CWT continues to focus its export-assistance efforts on dairy products that most directly impact producers’ milk checks: American-type cheeses and butter containing 82 percent butterfat.

In the first three months of 2018, CWT member cooperatives submitted 246 total requests for export assistance. CWT ultimately provided assistance for 188 of these bids, resulting in contracts to sell 29.2 million pounds of cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese, and 5.6 million pounds of butter (made to the world standard of 82 percent butterfat content). These products will be delivered during the first six months of 2018.

Strategic changes being considered

Q1 CWT assistance

CWT has recently formulated a new strategic assessment to evolve the CWT program to address the new challenges of today’s world marketplace. CWT’s member cooperatives are reviewing a series of proposed improvements with the goal of incorporating these strategic approaches as the program’s membership authorization is renewed for 2019 and beyond:

  • Expand the range of exports to engage more products, shippers and customers.

    The present emphasis on American-style cheeses (cheddar, jack, Gouda, Swiss, colby) needs to include more varieties, as well commonly traded cream cheese and natural cheese blends.

  • Adjust the bidding process to facilitate longer-term contracts.

    The current limit of three months to fulfill an export contract will be increased to six months for cheese. This would help CWT’s members move beyond short-term commodity spot sales.

  • Encourage higher-value marketing strategies in retail and foodservice channels.

    This adjustment would help CWT evaluate and potentially contribute matching funds toward efforts by members to create integrated export sales and marketing plans.

  • Develop improved market intelligence on prices and market needs.

  • Maximize collaboration with other farmer-funded efforts, such as USDEC and DMI.

    Although cooperation already exists, greater emphasis will be placed on market intelligence and identifying new market opportunities.  end mark