US dairy suffers but will bounce back, Vilsack says

In recent media interviews, US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) president and CEO Tom Vilsack (pictured) did not sugarcoat the negative impact Covid-19 is having on the US dairy industry, calling it a “gut punch.” But he also expressed confidence that exports will bounce back with creative innovation that serves markets around the world, particularly Southeast Asia, where USDEC is opening a US Center for Dairy Excellence in Singapore.

“We are a resilient bunch,” Vilsack told news media participating in a teleconference. “We will get through this. We are committed to reimagining the new normal to promote US dairy products.”

USDEC’s chairman Larry Hancock sent an email message offering “some words of hope for all USDEC member organizations as well as my fellow dairy farmers who are the primary funders of USDEC through the dairy checkoff.

“Every farmer knows calamity can strike suddenly. Around a month ago, our industry seemed to be on an upward trajectory with six straight months of positive export growth and projections that milk prices were finally poised to rise.”

Today, milk prices have plummeted and exports are projected to go down, not up, the rest of 2020.
“More than 95% of the world’s population lives beyond US borders,” Hancock said. “Many countries can’t produce enough milk to meet their citizens’ growing demand for dairy products.”

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