Bob Yonkers


Robert Dean Yonkers, PhD

Bob Yonkers is the Vice President & Chief Economist at the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), a Washington, DC-based trade association that represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of more than 500 companies representing a $125-billion a year industry.

As Chief Economist, Bob is responsible for overseeing the research and analysis of the economic impact of changing marketing conditions and technology, government regulations, and alternative policies on the U.S. and international dairy industries.

Bob serves on the Advisory Committee on Agricultural Statistics to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (since 2010), and is an active member of the International Dairy Federation’s Standing Committee on Dairy Policies and Economics, serving as Deputy Chair (2006-7) and Chair (2008-11), and was elected to serve on IDF’s Science and Program Coordinating Committee (2011-15).

From 2001-2011 Bob served on the Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Animals and Animal Products, an advisory body that provides information and advice relating to U.S. agricultural trade policy to USTR and USDA. Bob also served on the Agricultural Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission from 2006 to 2014, the Board of Directors for the Council on Food, Agricultural and Resource Economics from 2004 to 2013 (Vice Chair 2007-11), and the Board of Directors of the Northeastern Agricultural and Resource Economics Association from 2005 to 2008.

Bob came to IDFA in 1998 from The Pennsylvania State University, where he was a tenured faculty member in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. At Penn State for 9 years, he conducted research and developed educational programs focused on the profitability and economic sustainability of Pennsylvania’s milk producing, marketing, and processing sectors, and related consumer issues.

Bob earned a Ph.D. in Agricultural Economics from Texas A&M University while working as a Research Associate in the Agricultural and Food Policy Research Center there, a Master of Agriculture degree in Dairy Science from Texas A&M, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Dairy Production from Kansas State University.

Bob resides in Springfield, Virginia with his wife Nancy and their two sons.

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), Washington, DC, represents the nation’s dairy manufacturing and marketing industries and their suppliers, with a membership of over 500 companies representing a $125-billion a year industry. IDFA is composed of three constituent organizations: the Milk Industry Foundation (MIF), the National Cheese Institute (NCI) and the International Ice Cream Association (IICA). IDFA’s 220 dairy processing members run more than 600 plant operations, and range from large multi-national organizations to single-plant companies. Together they represent more than 85% of the milk, cultured products, cheese and frozen desserts produced and marketed in the United States. IDFA can be found online at

Related Sessions