Thanks to sluggish milk prices and trade uncertainty, it’s been a challenging couple of years for American dairy producers. But Tom Vilsack, President and ECO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, believes the industry is now on the track upward. He said American dairy farmers are competing much better on the open market against Australia, New Zealand, Canada and others.
“We made the commitment as an industry in the later part of 2016 to deepen our presence and commitment to exports. And since that time, we have increase the amount of value that we’re selling to the rest of the world, in terms of dairy by over $1.1 billion, which is a pretty phenomenal number when you consider that our overall export activity in dairy is somewhere between $5-$6 billion.”
Vilsack said producers are benefiting from the fact that more cheese is being sold internationally.
When it comes to trade, Vilsack said the bilateral deal with Japan levels the playing field, USMCA will allow American dairies better access to Canada, and while only Phase One, things are looking better in China. While many of the deals are not exactly what the Ag industry had hoped for.
“I think we need to be appreciative of what we have today, which is certainly better than what it has been. A bit more clarity, more access to markets and opportunity to sell more product to China, or at least access that market more easily. And tremendous opportunities in Southeast Asia.”
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