2020 was a challenging year in many ways, but I have never seen this level of collaboration amongst our industry organizations. Our Dairy Farmers of Washington staff and board are dialed in and are working closer than ever before with Darigold and processors across the state, the Dairy Federation, Save Family Farming, Dairy West (Idaho & Utah), Oregon Dairy & Nutrition Council, and DMI. We are getting more bang for our buck from our 15-cent dairy checkoff investment than I’ve seen before due to this increased teamwork and collaboration here in Washington and with those across the nation—all working together toward a common goal. None of us know yet what 2021 has in store, but I’m confident that our local dairy checkoff program is moving in the right direction and delivering value for us as stakeholders by increasing dairy sales and consumer trust. If you haven’t yet met the staff and/or board, I encourage you to get to know them and learn more about the work that is currently being done. Please feel free to call anytime.
Tony Veiga, Board Chair
DFW focused on positioning dairy to deliver on Millennial and Gen Z expectations: nourishment that offers multiple dimensions of wellness, including impact on the planet and animals, and fits into their modern digital lifestyles.
Annual Report Highlights: media and issue management, youth initiatives, and social media
DFW focused on increasing dairy demand and sales through multiple channels including food insecurity, e-commerce and traditional retail partners to execute local programs that help move dairy and build a positive reputation for dairy farmers.
Annual Report Highlights: NW milk revitalization, NW cheese promotion, and addressing food insecurity
This past year was one of transition and innovation for the Dairy Farmers of Washington. As the new Executive Director, I wanted to ensure the organization was moving ahead with clarity and purpose firmly rooted in sound strategy. My main priority was to understand how this organization can be an essential partner to our farmers and industry, and to align our strategy and efforts to fit their needs. As you know, the industry was faced with a number of unforeseen challenges this year. While the pandemic did necessitate flexibility in our work and changes to many of our tactics, our strategy remained wholly focused on building trust and driving sales for dairy.
There is a lot to be optimistic about as we close out 2020 and look forward to 2021. Dairy consumption in the U.S. is the highest it’s been in the last 60 years, and while channels like food service faced setbacks, dairy retail sales in Washington (+12.9%) and U.S. dairy exports (+13.7%) showed growth resulting in dairy sales being up overall versus 2019. Farmers’ essential role in feeding our communities during the pandemic resulted in farming/agriculture topping the Gallup consumer trust poll in 2020 for the first time. Simply put, when faced with crisis, consumers turn to the products and producers they trust, which is a great place to build from.
Our board is engaged and aligned in our direction, our staff has remained locked in and motivated to work on your behalf, and collaboration with our industry partners is stronger than ever, resulting in efficiency with farmer dollars and meaningful results. I couldn’t be more proud of the focus and effort the DFW staff and board have shown over the last year, and I am excited and honored to continue to work on behalf of all dairy farmers in our great state.
Steve Seppi, Executive Director