2023 Annual Report - Washington Dairy

2023 Annual Report

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In 2023, the team at Dairy Farmers of Washington (DFW) advanced dairy through four new strategic pillars: reputation, sustainability, innovation, and exports. These priorities, embraced across Checkoff, underscore our commitment to driving positive impact locally, nationally, and globally. Informed by insights from our farmer leaders and grounded in market analysis, our initiatives are designed to yield tangible benefits for our dairy community.

This report highlights how we’ve championed dairy as a nutrient powerhouse integral to a sustainable food system with our key audiences. It also demonstrates how we’ve partnered with our processors and brands to deploy targeted marketing campaigns and launch consumer-centric product innovations to bolster domestic and international sales.

At DFW, we’re fueled by a dynamic team dedicated to delivering results that matter to our farmers. I’m proud of the initiatives executed on your behalf in 2023, setting the stage for dairy’s success in 2024 and beyond. Thank you for entrusting us as your voice in the marketplace.

— Steve Seppi, Executive Director
[email protected]

2023 was a challenging year for our dairy farmers; milk prices regressed from where they were the year prior, due in part to a challenging export market, while input costs remained elevated. Even with significant headwinds, our farmers demonstrated their perseverance and commitment to their herds, their people, and the communities they serve. And I believe there is a bright future ahead with domestic consumption being strong over the past year and exports trending upward.

In this report, you will see the work your staff does to drive innovation and build a thriving market for our products. We have a strong board in place that is committed to maximizing your checkoff investment — if you have any questions or feedback, please reach out to me or any of our board members.

— Lana Smaciarz, Board Chair
[email protected]


2023 Strategic Priorities


We reimagined dairy within the ethos of sustainable nutrition — beneficial for consumers, communities, and the planet. Our mission: build trust, especially among younger consumers who typically skew more toward neutral or negative perceptions of dairy, by showcasing dairy’s role in a responsible lifestyle. Through digital channels, we worked to change perceptions, presenting dairy as both a vital part of our diets and in sustainability. This approach resonated widely and amplified our message, as reflected in our over 225 million total impressions.

Annual Report Highlights: digital media, experiential, partnerships, media, sustainable nutrition resources, schools & university connections


Sustainability is an issue that is increasingly top of mind for consumers and we are focused on solidifying dairy’s position as an environmental solution. We recognize the critical role dairy plays in our communities and the environment, and we are committed to ensuring its long-term viability. From innovative research projects exploring the environmental benefits of dairy manure management to building a sustainability collaborative in our own backyard, we’re actively shaping the future of sustainable dairy farming. Our farm tours, participation in thought leadership, and educational webinars further underscore our dedication to fostering sustainable practices and sharing knowledge within our industry.

Annual Report Highlights: research, communication, partnerships, thought leadership engagement 


Our Innovation strategy is the cornerstone of our approach to driving incremental sales and fostering commercialization. Through strategic partnerships, category promotions, and targeted marketing initiatives across key sales channels, we aim to amplify the impact of dairy in the marketplace. In 2023 alone, these concerted efforts contributed to significant dairy sales growth, totaling over 11.6 million lbs impacted.

Annual Report Highlights: channel sales, partnerships


Our focus on exports aims to establish a sustainable dairy export business by driving sales of value-added dairy products in key international markets. In 2023, we leveraged industry funding to support a Canada cheese program and drove sales opportunities for value-added fluid exports through our international partnership with Darigold and DMI.

Annual Report Highlights: industry collaboration, partnerships

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