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Mike Fordyce honored by Michigan Dairy Memorial

EAST LANSING, MI -- Mike Fordyce, sales manager for Purina Animal Nutrition, has been honored by the Michigan Dairy Memorial and Scholarship Foundation (MDMSF) at Michigan State University (MSU) for his years of leadership partnering closely with dairy producers and positively impacting their business profitability and quality of life, and the sustainability of Michigan's dairy industry.

Fordyce grew up in Bismarck, North Dakota, the son of Gordon and Arlys Fordyce. He earned a degree in education from Minnesota (Mankato) State University. Fordyce played hockey for one year and baseball for four years, where he competed in the Division II College World Series.

In 1980, Fordyce started his career in the dairy industry by working for the Ralston Purina Co. He and his wife Sandy transitioned into sales management with the company in 1989. They relocated to Michigan as leaders of the sales team in 1990, where they applied a value-added approach for growing and supporting the dairy business and successfully navigated their team through rapidly changing dairy markets during several challenging years faced by the dairy industry. Fordyce led the Purina Dairy Team in Michigan for 24 years before transitioning to a national position with the company.

Fordyce's passion for people and the dairy industry led him to engage with the MSU dairy program. He was invited as a guest lecturer for MSU dairy classes and interviewed and mentored students to help prepare them for career paths in the industry. Fordyce further exemplified his commitment to young people and the state's dairy industry by developing dairy internships for students in Michigan and supporting MSU Dairy Club activities and programs.

He and his team provided key support in growing the MSU Dairy Challenge program and initiated Purina's support of the program both regionally and nationally. Fordyce played an integral role in creating a unique collaboration with the MSU College of Veterinary Medicine in establishing the Training Center for Dairy Professionals at Green Meadows Farms, Inc., in Elsie, MI.

Always asking, 'What next?', Fordyce found another avenue for making a difference by serving on the MDMSF board of directors beginning in 2000. He contributed actively to the Board in various roles, including serving on the Scholarship Selection Committee for several three-year terms, the 50th Anniversary Planning Committee, the Promotions Committee and, from 2003 through 2006, as Vice-President and President of the Board.

The dairy industry of Michigan has held national prominence as Michigan's dairy producers continue to serve in key leadership roles. Fordyce's vision and drive has meshed well with the Michigan dairy industry's history of generating and leading positive impact on profitability, sustainability and progress.

Recognizing a dairy industry leader for their service and contributions through the MDMSF requires a gift of $1,000 or more to the MDMSF and an 8 X 10 photo of and one-page biography about the honoree. Honorees (or family members when an award is presented posthumously) are personally recognized by the Foundation at an industry or MDMSF event. The names of MDMSF honorees are inscribed on a plaque on display in Anthony Hall at MSU, their biography and photograph are kept in permanent records in the MSU Department of Animal Science, and photographs of honorees are displayed at the MSU Pavilion.

Honoring individuals through the MDMSF recognizes individuals for their accomplishments in the dairy industry and invests in and provides support to future dairy industry leaders. As the MDMSF endowment grows, additional scholarships can be awarded to students to help offset the increasing cost of higher education, enabling them to achieve their dreams for the future. More than 180 individuals have been named MDMSF Honorees since the foundation's establishment over 50 years ago.

To learn more about recognizing a dairy industry leader through the MDMSF, contact any MDMSF board member or Dr. Miriam Weber Nielsen at 517-432-5443 or For information on supporting student scholarships, please contact the MSU College of Agriculture and Natural Resources External Relations at 517-355-0284.