What is CWT?

Farmer-Led, Farmer-Funded


What is CWT?

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) is a program designed exclusively by America’s dairy farmers for the benefit of America’s dairy farmers. It is a voluntary, producer-funded national program developed by the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), to assist family farmers. CWT was designed by dairy farmers for the benefit of dairy farmers. Launched in July 2003, CWT is, in effect, a federation of cooperatives and producers formed in accordance with the Capper-Volstead Act. CWT operates as an entity within the NMPF structure so that administrative costs and direct program (operational) costs can be kept to an absolute minimum.


CWT is not a government-mandated program.

There is no government involvement in CWT at any level. This allows CWT to respond quickly to changes in market conditions without having to go through a lengthy legislative or bureaucratic process. A government-mandated program would not be able to assist member cooperatives in expanding overseas markets for U.S. dairy products because of trade agreement restrictions.


Dairy farmers invest in CWT.

CWT is supported by dairy farmers producing almost 70% of the nation’s milk. This includes the producer-owners of 35 cooperatives, as well as over 130 independent dairy farmers in nearly every state. (See the cooperatives fully funding CWT.) CWT members invest 4¢ per hundredweight in this program to achieve higher returns in the marketplace for their products.


Management of CWT establishes policies and oversees programs and activities.

The CWT Committee consists of the NMPF Board of Directors, representatives from each participating cooperative that is not a member of NMPF, and representatives for independent producer members of CWT. Representation on the CWT Committee for these various groups of producers is based on milk production volume. The CWT Committee establishes policies and oversees the CWT’s programs and activities.


Every dairy farmer benefits from CWT.

CWT utilizes its Export Assistance program to achieve its goal of assisting American dairy farmers. Under the Export Assistance program, CWT has helped to export 281 million pounds of cheese, butter, anhydrous milk fat, and whole milk powder to 56 countries on four continents – the equivalent of nearly 5 billion pounds of milk.

Visit CWT’s Export Assistance program page for detailed information.