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USDEC Applauds RAPP Funding For Dairy Exports


Jerry Brown, USDEC
EMAIL: jbrown@usdec.org

ARLINGTON, VA –  The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) commends the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s monumental $1.2 billion funding for the Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP) announced today.  This substantial investment will significantly enhance market opportunities for U.S. agricultural and dairy products in key international markets.  

USDA launched RAPP in 2023 in response to a bipartisan request from the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition & Forestry. The department recognized that it takes significant investment to open and develop new export markets.  

“We want to thank USDA, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, and Congressional leaders for their critical support and for the benefits this program will have in supporting U.S. dairy farmers and the U.S. agriculture industry overall,” said USDEC President and CEO Krysta Harden. “We also appreciate USDA’s hardworking Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) staff. Today’s announcement reflects the deep commitment of FAS’s staff over the last several months, who delivered the funding ahead of schedule.”  

"USDEC is grateful to receive $10 million in RAPP funding, and we applaud USDA’s decision to invest heavily in supporting the development of international markets for America’s dairy farmers and processors.  We will leverage those dollars to ensure we are shipping to those who need it,” Harden said. USDEC’s strategy is to build partnerships with dairy farmers, processors, importers, distributors, retailers, foodservice operators, and policymakers in critical markets to cultivate dairy demand and trade.  

Now more than ever, the U.S. dairy industry relies on exports.  Milk from one out of six milk trucks leaving American dairy farms ends up in products and ingredients sold overseas. In 2023, U.S. dairy export value finished at $8.11 billion, the second-largest value of all time. This year, dairy exports were $2 billion through the first quarter. This new funding will allow USDEC to assist in delivering sustainable, healthy, nourishing U.S. dairy products to countries that lack an abundance of dairy in their diets while simultaneously creating mutually beneficial growth for the dairy sectors on all sides – “It's a win-win scenario,” Harden added.  

A major goal of RAPP is to diversify and expand market opportunities for U.S.  agricultural products beyond the traditional top customers – Canada, Mexico, the European Union, and China – which collectively comprise nearly 60 percent of U.S. agricultural export sales.  

RAPP introduces new support for exports to other regions like Africa, which Harden says is excellent timing for dairy. “We have high-quality, high-value dairy products that the world needs. Africa has 54 different countries and is not a singular, homogenous market. This new RAPP funding will enhance our ability to strategically compete and win in targeted, new export markets on that continent,” Harden said. 


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.