U.S. dairy industry reassures global customers about commitment to exports
March 31, 2020
A message translated into 10 languages says U.S. dairy suppliers are working hard to continue shipments to other countries during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Thousands of shipping containers make for a dazzling array of colors at the Port of Oakland, one of several ports used by U.S. dairy exporters to reach overseas markets.
Global customers are being reassured that the U.S. dairy industry is committed to exporting a continuing supply of safe, sustainable and high-quality products and ingredients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
A letter conveying that commitment, signed by U.S. Dairy Export Council President and CEO Tom Vilsack, has been translated into 10 languages and distributed to U.S. dairy customers globally.
“In response to COVID-19, we want to let you know that our U.S. dairy farming community, U.S. dairy suppliers and food-industry professionals remain vigilant and dedicated to delivering safe, sustainable and high-quality U.S. dairy products,” wrote Vilsack.
The letter expressed solidarity with global customers while acknowledging the pandemic’s disruption of global supply chains.
“Stay safe, be well, and know that we are in this together with you and will continue to operate in the best interests for the health and safety of everyone.”
USDEC microsites carry message in multiple languages
The letter is being posted on USDEC microsites in multiple languages, including Spanish, Portuguese, Vietnamese, Chinese-Mandarin, Korean and Arabic.
A message on USDEC’s Spanish microsite reassures U.S. dairy customers.
In addition, employees stationed at USDEC’s nine international offices are personally distributing Vilsack’s message via email to U.S. customers in their markets.
With the health challenges posed by COVID-19, it is more important than ever for people to eat a healthy, balanced diet, and dairy is a key component of that — not just for the U.S., but the world.
Exports vital to U.S. dairy industry
The United States is uniquely positioned to provide high-quality dairy nutrition to the world. Tens of thousands of dairy farmers in the U.S. work long hours – 12 months of the year – to keep the milk tankers moving.
In 2019, milk from one out of seven of those tankers was turned into products and ingredients exported to other countries, totaling $6 billion in sales that boosted the U.S. economy, particularly in rural communities.
Truck drivers, food company employees, railroad engineers, ocean port stevedores, cargo ship captains and many others play a role in getting product to fast-growing countries that need more dairy than their own farmers can produce.
“Our stakeholders – from U.S. farmers to USDEC member suppliers – want to reinforce our commitment to be your partner in one of the most important jobs in the world, providing safe and wholesome U.S. dairy products to nourish families and communities globally,” said Vilsack in the letter.
Secretary Vilsack’s entire letter to global customers follows:
March 25, 2020
An Important Message to U.S. Dairy Customers Around the Globe
Dear valued customers and partners:
Our primary wish to you is a sincere hope that you and your colleagues, family and friends are all in good health and staying well as the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) is increasingly felt across all corners of the globe. During these unprecedented times our objective is to maintain clear and open lines of communication. As cases of the COVID-19 continue to spread in the United States and other nations, we are keenly aware of the uncertainty and disruptions you may be facing given the dynamic nature of this global pandemic.
In response to COVID-19, we want to let you know that our U.S. dairy farming community, U.S. dairy suppliers and food-industry professionals remain vigilant and dedicated to delivering safe, sustainable and high-quality U.S. dairy products.
Here’s what we can share at this time:
1. Dairy has been identified as an essential “critical infrastructure” by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As such, U.S. dairy farmers and processors have a special responsibility to continue operations during the pandemic. U.S. dairy farms will continue to harvest milk around the clock, 365 days a year along with the full force of our processing and manufacturing capabilities.
2. We, the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), are continuing our critical work both within the United States and throughout our offices in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East/North Africa. For the safety of everyone from our contacts to employees, we have taken several precautionary measures such as postponing seminars and workshops; some of our staff are also now working from home or in shifts. However, we want to reassure you that we are just an email, phone call or website click away. During these times we remain ready and available as an ongoing resource to support you and your staff’s business and innovation needs.
3. As part of the U.S. dairy community, USDEC is in close communication with the exporting and trading establishments, which are flexible and continuously adapting to this fluid situation. We have staff on hand to help support the supply chain to mitigate disruptions, to the degree with which we can, during these challenging times.
Our stakeholders – from U.S. farmers to USDEC member suppliers – want to reinforce our commitment to be your partner in one of the most important jobs in the world, providing safe and wholesome U.S. dairy products to nourish families and communities globally. Stay safe, be well, and know that we are in this together with you and will continue to operate in the best interests for the health and safety of everyone!
Tom Vilsack President and CEO