National Dairy Board Honors Dairy Leader with Richard E. Lyng Award

October 28, 2010 01:10 PM

Tom Camerlo recognized for historic contributions to dairy promotion

The National Dairy Promotion and Research Board (NDB) honored the late James P. “Tom” Camerlo as the 2010 recipient of the Richard E. Lyng Award for his dedication and service to dairy promotion.
Camerlo, a dairy producer from Florence, Colo., was recognized at the Joint NDB/National Milk Producers Federation/United Dairy Industry Association (UDIA) Annual Meeting in Reno, Nev.
The award is named after former U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Richard E. Lyng, who played a key role in implementing policies that led to NDB’s establishment 25 years ago. The Lyng Award honors dairy industry leaders who have made a significant contribution to dairy promotion that benefits the entire dairy industry.
“Tom Camerlo leaves an unprecedented legacy and commitment to America’s dairy producers,” said Paula Meabon, Pennsylvania dairy producer and NDB chair. “He was a champion of (helping) dairy producers control their own destiny, and was a true leader within the dairy promotion and policy arena, both domestically and internationally.”
Camerlo was a leader in dairy promotion for more than four decades. He first became involved in 1965, when he was elected to the board of the Western Dairy Association and, subsequently, to the National Dairy Council®. He played a key role in the formation of UDIA in 1970 and held a seat on the UDIA board through last winter.
In 1983, Camerlo and other producer leaders worked to arrange for a referendum that led to the formation of the national dairy checkoff program and NDB. In 1995, he worked to further unify dairy promotion with the creation of Dairy Management Inc.™, which united NDB and UDIA.
“He knew the best way for dairy producers to promote their products for their own betterment and the betterment of the industry was through a unified checkoff program,” Meabon said.
Camerlo also played a critical role in the formation of the U.S. Dairy Export Council® (USDEC), where he became one of the early board directors of USDEC and the first chairman of its Trade Policy Committee.
In 2004, Camerlo was elected chairman of USDEC. In the five years that he served as chair, he led policy and promotion programs that supported his long-standing belief that expanded export trade would benefit America’s dairy producers and the industry.
In addition to his role on the DMI board, Camerlo also served as a founding board member of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and was a strong ambassador of the Innovation Center’s mission to grow sales by working with and through the dairy industry.
As part of the Richard E. Lyng award, the NDB also will make a $2,500 contribution to the Colorado State University on behalf of Camerlo and his family.
For more information about the national dairy checkoff program, visit

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