In 2010, the Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) Export Assistance program assisted member cooperatives in making export sales of Cheddar, Monterey Jack, and Gouda cheese totaling 77.6 million pounds. The sales were made to 27 countries on four continents. Asia and the Middle East accounted for 76% of the cheese sales. Two-thirds of the cheese was shipped in 2010, with one-third to be shipped in the first six months of 2011.
Assistance for butter and anhydrous milk fat totaled 33 million pounds, during the one month these products were eligible for export assistance. Assistance was halted when the butter price hit $2.10 a pound. These products went to nine countries on three continents, with half shipped in 2010, and the other half scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 2011.
The impact of this assistance was significant. Dr. Scott Brown of the University of Missouri and the Food & Agricultural Policy Research Institute (FAPRI) estimated that these sales actually shipped in 2010 added nearly $400 million of revenue, an average of 18¢ per hundredweight, to producers’ milk checks.
The world market is growing at the rate of eight times faster than the U.S. market. In 2011, dairy exports are on a pace to absorb 15% of producers’ milk solids. To insure that happens, and that U.S. dairy farmers continue to reap the financial rewards of the industry as being a consistent, reliable supplier of dairy products, the Export Assistance program will be the focus of CWT’s efforts in 2011 and 2012. To make that effort as effective as possible, CWT is asking producers, through their cooperatives or as individuals, to pledge to invest 2¢ per hundredweight in CWT for the next two years. Membership information is available atwww.cwt.coop/about/about_membership.html.