News and Press

CWT Export Assistance sets new benchmark

In 2011, CWT helped member cooperatives make 280 export sales totaling 92.4 million pounds of cheese, a new benchmark for the Export Assistance program. That total was nearly 20 million pounds higher than exports achieved in 2010, when CWT assisted with 241 export sales totaling 73.9 million pounds of cheese.

CWT significant factor in U.S. dairy trade

CWT continued to play a significant role in exports of American-type cheese in general, and Cheddar cheese specifically. While data for all of 2011 is not yet final, initial analysis indicates that the volume of CWT-assisted Cheddar cheese export shipments in the first ten months of 2011 – 69.7 million pounds – accounted for 76% of Cheddar cheese loaf exports, 79% of American-type cheese exports in loaf form, and 19% of the total cheese exported in all forms.

CWT increases producers’ revenue

Dairy product sales assisted by CWT and shipped in 2011 have added an average of 22 cents per hundredweight on all milk marketed. That is an increase in producer revenue of $120 million according to an analysis by Dr. Scott Brown, University of Missouri and FAPRI.

Export-assisted product in milk volume

The 92.4 million pounds of cheese CWT assisted member cooperatives in selling in 2011 is equivalent to 905 million pounds of milk, the annual production of 43,100.cows.

Asian countries accounted for 35% of the total pounds sold with Japan taking 84% of those sales. The Middle East was close behind representing 32% of the total tonnage with Saudi Arabia accounting for 50% of the pounds sold. Central America ranked next with 15% of the total tonnage.

Export Assistance in 2012

For 2012, CWT has a strategic plan that will guide its operation. It will continue to focus on those commodities whose sales will have the most positive impact on dairy farmers’ milk checks and into markets with the greatest potential for long-term business and growth.

CWT is continually evaluating the world market situation regarding the basic commodities — cheddar cheese, butter and skim milk powder — in order to determine if and when export assistance is truly needed to make a new sale or to maintain a business relationship.

CWT’s strategic business plan for 2012 is available for producers and cooperatives to review at

We support CWT. Do you? (Hoard’s Dairyman – Opinion)
The following editorial comment appeared in the January 10, 2012 issue of Hoard’s Dairyman:

We were pleased to learn that many of the nation’s major milk cooperatives stepped up to the plate to renew Cooperatives Working Together through 2013. Known to most of us as CWT, the program’s future initiatives will mainly focus on supporting efforts to export dairy products instead of reducing the national dairy herd. We agree that is a solid strategy, and the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm plans to continue contributing 2 cents per hundredweight.

To renew the program, the National Milk Producers Federation required over 70 percent of the U.S. milk be represented in the voluntary check-off. While it took some extra effort, they reached their goal in mid-November. And, as in the past, the majority of milk contributing to the program is from producers who belong to the 33 participating milk cooperatives. There are only 177 independent producers participating in CWT.

To be honest, the low number of independent producers puzzles us. We realize there are some producers who don’t exactly believe in cooperatives and want to go it alone. However, in this era where a greater share of independent-minded producers are against the Dairy Security Act (DSA), we would think they would step up to the plate and support efforts to grow exports.

Many producers who oppose DSA’s supply control measures cite the Bain Study which notes the U.S. has a narrow window to become a global dairy export player. If you truly believe that, stand by those convictions and financially support CWT. So far this year, CWT has aided 16 percent of all U.S. cheese exports. It stands ready to assist butter, nonfat dry milk, skim milk powder, and whole milk powder exporters when they need extra support.

At the end of the day, producers cannot have it both ways . . . logically, one cannot justify being against both the DSA and funding CWT. If you are for bolstering America’s global dairy marketing efforts, we urge you to call CWT administrators and sign up for the program by going to or calling (888) 463-6298. For those who already contribute, we agree with your decision on the 2-cents-per-hundredweight checkoff.