Tipton grew up on a Missouri dairy farm and earned a Bachelor of Science in agriculture and a Master of Science in economics from the University of Missouri. He started his dairy career early in the 1960s as an economist with the Eastern Milk Producers Cooperative, where he supported efforts to streamline regulated farm milk pricing. Not long after, he was recruited to join the staff of the Milk Industry Foundation and the International Ice Cream Association and began to build a foundation for bringing new cohesion and growth to the industry.
In October 1983, Tipton married Connie Eaton Broadstone who also worked for the industry associations, and together they made many contributions to the industry. That same year Tipton founded the Annual Capitol Hill Ice Cream Party, and in 1984 he and Connie led efforts to have then President Ronald Reagan proclaim July as National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July as National Ice Cream Day. The proclamation, approved by Congress and issued by Reagan in 1984, is still celebrated today.
Fresh from this success, Tipton founded the Dairy Forum in 1985 as an event for encouraging policy dialogue among processor and producer leaders. The annual forum is now recognized as one of the industry’s premier events, gaining record attendance and attention year after year.
In 1988, he created the International Dairy Show, an industry trade show that today features the newest innovations in technology, packaging, ingredients and services for the dairy foods industry.
Perhaps two of his greatest career accomplishments occurred in 1990. Tipton rallied the dairy food manufacturers to create the International Dairy Foods Association, which brought together the Milk Industry Foundation, the International Ice Cream Association and the National Cheese Institute in an effort to magnify the voice of the dairy processing industry in Washington, D.C.
At the same time, Tip and Connie advocated for an act of Congress to authorize a dairy industry commodity check-off program. Milk companies passed a funding referendum in 1993 that established the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) to speak directly to consumers to improve milk’s image and communicate milk’s nutritional benefits, while identifying ways to expand industry sales and spur product innovation.
Those who would like to honor the legacy of Tip Tipton may make a donation to the Dairy Recognition and Education Foundation, which provides financial assistance for graduate students in dairy science or a related field.
Source: International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA)