USDEC Commends Senate Confirmation of President and CEO Tom Vilsack as U.S. Agriculture Secretary
Mark O'Keefe, USDEC
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. Dairy Export Council commends the Senate's Tuesday confirmation of USDEC President and CEO Tom Vilsack to serve the country once again as U.S. Agriculture Secretary.
Summary of accomplishments during Secretary Tom Vilsack's 2017-2021 tenure at USDEC:
- Established nearly a dozen partnerships in key target markets with organizations including Singapore Polytechnic’s Food Innovation & Resource Centre and China’s Jiangnan University to deepen U.S. engagement in foreign markets, demonstrate U.S. dairy expertise to overseas customers, and raise the profile of the United States as a committed global dairy supplier.
- Opened the U.S. Center for Dairy Excellence in Singapore, giving the U.S. dairy industry its first shared physical presence in a key growth market outside the United States.
- Invested in new people in USDEC’s network of overseas offices to cultivate supplier-customer relationships and provide deeper, on-the-ground insights on the unique dairy and nutritional needs of specific regions.
- Oversaw a series a new programs and promotions, including creating the USA Cheese Guild, the USA Cheese Specialist™ Certification Program and more than 20 social media channels in key markets, to build demand for U.S. cheese by engaging and educating culinary professionals, retailers and consumers on U.S. cheese quality, tastes and applications.
- Helped bring dairy-positive trade agreements across the finish line, most prominently the Phase 1 deal with China and the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, a pact containing groundbreaking measures to reform Canada's trade-distorting pricing system and protect common cheese names in Mexico.
- Successfully concluded a decade-long effort to convince China to approve permeate as an ingredient for use in human food and beverage products, opening a brand new and potentially major market for U.S. dairy suppliers.
- Expanded staffing to take a larger, proactive leadership role in international standard-setting bodies such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission and the World Organization for Animal Health to minimize potential barriers to dairy trade and support the adoption of science-based standards.
- Communicated the United States’ unparalleled approach to sustainability to global markets, emphasizing U.S. dairy’s longstanding commitment to healthy people, a healthy planet and healthy communities at a time when overseas businesses and consumers are increasingly prioritizing the environment, animal health and packaging waste in food-purchase decisions.
- Increased collaboration with international organizations such as the Pan American Dairy Federation and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture to promote and defend the essential role of dairy in the global food system, support science-based policymaking and highlight the benefits of international trade in economic development.
The U.S. Dairy Export Council is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. Its mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and assist the U.S. industry to increase its global dairy ingredient sales and exports of U.S. dairy products. USDEC accomplishes this through programs in market development that build global demand for U.S. dairy products, resolve market access barriers and advance industry trade policy goals. USDEC is supported by staff across the United States and overseas in Mexico, South America, Asia, Middle East and Europe. The U.S. Dairy Export Council prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, disability, national origin, race, color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, marital status, military status, and arrest or conviction record. www.usdec.org.