DAVIS, Calif. — The California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF) Board of Directors announces the appointment of Denise Mullinax as executive director of CDRF, an independent nonprofit foundation with a mission to lead and deliver the best research and science-based programs in support of the California dairy industry.

“Denise has a long history working for the benefit of California dairymen. She is very well respected and has built vital relationships within our industry. We are very pleased that she has accepted the position of executive director of CDRF,” said Richard Wagner, chairman of the board of directors. “We are confident that she will provide strong leadership for the foundation, furthering the goals of CDRF to more specifically serve our California dairy producers and stakeholders through timely science-based research, specialized programming, and direct education.”

Denise has served in the role of interim executive director since May 2018, undertaking the completion of CDRF’s next five-year strategic plan and working closely with the CDRF board, staff, and others to ensure business continuity in meeting the changing needs of California’s dairy producers during a time of transition in CDRF leadership.

The appointment coincides with CDRF’s implementation of this new five-year plan, which moves to increase the number and impact of projects in the environmental management and social responsibility program areas, as well as increasing CDRF’s participation in co-funded projects. These new areas of focus are designed to best support the California dairy sector, which strives for continuous improvement through its dedication to innovation, environmental sustainability, and economic contribution.

“My commitment at CDRF is to maintain the high standards set over the past 30 years and to guide the foundation’s programs in alignment with the industry’s priorities,” Denise said, “CDRF will use our new plan, and continued industry and expert input, to select and manage research that is relevant and beneficial to California’s family dairy farmers, food processors, and consumers.”

Denise has more than 20 years of experience working with the California dairy sector, holding key education, research, and sustainability management positions within UC Cooperative Extension and Hilmar Cheese Company. She has served as the assistant director of the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP) for the past 13 years, working to the direct benefit of California dairy producers.

A graduate of the University of California, Davis with an undergraduate degree in animal science and a Master’s in agriculture and management, Denise will continue her CDQAP duties in this new CDRF leadership role.

–California Dairy Research Foundation