The United States has arrived as a major player in the global dairy market. But if U.S. dairy exporters do not show continuous improvement, and if rules and regulations are not altered, then off-shore dairy and nondairy competitors will chip away at our position.
Neither droughts nor threatened port closures nor a shaky global economy could deter U.S. dairy ingredient manufacturers. Last year, exports again were 13% of milk production. It’s a fact: the industry keeps getting better at exporting.
We’re in the right place at the right time. The global dairy industry is a growth sector — that much is crystal clear. At the “Future of Food” summit in Washington, D.C., earlier this summer (an event co-hosted by the dairy producer-funded Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy), speaker after speaker talked about the challenges of feeding the planet’s growing population.
Back in 1997, the National Conference on Interstate Milk Shipments began making the case for a voluntary dairy food safety program called HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points). This program remains an internationally accepted, science-based system for ensuring food safety controls. At the time, the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance was doing the heavy lifting on dairy safety.
A week or so before Thanksgiving 2011, Mexico became our first billion-dollar overseas market. It was like watching our first-born go through a graduation ceremony — the satisfying reward after years of careful nurturing.