AUGUSTA — Theodore “Tade” Sullivan has joined the Maine Dairy Industry Association as its executive director. MDIA is the trade association that represents all dairy cattle farms in Maine transporting milk off the farm for processing and/or sale.

Sullivan most recently was director of development at Maine Maritime Academy and brings over 20 years of experience in fundraising, advocacy, and association management to the position, according to a press release Jan. 18.

Sullivan is a recognized expert on the U.S. Farm Bill, Renewable Energy, and Federal Crop Insurance, the press release said. He has over 20 years’ experience in lobbying and public affairs, specializing in advocating for our nation’s farm families in private practice, agricultural trade associations, and government.

He has been involved in the development of significant legislation on behalf our nation’s farmers, including portions of the U.S. Farm Bill, the Renewable Fuels Standard, and the Water Resources Development Act. He has developed innovative proposals for products for consideration by the Federal Crop Insurance Board.

Appointed by President Clinton to serve at the USDA as legislative and public affairs director for the Farm Service Agency, Sullivan was a recipient of the Vice President’s Award for Reinventing Government. He served as a legislative aide to the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and has served as a member of Secretary of Agriculture’s Task Force on Civil Rights.  He has previously served as chairman of the Iowa Rural Development Council, and as vice chairman of the Wallace Centers of Iowa.

MDIA began the search for a new executive director after Julie-Marie Bickford moved on to the Maine Milk Commission, where she now serves as executive director. “We are looking forward to working with Tade and are confident he will ensure balanced representation of all aspects of dairy farming in Maine. His formative years as part of a dairy farm as well as his professional experience will allow him to promote actions and policies to encourage sustainability, resiliency, and financial solvency to foster the continued production of quality Maine milk that can feed Maine people,” Dale Cole, MDIA board president, said in the press release.

Sullivan is a graduate of Bradford College in Massachusetts and Cornell University’s Empire State Agricultural Leadership Institute. He and his wife Sue are parents of four boys. He is a volunteer and member of many civic organizations, including the board of the Peninsula Ambulance Corps, Ira Berry Lodge 128, Friendship Lodge 509, and the Southern Jurisdiction of the Scottish Rite.

Sullivan will represent Maine’s dairy farmers as MDIA executive director and execute activities to sustain, improve and increase the overall viability of Maine’s agricultural sector.