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U.S. Dairy Export Council works for dairy

U.S. Dairy Export Council works for dairy

Let us first make it clear what the U.S. Dairy Export Council doesn’t do. It does not and cannot export dairy products. As a nonprofit independent membership organization we can and do represent the global trade interests of the entire U.S. dairy industry. We are dairy’s experts on exports; visit for more information.

Primarily funded by farmers through the dairy checkoff, the U.S. Dairy Export Council’s mission is to promote dairy exports, enriching the well-being of people, communities and the planet. Dairy Management Inc. is based in Rosemont, Illinois. It founded the U.S. Dairy Export Council, which has its headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

With extensive expertise in trade policy, market access, regulatory affairs, dairy ingredients and cheese, the U.S. Dairy Export Council staff works to help farmers and members increase dairy exports.

Krysta Harden, president and CEO, said if the council succeeds, millions of people around the world will consume more U.S. dairy products and ingredients made with U.S. milk from U.S. dairy farms. That economic expansion will benefit American farm families and the rural communities where they live.

To increase demand in markets we must be in those markets. That’s why the U.S. Dairy Export Council has eight global offices with “boots on the ground” – providing eyes, ears, relationships and insights that benefit U.S. dairy farmers and the entire industry.

The council has several additional goals.

  • Engage with food and beverage manufacturers, retailers, consumers, and food and dairy organizations worldwide.
  • Tell the story of U.S. dairy – about nutritious excellent-quality products, cutting-edge technology, innovation, commitment to serving world markets, supply consistency and world-leading sustainability.
  • Connect our members with buyers and help them navigate the rules and regulations required to access excellent-potential markets.
  • Work with the U.S. government to advance trade policy that facilitates dairy trade.

In 1995 the U.S. dairy industry saw and seized an opportunity. The 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement had opened trade to Mexico and Canada. The finalization of the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, as well as the establishment of the World Trade Organization that same year, spoke to even broader potential. If U.S. milk producers, dairy processors and others in the industry could work hand-in-hand to increase the value and volume of U.S. dairy exports, all boats would rise.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council was born in 1995. Under the governance of Dairy Management Inc., with funding from the dairy checkoff and guidance from its member companies, the council has accomplished what its founders envisioned – clearing new paths to global markets. The council was and still is the only dairy organization that brings together milk producers, dairy processors, co-ops, ingredient suppliers and export traders under one roof.

The national dairy checkoff funds most of the council’s budget through Dairy Management Inc.. Put another way, farmers are our primary funders through the national checkoff. State and regional checkoff organizations make additional contributions. The money has helped forge new global partnerships, hire additional people in key markets and expand our programs to facilitate U.S. export growth.

The council also is supported by U.S. Department of Agriculture programs for generic overseas marketing and promotional activities designed to build commercial export markets for U.S. agricultural products and commodities. The council relies on membership dues – not checkoff dollars – to fund its trade-policy advocacy.

Anyone who cares about the U.S. economy, the jobs it creates and the taxes we all need to pay, that person has a stake in the success of U.S. dairy exports. Anyone who cares about the economic vitality of America, especially in rural communities, should care about U.S. dairy exports.

Directly and indirectly U.S. dairy exports support almost 100,000 American jobs. For every dollar of dairy products exported to our historically largest market, Mexico, $2.50 of economic impact returns to the U.S. economy. That’s according to a study by Informa Economics commissioned by the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the National Milk Producers Federation.

But the real impact is much larger when one considers exports are a necessary pillar of a U.S. dairy industry that is a jobs machine. Dairy generates employment, tax revenue and other economic impacts coast to coast. Factor in the dairy industry’s contribution to connected economic sectors such as manufacturing and retail, and there is a ripple effect with eye-popping numbers.

The economic ripple effect of U.S. dairy exports begins on the farm. A recently updated economic-impact report from the International Dairy Foods Association shows the entire U.S. dairy industry.

  • Dairy supports 3.3 million jobs.
  • Dairy generates more than $41.6 billion in direct wages.
  • Dairy has an overall economic impact of $753 billion.

Dairy exports are a vital part of a larger U.S. dairy industry that is fueling the U.S. economy coast to coast.

Mark O'Keefe is vice-president of editorial services at the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Visit for more information.

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