Vilsack says marketing changes will not need checkoff increase

USDEC CEO Tom Vilsack (L) and Dairy Management Inc CEO Tom Gallagher address media at 2017 World Dairy Expo

The U.S. Dairy Export Council’s leader says he is making changes to their marketing strategy.   CEO Tom Vilsack says they want to increase export sales by another 5% totaling 20% of production.  He tells Brownfield, “To do that requires more presence in some of these emerging markets, more people on the ground figuring  out what the market needs, what the market wants, figuring out ways in which we can innovate appropriately to meet that market demand.”

Vilsack says putting more boots on the ground in developing markets will cost money, but producers won’t see changes in the dairy checkoff program.  “This is not about increasing the checkoff.  This is about using the resources that are available from the checkoff in the most efficient and effective way possible.  And, certainly within our own USDEC budget, we are re-prioritizing to be able to put more resources, for example, into that Mexican market which is so important.”

Vilsack says along with cutting ineffective marketing programs, the council will examine revenue streams.  “We also have dues-paying members, one hundred and twenty members or so of our organization.  There hasn’t been a dues increase for at least ten years, so there’s a possibility that we would look at our dues structure.  That’s a small percentage of our budget but an important part of it.  And, we also want to make a case to the U.S. Government to fund and maybe even increase the MAP funding, the foreign market development funding (and) the market assistance programs.”

Vilsack spoke with Brownfield during World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin.


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