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Dairy Facts 2016

Exports Offer ‘Sea Change’ for Dairy Industry, Says Former USTR

Oct 02, 2013

Ambassador Ron Kirk, former U.S. Trade Representative, believes that agriculture -- and dairy in particular -- can help America regain its fiscal prosperity. He says that there are potentially 3.5 billion people in the world able to afford “food, protein and products” but do not live in a country like America that can meet their nutrition demands.  

“Embracing competition, embracing the opportunity to go compete for these new consumers that are coming of age in markets around the world is a great way for us to sustain our way of life and to grow our economy,” said Kirk in a recent interview with Connie Tipton, IDFA president and CEO. Kirk will deliver the Chairman’s Lecture at IDFA’s Dairy Forum 2014, which will be held January 26-29 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort & Spa in Palm Desert, Calif.

Kirk said the growth of the export market for dairy products has been a “sea change” for the industry. “Our domestic industry, for the most part, has historically dominated the North American market, and exports have been a new trend for us.  That can be a real growth opportunity for the dairy industry,” Kirk said.

Reflecting on his time as the lead negotiator for long-pending trade deals with South Korea, Colombia and Panama and on the frontlines of enforcing trade rules with China and other foreign competitors, Kirk told Tipton how important enforcing existing trade rules is to U.S. companies.

“What I heard was that nobody is holding these people accountable; nobody enforces the rules we have,” he said.  “So we elevated enforcement of our trading agreements to the same level as we did the importance of negotiating new agreements.”

Kirk’s presentation on Sunday, January 26, will kick off the four-day Dairy Forum. To learn more about his topic, watch a video of his interview with Tipton.

To see the agenda and to register, visit the Dairy Forum 2014 page.

For more information, contact Maria Velasco, IDFA meetings assistant and registrar, at

Dairy Delivers