The two federal departments signed a memorandum of understanding
By Diego Flammini
Two federal departments have pledged to work together to support the U.S. dairy sector.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) and Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote exports of U.S. dairy and related products.
The federal agencies commit to take multiple actions to increase dairy exports, including developing verification programs to meet foreign market requirements and communicate with one another about when potential customers are looking for American dairy.
American dairy farmers export about $6 billion of products annually.
Mexico is the primary market for U.S. dairy, importing $1.53 billion of American dairy in 2019. That figure represented an 11 percent increase from 2018.
In order to maintain or surpass the national annual number, the U.S. must be able to meet market requests, said Frank Yiannas, deputy commissioner for food policy and response with the FDA.
“The rising trend by trading partners requesting additional information and assurances from dairy exporters requires an exceptional level of coordination by government authorities to address and facilitate requests,” he said in an Oct. 1 statement. “This MOU reflects a concerted, modern approach to leverage our collective strengths as we move into a new era of smarter food safety.”
The federal agencies consulted with the dairy sector to shape the MOU.
The inclusive consultation process resulted in good discussions that will help the U.S. be competitive in the dairy export market.
“This new partnership ensures that the staff at USDA and FDA are working together in the most efficient way possible to lower barriers for our farmers’ dairy exports,” Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, said in an Oct. 1 release. “Increasing U.S. dairy exports will strengthen the health of our farmers and rural communities, which is more important than ever as America’s dairy industry faces new and unprecedented challenges.”