The U.S. Dairy Export Council’s board of directors elected Texas dairy farmer Larry Hancock as its new chairman Tuesday. Hancock replaces Paul Rovey, an Arizona farmer who is retiring after serving seven years as chairman and 11 years as vice-chairman of the checkoff-funded USDEC.
While Hancock will assume the position of chairman, Rovey has been given the honorary title of chairman emeritus.
“I am delighted that Larry Hancock is our new chair and confident his background prepares him well to guide this unique partnership between dairy farmers and suppliers,” said USDEC President and CEO Tom Vilsack. “The U.S. dairy industry owes a deep debt of gratitude to Paul Rovey for the steady, uniting role he played during a period of explosive growth for U.S. dairy exports.”
When Rovey was elected USDEC’s vice-chairman in 2001, annual exports were $1.1 billion. As of last year, the value of exports had more than quadrupled, to $5.6 billion, on Rovey’s watch.
From a volume perspective, 2018 exports set a milk-solids equivalent of 15.8% of all milk produced in the United States. That means one out of six milk tankers leaving American dairy farms ended up in products and ingredients sold overseas.
The election of Hancock came at the end of the USDEC Board of Directors and Membership Meeting at the Swissotel in Chicago.
Hancock runs a 4,200-cow dairy farm in Muleshoe, Texas, about 70 miles northwest of Lubbock. It’s a family-owned and managed operation, with Hancock’s wife, Pam, and two of their children.
While running his own farm, Hancock has also served the dairy industry in a variety of leadership roles, including treasurer of Dairy Management Inc., USDEC’s parent organization, and also as a board member of the United Dairy Industry Association.
In addition, Hancock is a board member of Dairy Farmers of America, the country’s largest farmer-owned dairy cooperative, and Dairy Max, a checkoff-funded organization that represents farmers in the south-central and southwestern United States.
About USDEC: The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) 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. See www.usdec.org.