By Margaret Speich, Senior Vice President, Strategic and Industry Communications
Twenty years ago, American dairy farmers recognized a growth opportunity beyond our borders. With funding from the dairy checkoff program, a new organization was formed: The U.S. Dairy Export Council.
As USDEC's senior vice president, strategic and industry communications, I oversee membership, and wanted to help us mark this milestone with something akin to a birthday card to our members. So we created the motion-graphics video . USDEC was created to expand U.S. dairy exports, a new emphasis for our industry in 1995. But USDEC was also different in how it planned to achieve that objective.
Managed by Dairy Management, Inc., USDEC was founded as a partnership among farmers, processors and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
That in itself was historic because it was one of the first times U.S. dairy farmers and processors joined forces in one organization. Yes, there were risks. But everyone understood that if exports grew over the long haul, the entire industry would benefit.
Sometimes farmers ask us what the ROI has been for their investment in dairy exports. We like to help them visualize the answer.
In 1995, the year USDEC was founded, the equivalent of 1 in 37 milk tankers leaving American farms found their way into products and ingredients sold overseas.
Today the milk from 1 in seven tankers leaving our farms is shipped beyond our borders.
Like any industry exporting to global markets, we have seen our share of volatility, and that hasn’t been easy for farmers or processors. But when you look at exports over a two-decade span, it’s clear that exports have greatly expanded and enriched the U.S. dairy industry.