World Dairy Summit: At a moment when U.S. dairy exports are increasing, the light shines big on the United States.
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World Dairy Summit
U.S. Set to Host the World Dairy Summit for the First Time in 30 Years

At a moment when U.S. dairy exports are increasing, the light shines big on the United States, as it was just announced the International Dairy Federation (IDF) will be held in Chicago Oct. 16-19, 2023. This marks the first time in three decades that this global dairy conference returns to the United States.

Founded in 1903, the International Dairy Federation hosts a meeting every year called the World Dairy Summit. Each year, the World Dairy Summit is hosted by an IDF member country in a different country around the world. China was slated to host in 2023, but due to the pandemic challenges that they’ve been grappling with, the 2023 spot opened up with a very short planning time window.

Senior Vice President for Trade at the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC), Shawna Morris, says that this is something that the key players in the U.S. dairy were enthusiastic to step up and host.

“Key dairy players here in America have been talking about wanting to do this for quite a while, but the line to get in and be able to put in a bid to host is several years long,” Morris shares. “We got buy-in, and we secured support from all of the major U.S. dairy organizations that are active in this space and made the commitment to move forward with the U.S. hosting next year.”

Nick Gardner, chairman of the U.S. International Dairy Federation and senior vice president for sustainability and multilateral affairs at USDEC, says that this is a huge opportunity for dairy.

“Bringing all of these folks to the United States creates an opportunity to get folks into facilities, to get them out to farms, to really show the rest of the global dairy industry what the U.S. dairy industry is all about,” Gardner says.

Gardner adds that this global summit brings key experts from around the world together and will bring thousands of different dairy stakeholders in one place. The program will reflect the diversity of the global dairy industry.

“Programming focusing on dairy farming innovation and dairy production and processing all the way to topics that folks who are really focused on certain scientific or technical topics can geek out on, like methods of analysis, like residues and chemical contaminants,” Gardner says. “And importantly for folks that work more on the policy side, a great opportunity for us to explore some of the big policy challenges that are facing dairy globally and potentially hampering dairy exports from countries including the United States. It’s a great chance to network. It’s a great chance to bring point of use forward, and it really reflects a critical opportunity for us to demonstrate that global leadership that you alluded to in your intro.”

On paper, collecting rainwater would seem to make sense – water is essential for farming, can be scarce as last summer highlighted, and there’s a cost attached to taking it from mains supply, both financially and to the environment.

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