Industry leaders from around the globe will gather at the gateway to America’s Dairyland when the International Dairy Federation (IDF) World Dairy Summit returns to the U.S. for the first time in 30 years. Held October 16 to 20 in Chicago, Ill., the Summit will attract influential participants from dozens of countries for programming that explores important issues facing the dairy sector. The event will also feature a vibrant tradeshow and offer technical tours to Midwest facilities demonstrating dairy industry innovation.

Showcasing Wisconsin’s leading farming and manufacturing practices along with its unique dairy infrastructure for a global audience is a key strategy for meeting international market and consumer demands. Exports are essential to future-proofing Wisconsin’s dairy industry. The upcoming summit provides a prime opportunity to educate and engage stakeholders in the work of Wisconsin’s world-class dairy scientists, farmers, and producers.

Immersive experiences offer participants a look at how Wisconsin’s multigenerational dairy farmers and processors collaborate to create innovative and nutritious foods, engineer new technology, and strengthen sustainability efforts. Having these influential leaders visit Wisconsin to see how America’s Dairyland operates will help drive a better worldwide understanding of how good dairy is at sustainability and animal care. A two-day tour of Wisconsin will:

  • Highlight state-of-the-art facilities such as the Center for Dairy Research (Madison), leaders in research and outreach education beneficial to the dairy industry supported by dairy farmer checkoff dollars, and ABS Global (DeForest), a world-leading provider of bovine genetics, reproduction services, technologies, and products.
  • Exhibit the latest in livestock and land management with stops at Hinchley Dairy Farm (Cambridge) and Larson Acres (Evansville).
  • Offer a taste of excellence at Klondike Cheese (Monroe) where attendees will sample award-winning varieties and learn about the Wisconsin Master Cheesemaker program.
  • Provide networking opportunities with industry leaders at an evening event at Four Winds Farm (Fitchburg), an agricultural business and event space with a focus on permaculture.

From Wisconsin to the world

Involvement in the IDF World Dairy Summit is directly tied to Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin’s (DFW) broader export initiatives. Ninety percent of the milk Wisconsin produces is made into cheese, and 90% of that cheese is sold outside the state's borders. The value of Wisconsin exports has grown by 78% over the last decade and revenue continues to rise. Currently, 15% of Wisconsin dairy is exported to more than 140 countries, with 5% of that growth occurring over the past two years.

Ninety-five percent of the world’s population lives outside the U.S., and DFW knows increasing awareness of Wisconsin products is key for international markets. Recent efforts connecting cheese companies with export partners have included:

  • Hosting international buyer missions with key buyers to give DFW exposure to 20 new distributors in those regions and opening doors with new retailers.
  • Partnering with state and national agencies to display products from 25 different Wisconsin cheese companies in several international trade shows.
  • Encouraging new cheese producers to export products through a presentation at CheeseCon.
  • Supporting the Consortium for Common Food Names to protect the right to use descriptors such as Asiago and Gruyere in marketing.

By identifying opportunities and connecting Wisconsin cheese companies with export partners and international audiences, we have grown from nine exporting company partners to 30 in 2023. DFW earned another $100,000 grant to further develop exports from the state, which will help achieve new goals for selling more products outside our borders.

Today, Wisconsin ranks No. 1 in specialty cheese exports and No. 5 in dairy exports (cream cheese, cheese, whey products, and milk protein isolates). We will continue working closely with key partners to develop products to meet tomorrow’s growing global demands.

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(c) Hoard's Dairyman Intel 2023

September 25, 2023

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