U.S. Dairy Sustainability Efforts Recognized at UN Food Systems Summit

Dairy efforts led by NMPF and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) capped off months of work Sept. 23-24 by making great strides in positioning dairy as a core part of a sustainable food system in a well-balanced UN Food Systems Summit.

NMPF and other farm organizations have spent much of the year conducting extensive outreach with U.S. officials to help ensure that the U.S. government maximized its ability to shape the summit and the additional efforts it has been spurring to move in a trade-friendly, science-based direction.

NMPF seized multiple opportunities in September to emphasize key dairy priorities to the U.S. interagency team working on finalizing U.S. stances and messages for the summit.

  • NMPF delivered remarks at a Sept. 3 State Department summit preparation listening session calling on U.S. government leadership to ensure that future food systems work supports the role of trade, agricultural innovation, and livestock products.
  • NMPF and USDEC also submitted more detailed recommendations 8 to the U.S. government underscoring the additional needs to: (1) clearly communicate and promote the positive role of sustainable livestock systems; (2) promote a role for school milk as a key component in school meals; (3) actively work to shape UN leadership comments and reports to align with the U.S. interests; and (4) work to shape future work and steer that process toward being conducted by multilateral organizations that prioritize science-based policy making.
  • NMPF also worked with USDEC to play an active role in helping shape an agriculture coalition letter outlining summit priorities that was sent to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sept. 13. The letter urged enhanced work with like-minded countries to promote the benefits of rules-based international trade; support science, innovation, and technology; recognize that all production systems should seek to minimize environmental impacts without sacrificing overall diet quality and diversity; and support flexibility in addressing national, cultural, and personal interests without prescriptive or “one-size-fits-all” approaches.
  • On Sept. 14, NMPF joined a small group of other agricultural organizations to meet with USDA Deputy Secretary Jewel Bronaugh and emphasize the type of results that U.S. agriculture views as critical to feeding the world sustainably.

Secretary Vilsack and USAID Ambassador Samantha Powers announced U.S. commitments near the outset of the summit Sept. 23; those remarks focused on addressing hunger and drawing on a variety of tools to build sustainable food systems. NMPF’s President and CEO Jim Mulhern said dairy farmers need to be at the table given the positive role they play on both fronts.

“Some have viewed the summit as an opportunity to issue lengthy lists of dos and don’ts to the farmers worldwide who work hard every day to feed us all,” Mulhern said in a statement released in conjunction with the summit. “We’re proud to promote an approach that recognizes that farmers everywhere advance sustainability in many ways – with America’s dairy farmers at the forefront. Rather than trying to impose a uniform, misguided ideology on how the world eats, farms, and produces food, we all need to do our part to use limited resources wisely and efficiently to feed a growing world population in environmentally sound ways.”

The U.S. dairy industry has a big role to play to sustainably meet the world’s growing demand for dairy. To allow that to flourish, NMPF will continue to promote trade-friendly and evidence-based solutions to support diverse and healthy diets as core to sustainable food systems as U.S. dairy enhances its critical role in sustainably meeting growing global dairy demand.

NMPF Works to Prevent Barriers in Colombia

NMPF and USDEC in July steadily worked to prevent potential trade barriers in trade with Colombia, working with governments in both countries to keep commerce open.

The Colombian Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism formally announced on June 21 the launch of an investigation into imports of U.S. milk powder to determine whether U.S. product has negatively impacted Colombia’s local industry.

Sparked by a vocal domestic industry, the Colombian government’s investigation appears to be a politically driven attempt to impose additional tariffs under a safeguard mechanism. NMPF and USDEC’s trade policy team, working with USDEC regulatory staff, met with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service in early July to urge the U.S. government to engage the Colombian government in opposition to any potential safeguard. NMPF and USDEC have also reached out to seek the support of Colombian buyers in opposition to any safeguard.

While safeguards are allowed to be imposed under the U.S.-Colombia bilateral trade agreement if a domestic industry is “injured” from increased imports, the Colombian government must follow specific procedures in doing so. NMPF and USDEC, along with several USDEC members, submitted official comments and relevant data to the Colombian government on July 12. The next step is to await the findings and ruling on the investigation.