Spotlight Rich Erdman

Name: Rich Erdman
Institution: University of Maryland
Current role with ADSA: Past president
LinkedIn: Richard Erdman

  1. How long have you been involved with ADSA, and what compelled you to join the association?
    I joined ADSA in 1976 when I was a graduate student at the University of Kentucky. Initially, this came after my graduate advisor, Roger Hemken, encouraged me to join. After graduating and joining the Dairy Science Department at the University of Maryland, I quickly realized that if I was going to be successful, I needed to be active in ADSA. It would become my professional home.
  2. What do you enjoy most about being a board member?
    This is my second stint on the board, the first being as a director representing the Production division from 2010 to 2013, and I rejoined the board as vice president 2 years ago. During my first term, I was able to gain a much deeper understanding of how scientific societies actually operate. During my entire time on the board, I have gained a deep appreciation for the magnitude of the staff and volunteer efforts required to publish the Journal of Dairy Science and to host a successful annual meeting. Through it all, I have had the privilege of having a first-hand look at how ADSA has grown and prospered.
  3. Why is it important for the dairy science community to participate in the association?
    ADSA has become the world’s premier scientific society associated with both the production and use of dairy products. I can think of very few discoveries being applied in the dairy industry today that did not involve ADSA members.
  4. What do you think is the most important resource that ADSA provides the scientific community?
    Our journals, annual meetings, and Discover conferences are the focal point of the dairy science community and, collectively, our membership has vast knowledge of the dairy industry. Over the years, I have found that if there is a question or problem related an area or field related to dairy, more than likely, you will find an ADSA member who is an expert in that field.
  5. What strategic initiative of ADSA are you most passionate about and why?
    Initiative 4: Connect the Global Dairy Science Community
    Having been a member for so long, I have witnessed a remarkable transformation in our Journal of Dairy Science (JDS) authorship and annual meeting attendees. We have reached the point where overseas authors make up more than half the authors in JDS and have an increasing presence at our annual meeting and Discover conferences. We propose to increase support for our overseas members and connections with the global dairy science community.
  6. What is one pressing challenge for the future of the dairy industry and how is ADSA addressing that through its new strategic plan?
    Two current challenges are the growing presence of dairy substitutes in the food chain and a general lack of consumer knowledge of the value of dairy products in a healthy diet. Dairy products are some of most highly concentrated and available sources of protein, amino acids, and several minerals in the diet, yet that message is seldom heard by consumers. Our strategic plan addresses that issue through improved visibility of our organization to the general public, as well as partnerships with food and nutrition organizations.