The Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) program, which subsidizes exports sales by U.S. dairy cooperatives, is up for renewal this year.
Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), says CWT is part of the reason U.S. commodity prices remained above world prices this year. The CWT program helps maintain dairy exports, helps the U.S. be a more reliable supplier when world prices spike and strengthens global demand.
The CWT program helped move more than 2.5 billion pounds of milk on a milk fat basis into global markets in 2014. Consequently, CWT accounts for roughly 20% of U.S. exports on an aggregate basis.
In 2014, CWT helped export 102 million pounds of cheese, 45 million pounds of butter and 57 million pounds of whole milk powder. That accounts for 13% of total cheese exports, 44% of butter exports and 25% of whole milk powder exports. CWT sales were made in 45 countries on every continent but Antarctica.
The program is funded by a 4¢ per cwt assessment from dairy farmer members of 37 participating cooperatives that make up 70% of the nation’s milk supply. Some 130 independent dairy farmers also contribute to the program.
NMPF’s goal is to have at least 70% of the nation’s milk supply contributing to the CWT program. The vote to renew the program will be held at the NMPF Board meeting in July.