of my report has settled in permanently because I know that the association is strong, well led, and that the next generation of dairy science students and professionals is in good hands. And ADSA will surely continue to wield the power of dairy science to change the world for the better. What a privilege it has been to part of this ongoing story.