The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) sent a joint letter to President-elect Donald Trump outlining the importance of exports to the U.S. dairy sector and seeking further dialogue on ways the organizations can work with the incoming administration on trade policy.
NMPF and USDEC said in their letter that expanded agricultural trade has created thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity in rural America. The two organizations said it is important “to preserve current overseas dairy sales while seeking to achieve new gains by removing foreign barriers that hold back additional exports,” according to NMPF President and CEO Jim Mulhern.
The USDA estimates that at the dairy farm level, each $1 billion of U.S. dairy exports generates more than 20,000 jobs and almost $3 billion of economic output. At the manufacturing level, USDA calculates that U.S. dairy exports support approximately 3,200 jobs per $1 billion of exports. Exports consume approximately 14% of the milk produced on American farms, the equivalent of one day’s production each week.
“During the last two decades, dairy exports have grown from less than a billion dollars a year to over $5 billion last year, in the process generating more than 120,000 jobs in dairy farming, manufacturing and related sectors,” said USDEC President Tom Suber.
He said that despite achievements made by free trade agreements, “rampant foreign nontariff barriers require a ramp-up in trade enforcement,” and urged the Trump Administration to closely monitor other nations’ compliance with existing market access concessions.
Emphasizing the need to ensure a level international playing field, Mulhern said that competitors to the U.S. dairy sector in Europe and Oceania “have not been happy to see the U.S. seizing market share from them in the last 15 years. They would relish the opportunity to regain an advantage over U.S. suppliers.”