National Dairy Shrine’s highest recognition, Guest of Honor, is being presented this year to Jay Mattison, CEO of National Dairy Herd Information Association (NDHIA) and a leader in the transformation and enhanced industry role of the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding. Presented annually by National Dairy Shrine, the Guest of Honor award recognizes a contemporary dairy leader for their outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the dairy industry.
Jay Mattison of Verona, Wisconsin, graduated from Iowa State University with a Bachelors’ degree in Dairy Science in 1981 and a Masters’ degree in Animal Production and Breeding, with a minor in Agricultural Economics, in 1983.
Mattison gained a broad perspective of the domestic and international dairy industry during his career path. This acquired knowledge enabled him to make extraordinary contributions to the organizations he later became involved in. He started his career at Iowa State University working in Dairy Science Extension and then from 1983-86, Mattison was Director of Genetic Programs for the National Association of Animal Breeders. He spent the next six years (1986-91) in the A.I. sector as Genetic Program Manager for Federated Genetics/Eastern A.I. Cooperative. He followed that with a position as a Senior Research Associate for Cornell University’s Program on Dairy Markets and Policy from 1991-95. Jay and his wife Mary founded and have operated their own management consulting company, ReQuest Ltd., for the last 25 years.
Mattison became CEO of National DHIA and its two subsidiaries, Quality Certification Services Inc. and DHIA Services Inc., in 2003, where his goal has always been to enhance the profitability and competitiveness of U.S. dairy herds.
As an influential dairy industry leader at the North American and international level for more than three decades, Mattison has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of the need for dairy farmer-owned industry organizations to work closer together for the good of dairy farmers.
Mattison’s strong, steady leadership was instrumental during the intense period when the Council on Dairy Cattle Breeding (CDCB) transitioned in 2012 from an industry cooperating body into a non-profit corporation responsible for the world’s largest dairy database and calculation of genetic evaluations for the United States dairy industry. A member of CDCB’s Board of Directors for the past 16 years, Mattison served two different terms as the CDCB Vice-Chair and Chair between 2004-10. From 2010-17 during the reforming and transition years of the CDCB, Mattison was the Council’s Vice-Chair (2010-15) and Chair (2015-17).
Mattison took a lead role in rewriting CDCB’s by-laws, setting up the non-profit business, and moving U.S. dairy cattle genetic and genomic evaluation services from the U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) to CDCB. He was one of CDCB’s principals in negotiating the Non-Funded Cooperative Agreement between USDA-ARS and CDCB related to computer software and data use and access. In addition, he served as the liaison between the federal government’s dairy genetics and management labs, administration and CDCB Board. While there were many hurdles and challenges along the way, the ultimate transition was so successful that many users were not even aware it had occurred. As João Dürr, CEO, and H. Duane Norman, Technical Advisor / Industry Liaison of CDCB, state, “Relying heavily upon his leadership, Jay was the leading driver of this transition that ran so smoothly and he saw it through to completion.”
Mattison has served on the Board of Directors of the International Committee on Animal Recording (ICAR) since 2006, the international standards and certification organization for animal identification, recording, and genetic evaluations. President of ICAR since 2017, Mattison has contributed to numerous international collaborations that have resulted in further operational and infrastructure efficiencies among member organizations as a result of pooled efforts and resources.
“Jay is able to bring people together with a common vision that is always focused on making the dairy industry better tomorrow than it is today,” says Neil Petreny, CEO of Lactanet in Canada.
Mattison has been very involved in animal traceability efforts in Wisconsin. He served as a lead in writing the bylaws for the Wisconsin Livestock Identification Consortium (WLIC), a non-profit organization that works to protect animal health through livestock and premises identification and traceability. A WLIC Board member from 2002-10, serving six years as the treasurer, he helped develop the business plan for premise assignment in Wisconsin. In connecting different sectors of the dairy industry, he has been serving as the administrator of the U.S. National Committee of the International Dairy Federation since 1998. Mattison has also been on the Board of the U.S. Animal Health Association since 2007.
Jay Mattison’s portrait will be displayed at the National Dairy Hall of Fame and National Dairy Shrine Museum in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin. Mr. Mattison will be presented with the Guest of Honor Award at National Dairy Shrine’s 2021 Awards Banquet on Thursday, September 30th in Madison, Wisconsin.
For more information about National Dairy Shrine, the banquet, or the students and dairy industry leaders being recognized this year, contact National Dairy Shrine’s office at [email protected] or visit their website.