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NMPF Staff Fights for Farmers as Part of International Dairy Delegation

November 13, 2018

NMPF and U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) staff members advocated for fair international standards for U.S. producers and addressed the global effort to combat dairy imitators at the annual International Dairy Federation (IDF) Summit in South Korea last month. The IDF is an association of dairy industries in 50 countries, formed in 1903 to promote sound science and represent dairy businesses before intergovernmental bodies.

During the event, U.S. representatives used committee discussions to push for priorities designed to help dairy producers cope with global challenges, including low prices, trade barriers and unscientific policies related to dairy consumption.

Export markets are an increasingly important destination for U.S. dairy, NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern said. But significant tariff and non-tariff barriers persist that prohibit U.S. farmers from serving global markets to the fullest benefit of the world’s consumers, he said, ranging from retaliatory tariffs against U.S. dairy goods to misuse of geographical indications as a vehicle for unfair trade.

Speaking on a trade-focused panel discussion alongside counterparts from the EU and New Zealand, Mulhern discussed changes in U.S. agricultural trade policy and told the international audience to expect the U.S. to push harder to knock down protectionist trade barriers. “The world’s consumers will benefit from freer and fairer trade in dairy and other agricultural products, and this increased consumer demand will benefit the world’s dairy producers,” he said.

Specific U.S. priorities advocated by NMPF and USDEC included:

  • A more robust approach by IDF to fight unwarranted international policies that seek to limit dairy consumption and affect sales.
  • Ensuring that IDF’s approach to topics in Codex and the World Health Organization (WHO) protects the ability of U.S. dairy farmers and processors to operate safely and sustainably without unneeded and cumbersome regulations.
  • Establishing international standards, including the development of a metric system by IDF for reporting sustainability, to ensure such standards are not written in a way that disadvantages U.S. producers.
  • Working with our international partners to jointly combat the challenge of dairy imitators.

NMPF staff played important roles in making the world’s leading global dairy-sector gathering a success. Shawna Morris, who serves as chair of the U.S. delegation to IDF, was the U.S. delegate at the U.S. IDF’s General Assembly meeting, which included discussions of topics of high priority to the dairy industry. She also represented the United States at the IDF meeting on Dairy Policies and Economics, and secured advancement of two USIDF proposals on certain areas of trade impacts.

Jamie Jonker, who serves on the IDF’s Science and Program Coordination Committee, which oversees and guides the organization’s work areas, presented information highlighting the U.S. dairy’s industry’s strong animal care and sustainability story.