United States Dairy Export Council and IICA reinforce partnership to drive the use of scientific standards in the dairy sector of the Americas
San Jose, 2 October 2023 (IICA). The United States Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) expanded their technical cooperation agreement to bolster the promotion and harmonization of science-based standards on food and agriculture in the hemisphere.
The agreement was renewed when a delegation of senior officials from USDEC and Dairy Management Incorporated (DMI) visited IICA Headquarters to meet with Manuel Otero, Director General of the Institute.
After four years of collaboration, this updated agreement will prioritize the development and application of science-based standards, through capacity building at the national level and participation in international standards development forums.
The intention is also to increase intergovernmental collaboration within the Americas and collaboration with international partners on the essential role of livestock, animal proteins and dairy products in ensuring food and nutritional security and sustainable development.
“Working together as a unified front to advance in the application of science-based regulations is essential, as we are aiming to restrict barriers to the free flow of dairy and agricultural products worldwide”, explained Krysta Harden, President and CEO of USDEC.
“Latin America is an important trade partner and a natural ally in making headway in issues of common interest. Our journey has reinforced the need for closer collaboration, a step we are taking by expanding our association with IICA”, added Harden, who was recognized by the Institute as a Leader of Rurality of the Americas in March 2013 for her efforts to highlight the leading role of women in food production.
I am privileged to work for 28,000 U.S. dairy producers, who are the one that fund this incredible Dairy Management program, which has global, national and local capacities. Our priorities are their priorities, and as we discuss the commitment to science, I know that, through our program, livestock farmers are investing in it. It would be a privilege to move forward with this work, learning from you and sharing what we know, said Barbara O’Brien, CEO and President of DMI.
This association, along with other related organizations, works to increase sales and the demand for dairy products through research, education and innovation, as well as to maintain confidence in dairy products, farms and companies.
Manuel Otero, IICA Director General emphasized that this institution has become one that builds bridges within and outside of the hemisphere, with a view to uniting efforts to ensure a more resilient, sustainable and productive agriculture sector.
He maintained that, “It is critical that we work together. There are many problems on the horizon for the agriculture sector, but they must be resolved by farmers, with the help of science, and we are convinced that that is the raison d'être of IICA – to contribute to the transformation of agrifood systems. Latin America and the Caribbean has approximately 17 million farmers, who are the backbone of rural areas and we must continue defending the contribution of agriculture and the livestock and dairy sectors to global food security”.
USDEC and the Institute signed their first technical cooperation agreement in 2019 when Tom Vilsack, the current United States Secretary of Agriculture, headed the Council. The updated agreement complements similar agreements signed last year with Argentina’s Sociedad Rural Argentina and Chile’s dairy producer association, FEDELECHE (Federación Nacional de Productores de Leche), which strengthened USDEC relations with Latin America.
The United States Dairy Export Council is a strategic ally in strengthening the participation of the agriculture sector of the Americas in the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), at the end of this year in Dubai. IICA will aim to ensure that the hemisphere’s voice will be heard, demonstrating the work that regional agriculture—with the public and private sectors—has done to position food production as a solution to the climate crisis.
“With the support of USDEC, the Home of Sustainable Agriculture of the Americas will be installed again, this time at COP28, embodying the spirit of all farmers, agripreneurs and governments, who should take pride in our agriculture sector, as part of the solution to climate challenges”, said Otero.
Founded in 1995, USDEC currently has 115 member companies that represent 80% of dairy processors in the United States. It is an independent membership, non-profit organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders.
Its mission is to increase the country’s global competitiveness and assist the industrial sector to boost global sales of dairy ingredients and dairy exports, through market development programs aimed at increasing world demand for U.S. dairy products, eliminating market access barriers and promoting industrial and commercial policy-related objectives.
Institutional Communication Division.