In a major milestone for the farmer-managed export assistance program, Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has helped its member dairy cooperatives export over 1 billion pounds worth of milk so far in 2018. That sum represents 50 percent of the overall rise in U.S. milk production through August of this year.
To date, 2018 export sales through CWT total 49.64 million pounds of American-type cheeses, 12.96 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) and 45.70 million pounds of whole milk powder to 34 countries on five continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.083 billion pounds of milk on a milkfat basis. That figure compares to an estimated total increase in U.S. milk production of 2.095 billion pounds during the first eight months of 2018, compared to the same period last year.
“This is a huge milestone, not just for the members of CWT, but also for the wider U.S. dairy industry,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of NMPF. “CWT’s success at ensuring nutritious dairy products reach customers all over the world demonstrates the importance of dairy cooperatives coming together to build a better economic future for our dairy community.”
Founded in 2002, CWT is a voluntary membership program funded by contributions from NMPF’s member cooperatives and more than 100 individual farmers. The funds raised from the CWT membership fee of $0.04/cwt. help maintain U.S. exports in an increasingly competitive world market.
Mulhern noted that “with milk production rising around the world, as well as in the United States, CWT helps maintain and build market share for our products as we tap into growing consumer demand across the globe for made-in-America dairy products.”
This recent activity reflects a new strategic plan that was approved by the CWT Committee in March to enhance the effectiveness of the program and member export opportunities.
Assisting CWT members through the export assistance program in the long term helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.
The amounts of dairy products and related milk volumes reflect current contracts for delivery, not completed export volumes. CWT will pay export assistance to the bidders only when export and delivery of the product is verified by the submission of the required documentation.