making a difference for dairy
Be Heard

Regulatory RoundUp

Get Involved

Advocacy: Dairy Counts

Join the Discussion

Dairy Forum

Dairy Delivers℠: The Economic Impact of Dairy Products
Advocacy: Dairy Counts
FDA Milk Safety Memoranda
Tariff Schedules
Buyers' Guide
Member Hotlines
Dairy Market Prices
Quick Links

Dairy Facts 2016

IDFA Helps Members Deliver Pro-Trade Message in The Wall Street Journal

Jan 03, 2018

As part of IDFA’s efforts to advocate for free-trade agreements that would increase market access for U.S. dairy products, IDFA continues to work with leaders of member companies to place pro-trade opinion pieces in influential news outlets. Most recently, The Wall Street Journal published an opinion column by IDFA board members Andrei Mikhalevsky, president and CEO of California Dairies Inc., and Stan Ryan, president and CEO of Darigold Inc., who called on U.S. negotiators to act swiftly to finalize updates to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

In the column, “America’s Dairies Need Free Trade—Including a Better NAFTA,” they emphasized the overall importance of global trade to the U.S. dairy industry and urged U.S. officials to pursue additional bilateral trade agreements at the same time. 

“First, American negotiators should work hard to preserve the duty-free access to Mexico that U.S. agricultural products currently enjoy. Second, they should fight to gain meaningful access to Canada’s dairy market, which was excluded from NAFTA when the agreement was first negotiated,” Mikhalevsky and Ryan wrote.

“The most significant opportunity for dairy farmers and product manufacturers is to expand international markets, but as the U.S. focuses on NAFTA, other countries are aggressively forging new trade deals,” they continued. “The agreement among the remaining nations in the Trans-Pacific Partnership to move forward without the U.S. is only the latest in a growing string of setbacks. America’s absence has essentially converted slow and overly cautious countries into the most urgent deal makers of modern times."

IDFA partnered with Darigold and California Dairies to develop and place the opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal. It appeared on the opinion page in the December 27, 2017, edition.

Working together, the companies and IDFA have successfully placed regional versions of the message in the Seattle Times, the Yakima (Washington) Herald Republic and the Idaho Press Tribune.

Press Briefing Brings More Coverage

Mikhalevsky and Ryan joined David Ahlem, CEO of Hilmar Cheese Co. Inc., at a press briefing held in Washington, D.C., in early December during the IDFA board’s legislative fly-in. Following the briefing, POLITICO and Agri-Pulse published stories quoting these board members, and reporters from other outlets have had further conversations with them for future stories.

IDFA will continue to partner with member companies to place opinion pieces in other influential publications.

Members that want to partner or have questions may contact Peggy Armstrong, IDFA vice president of communications, at

Dairy Delivers