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USDEC concludes MOU with World Farmers' Organisation, champions U.S. dairy with FAO and member states


Jerry Brown, USDEC
EMAIL: jbrown@usdec.org

ROME, ITALY –  U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) President and CEO Krysta Harden and World Farmers' Organisation (WFO) Secretary General Andrea Porro today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to deepen collaboration between their organizations in supporting greater farmer representation in global policymaking, promoting the role of international trade in delivering sustainable food systems and elevating the focus on nutrition security in climate conversations. The signing took place in Rome today, as Harden also led a delegation of U.S. dairy farmer leaders to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), championing the role of U.S. dairy exports in achieving global goals for nutrition security and sustainable food systems.  

The U.S. dairy delegation comprised: USDEC Chair Alex Peterson, USDEC Vice-Chair Becky Nyman, Dairy Management Inc. Chair Marilyn Hershey, USDEC Executive Vice President for Policy Development Jaime Castaneda, USDEC Senior Vice President for Sustainability and Multilateral Affairs Nick Gardner, and USDEC Vice President for Sustainable Nutrition Janice Giddens.   

Discussions with FAO Directors for animal production and health, environment, economics, and trade focused on evidence demonstrating U.S. dairy’s unique nutritional contributions around the world and its progress toward ambitious sustainability commitments. The discussions also highlighted scientific and technological innovations U.S. dairy is developing to deliver sustainable food system solutions. In addition, the delegation took the opportunity to underscore the importance of engaging farmers in global policymaking impacting agriculture and to stress the role of trade in delivering sustainable food systems around the world.  

Besides FAO staff, the delegation conducted bilateral engagements with representatives from more than a dozen UN member states who represent important markets for U.S. dairy exports and are allies in global food systems discussions, particularly regarding the important role of trade, livestock production and animal-source foods in achieving global goals. This was a unique opportunity for those member states to hear directly from the farmers about their commitments to sustainable dairy production and practical ways the UN can support nutrition security and strong rural communities around the globe.    

USDEC President and CEO Krysta Harden welcomed the conclusion of the USDEC-WFO MOU and encouraged senior FAO and member state officials to accelerate their partnership with U.S. dairy stakeholders, commenting:  

“With the world facing the simultaneous crises of increasing nutrition insecurity and climate change, now is the time for a partnership like the one USDEC signed today. This collaboration with WFO will bring our organizations together to support effective global policy frameworks informed by farmers. 

“We are aligned in our commitment to promote science-based solutions that provide options for food producers to be both profitable and sustainable. Together, we can more effectively encourage policymakers to fully consider nutritional, social and economic tradeoffs of policies that seek to reduce consumption of animal-sourced foods like dairy.   

“U.S. dairy exports offer a solution to this complex puzzle by delivering nutrient-dense, responsibly produced products to populations around the world.” 

WFO Secretary General Andrea Porro also welcomed the MOU, commenting: 

"In recent years, WFO has had the opportunity to work with USDEC in several multilateral contexts, and we witnessed their commitment to a farmer-driven, science-based, and outcome-oriented approach to tackling global challenges that resonates with our values and commitments towards farmers.

"The formalization of our partnership provides a framework to further our cooperation and highlights our shared goal of contributing to the transition towards resilient, sustainable, and inclusive food systems, with the experiences and needs of farmers at their core."

USDEC Chair Alex Peterson added:  

“It is critical for USDEC to work with partners like WFO. This MOU will help ensure decision makers hear from farmers and see tangible evidence that U.S. dairy responsibly produces the nutrient-dense foods people need while taking meaningful action to optimize our sector’s environmental footprint.”  

The delegation will travel next to Northern Italy for two days of meetings with International Dairy Federation President Piercristiano Brazzale and with leaders of the Italian dairy industry association Assolatte. USDEC, the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), and Assolatte concluded an MOU in 2023 that increases collaboration between the three groups as they promote the nutritional benefits of dairy products and support dairy-friendly policies in global and international forums.  


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.