Kay Johnson Smith

Kay Johnson Smith

Chief Operating Officer


Kay Johnson Smith is chief operating officer at Dairy MAX, with more than 30 years of experience leading operations, being a public voice for the agricultural (ag) industry and providing strategic guidance for managing activist campaigns. Kay is frequently interviewed by ag media and national media including the Wall Street Journal, National Geographic and CNN.

Kay spent her childhood straddling two worlds: Living in the country with farming histories on both sides of the family but spending most of her time in town participating in sports and clubs. A self-professed political junky in college, she earned a Bachelor of Science degree from James Madison University, with a double major in political science and public administration and a minor in business. She began her career working for a member of the Virginia House of Delegates until a mentor led her to the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. It was there that Kay realized a passion for the agricultural community––and her unique ability to represent their value to consumers. Kay has been in ag ever since, going on to work for Ingleside Plantation Vineyards and then Animal Agriculture Alliance, where she led for 27 years, including as president and CEO for more than 10 years.

Kay has also served on the Virginia Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services, on the boards of the National Ag Day Coalition and of Project Food, Land & People; and on boards of both the National and Virginia Ag in the Classroom organizations. She joined the Dairy MAX team in May 2022.

Kay lives in Fort Worth, Texas, with her husband, Doug, and their black lab, Knight. She loves power walks, golf, travel, and shopping as well as skydiving with her daughter, Peyton.

Favorite healthy breakfast:

Yogurt with berries and granola, especially when traveling.

Favorite physical activity:

Golf. My husband and I love to make a whole day of it.

Weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten: