U.S. Dairy Earns Investment from New Market Development Program

USDEC received a $10 million award from USDA for its work on international dairy market development under its first allocation of funding under the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP) announced May 20 following a strong push from NMPF and USDEC for increased investment in market promotion. USDA established RAPP last October to expand U.S. agriculture exports to new markets where demand for high-quality agricultural products is growing, including Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Africa.

RAPP’s launch was prompted by requests from Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow, D-MI, and Ranking Member John Boozman, R-AR to USDA regarding the need for greater international market expansion program funding.

In advance of that request, NMPF and USDEC advocated extensively with Congress regarding the importance of that additional investment, particularly at a time of dormant administrative trade policy initiatives.

CWT Renewal Effort Establishes Three Expert Working Groups

The task force of farmers and cooperative leaders working on a new vision for Cooperatives Working Together established three working groups in May to develop specific recommendations on revamping the self-help program.

The three groups, composed of cooperative staff experts, include Product Mix; Bid Process Adjustments; and Market Development. The first two groups are examining the types of products CWT allows members to submit bids for, as well as how the bidding process is conducted between member coops and CWT staff. The third is engaging in a bigger-picture assessment of business opportunities that CWT may wish to pursue that will achieve the program’s overall goals. Each team will assess ways to make the overall program more effective in 2025 and beyond.

The CWT Task Force also agreed to be guided by three tenets that reflect its overall mission to:

  • Promote exports of critical dairy products to support domestic market balance and producer prices;
  • Promote U.S. dairy’s reliability in international markets by helping mitigate price gaps between the U.S. and alternative suppliers for critical dairy products; and
  • Promote long-term U.S. export success through building international demand for U.S. dairy.

The task force was formed earlier this year to consider how the CWT program should evolve in the future to better meet the needs of its members. It’s generating ideas to present a series of potential extensions of CWT’s current operations to the NMPF Board of Directors for approval.


May CWT-Assisted Export Sales Nearly 13.5 Million Pounds

CWT member cooperatives secured over 41 contracts in May, adding 13.5 million pounds of product to CWT-assisted sales in 2024. In milk equivalent, this is equal to 105.8 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. These products will go to customers in Asia, Central America, the Caribbean, Middle East-North Africa, Oceania and South America and will be shipped from May through December 2024.

Exporting dairy products is critical to the viability of dairy farmers and their cooperatives across the country. Whether or not a cooperative is actively engaged in exporting cheese, butter, anhydrous milkfat, cream cheese, or whole milk powder, moving products into world markets is essential. CWT provides a means to move domestic dairy products to overseas markets by helping to overcome U.S. dairy’s trade disadvantages.

The amounts of dairy products and related milk volumes reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT will pay export assistance to the bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.

CWT Assists with Six Million Pounds of Dairy Product Export Sales

ARLINGTON, VA – Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted 16 offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture sales contracts for 2.9 million pounds (1,300 MT) of American-type cheese and 3.1 million pounds (1,410 MT) of whole milk powder. The product is going to customers in Asia, Central America, the Caribbean, Middle East-North Africa and South America, and will be delivered from May through September 2024.

CWT-assisted member cooperative year-to-date export sales total 41.2 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 309,000 pounds of butter (82% milkfat), 769,000 pounds of anhydrous milkfat, 11.7 million pounds of whole milk powder and 3.9 million pounds of cream cheese. The products are going to 26 countries in five regions. These sales are the equivalent of 523.1 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers and cooperatives by fostering the competitiveness of U.S. dairy products in the global marketplace and helping member cooperatives gain and maintain world market share for U.S. dairy products. As a result, the program has helped significantly expand the total demand for U.S. dairy products and the demand for U.S. farm milk that produces those products.

The amounts of dairy products and related milk volumes reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT pays export assistance to the bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by required documentation.

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The Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) Export Assistance program is funded by voluntary contributions from dairy cooperatives and individual dairy farmers. The money raised by their investment is being used to strengthen and stabilize the dairy farmers’ milk prices and margins.

U.S. and Mexico Dairy Industries Renew Commitment to Cross-Border Cooperation

Leading dairy representatives from the United States and Mexico met this week in Chihuahua, Mexico to renew their commitment to collaborate and advocate on mutually beneficial dairy policies. This was the sixth meeting between leading U.S. and Mexico dairy organizations since 2016.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) steered the U.S. delegation, which consisted of more than 14 member companies, U.S. farmer representatives, and USDEC and NMPF staff. Delegates from Mexico’s milk producers and dairy processors included:

  • Confederación Nacional de Organizaciones Ganaderas (National Organization of Livestock Organizations)
  • Asociación Mexicana de Productores de Leche (Mexican Association of Milk Producers)
  • Gremio de Productores Lecheros de Mexico (Mexican Dairy Producers Guild)
  • Cámara Nacional de Industriales de la Leche (National Chamber of Milk Industries)
  • Consejo Nacional Agropecuario (National Agricultural Council).

Throughout the week, attendees discussed the most pressing issues affecting both industries, in their local respective markets and across the globe.

“Our two industries share so many similar challenges that call for us to work together,” said Krysta Harden, president and CEO of USDEC. “Mexico is and will continue to be a valuable partner for U.S. dairy. These meetings help strengthen those ties and set the dairy sectors in both countries up for continued success.”

“The U.S. and Mexico dairy industries are key partners in their shared mission to grow demand and protect dairy’s public image,” said Gregg Doud, president and CEO of NMPF. “The renewed commitment signed today further strengthens our important relationship.”

As part of the meeting, attendees toured the Reny Picot Mexico plant in Chihuahua. The only demineralized whey powder producer in Mexico, Reny Picot is the largest nonfat dry milk powder importer in Mexico, importing an average of 5,000 metric tons per month.


Joint Statement:

On their Sixth annual meeting within the framework of the partnership to strengthen the milk production sector in North America, held in the city of Chihuahua, Mexico, hereby agree to:

  1. Preserve, facilitate, and improve trade between the two
  2. Preserve this forum for discussion and analysis of relevant topics and issues of the milk and dairy producing sectors of Mexico and the United States.
  3. Have as a key objective the growth of dairy consumption in both countries for the benefit of producers, manufacturers and consumers in the United States and Mexico.
  4. Promote joint activities seeking to increase the consumption of dairy products within our
  5. Identify and promote actions that improve the productivity of dairy farms in Mexico and the United States.
  6. Strengthen the image of milk and dairy products in both countries to defend against the misuse of milk and dairy product names by other products of non-dairy origin.
  7. Maintain an open communication channel between the milk and dairy producer organizations of both countries, with the aim of reaching consensus for the benefit of our Likewise, exchange information and successful experiences through the participation of members of both countries in forums and congresses organized by our associations.
  8. Work on strengthening cooperation in technological exchange and training, both in terms of on-farm milk production and in improving the quality and safety of milk and dairy products from a nutritional and health standpoint.
  9. Work to share information on key new areas such as sustainability, animal welfare, farm labor, and other issues as they arise and are mutually agreed upon for the benefit of our producers and industry to ensure that we coordinate dairy advocacy efforts in international forums and among consumers.
  10. Exchange information about the performance of the milk and dairy products market in the North America region.
  11. Continue with activities to defend common food names, particularly cheese names, thus allowing their free use in our North American market.
  12. Develop a work plan on the issues of the common agenda, with indicators and a follow-up program with scheduled meetings.

CWT Assists with 661,000 Pounds of Dairy Product Export Sales

ARLINGTON, VA – Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) member cooperatives accepted seven offers of export assistance from CWT that helped them capture sales contracts for 569,000 pounds (260 MT) of American-type cheese, 2,000 pounds (1 MT) of anhydrous milkfat and 90,000 pounds (40 MT) of whole milk powder. The product is going to customers in Asia, Central America, the Caribbean, Oceania and South America, and will be delivered from April through September 2024.

CWT-assisted member cooperative year-to-date export sales total 38.2 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 309,000 pounds of butter (82% milkfat), 769,000 pounds of anhydrous milkfat, 8.6 million pounds of whole milk powder and 3.9 million pounds of cream cheese. The products are going to 26 countries in five regions. These sales are the equivalent of 474 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers and cooperatives by fostering the competitiveness of U.S. dairy products in the global marketplace and helping member cooperatives gain and maintain world market share for U.S. dairy products. As a result, the program has helped significantly expand the total demand for U.S. dairy products and the demand for U.S. farm milk that produces those products.

The amounts of dairy products and related milk volumes reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT pays export assistance to the bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by required documentation.

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The Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) Export Assistance program is funded by voluntary contributions from dairy cooperatives and individual dairy farmers. The money raised by their investment is being used to strengthen and stabilize the dairy farmers’ milk prices and margins

NMPF Talks Trade and Collaboration with EU

NMPF staff met with European Union government officials and agriculture groups on April 8 as part of the U.S.-EU Collaboration Platform on Agriculture. The forum was launched by Secretary Tom Vilsack and EU Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski in 2021 to strengthen the relationship between the two industries and discussing best practices to collaboratively address shared challenges.

The meeting kicked off with a series of panel discussions. NMPF executive vice president for trade policy and global affairs Shawna Morris spoke on a panel entitled “The Future of the Livestock Sector: Pressures and Opportunities.” Morris underscored the U.S. dairy sector’s long-standing leadership on animal care through NMPF’s FARM program and ongoing work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, led by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

Given the European Union’s tendency to impose burdensome regulations on its trading partners, Morris emphasized the importance of incentive-based policies, as opposed to counter-productive, prescriptive rules, particularly around climate and consumer preferences.

Following the conference, Morris participated in a subsequent discussion with EU Agriculture Ministry officials at an event organized by the U.S. Food and Agriculture Dialogue for Trade at the European Union’s embassy.

NMPF Secures Dairy Market Access Priorities in House Trade Program Renewal Bill

The House of Representatives introduced a bill on April 15 that would renew the Generalized Systems of Preferences (GSP) trade program with new agriculture-specific eligibility criteria. NMPF worked with Congressional offices to secure language giving U.S. dairy producers a fairer opportunity to sell their products in key markets.

Inactive since its expiration at the end of 2020, the GSP trade program eliminates U.S. duties for thousands of products imported to the U.S. from developing countries. U.S. dairy tariff rate quotas are not affected by the GSP program. To be GSP-eligible, countries must adhere to certain human rights and economic conditions. The House’s bill introduces new provisions that would provide a much-needed boost for the U.S. dairy industry, including requirements that beneficiary countries:

  • Provide open and equitable market access to U.S. agriculture exports and
  • Protect the generic use of common food and beverage terms.

Paired with the introduced Safeguarding American Value-Added Exports Act, this bill is positioned to strengthen the United States’ hand in combatting nontariff trade barriers in various export markets, including countering the European Union’s campaign to monopolize common name foods.

NMPF Advocates for Proactive Trade Agenda at USTR Hearing

NMPF’s Tony Rice testified at a May 3 Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) hearing on promoting U.S. supply chain resiliency to outline the steps the department should take to support American dairy exporters.

In his remarks, Rice laid out the importance of a proactive trade agenda in fostering resilient supply chains for the U.S. dairy industry:

“Comprehensive trade agreements play a crucial role in ensuring supply chain resiliency, providing a framework for reducing trade barriers and enhancing market access to key partners. These agreements ensure that U.S. dairy products can compete on a level playing field in highly competitive international markets.”

Complementing comments submitted to USTR on April 19, Rice emphasized the need for new trade agreements, which encourage investments in domestic manufacturers rather than in offshore facilities, and drive economic growth that supports dairy farmers, rural workers, and millions of workers along the dairy supply chain.

Rice’s testimony also highlighted specific nontariff barriers that USTR should prioritize addressing to improve supply chain reliability – such as unscientific sanitary and phytosanitary measures and burdensome facility listing requirements – and detailed how a more diversified set of export markets would support the development of more resilient dairy supply chains.

CWT Renewal Effort Focusing on Future Needs

Efforts to rethink and renew the Cooperatives Working Together program in the past month have focused on obtaining information about the breadth of products that are currently manufactured by CWT’s members. More than a dozen organizations provided information about their product mix, data that will be kept private but will help guide future decisions made on CWT’s product mix.

The task force of farmers and cooperative leaders guiding the program’s renewal will examine CWT’s key strategic pillars, including encouraging higher market prices and enhancing U.S. dairy export long-term growth.

The task force, formed earlier this year to consider how the CWT program should evolve in the future, will also assess specific adjustments to the program in the areas of product mix modification, bid process adjustments, and market development support. The task force will continue to meet virtually to refine these concepts and propose detailed proposals to the NMPF Board.


CWT April Committed Product Volume

CWT member cooperatives secured over 60 contracts in April, adding 9.6 million pounds of product to CWT-assisted sales in 2024. In milk equivalent, this is equal to 88.6 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. These products will go to customers in Asia, Central America, the Caribbean, Middle East-North Africa, Oceania and South America and will be shipped from April through September 2024.

NMPF and USDEC Advocate for Enhanced Dairy Trade Opportunities at USTR Hearing

Tony Rice, Trade Policy Director for the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), will testify this afternoon before the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on how U.S. trade policy can strengthen supply chain resiliency and ensure that U.S. dairy continues to grow as a global leader.

The U.S. dairy industry exported more than $8 billion worth of products in 2023, supporting thousands of jobs and contributing significantly to the national economy. Rice in his testimony will highlight the need for a more proactive U.S. trade policy agenda that aggressively tackles global trade barriers and enhances market access to key partners.

“An inclusive, worker-centered trade policy should reflect the central role that comprehensive trade agreements and American exports play for the agricultural economy and the many farmers and workers throughout the supply chain who rely on it,” Rice says in his prepared statement. “Expanding export sales does not only support America’s farms, but also traditionally underserved workers in rural communities and in companies supplying inputs and services, in downstream food manufacturing plant jobs, and in cities with large port facilities heavily dependent on trade.”

Rice also recommends that USTR incorporate dairy-specific elements in trade negotiations, drawing on the precedent set by annexes for wine in various agreements, or the broad recognition of the U.S. regulatory system for processed foods including dairy in the U.S.-Panama Trade Promotion Agreement.

“Such steps would facilitate smooth, more reliable and robust dairy supply chains with our trading partners,” Rice says in his statement.

Find NMPF and USDEC’s full testimony here.

NMPF’s Doud Discusses HPAI, FMMO Modernization

NMPF President & CEO Gregg Doud discusses dairy’s response to Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), the path forward for Federal Milk Marketing Order Modernization through an approach that puts farmers first, and opportunities for dairy in global markets. Doud spoke in an interview with the Agriculture of America podcast.