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  • California Dairies, Inc. Earns Tom Camerlo Exporter of the Year Award

    By USDEC September 24, 2015

    Shipping to nearly 50 countries, CDI accounts for about one-third of all U.S. milk powder exports.


    California Dairies, Inc. does not set modest goals. Its corporate vision statement says the co-op’s aim is to become “the leading source of dairy nutrition for a healthy world.”

    In recent years, CDI has made so much progress that Dairy Foods magazine named the company the 2015 Tom Camerlo Exporter of the Year. The U.S. Dairy Export Council sponsors the award, which will be presented to CDI executives on October 15, during the USDEC Annual Board of Directors and Membership Meeting in Chicago.Andrei4-534241-edited

    “This award validates our position as a U.S. exporter in the world markets," said CDI President and Chief Executive Andrei Mikhalevsky. "It also validates the strategic plan we have put in place. It's recognition that our farmers and their co-op are making progress with a forward-looking board."

    Mikhalevsky said export business has become so important to California Dairies "we can’t exist without it." He credited USDEC for ongoing assistance.

    “We have to have an advocate and USDEC is on top of all the issues," said Mikhalevsky. “I think we leverage and use USDEC as much as anyone because we see USDEC is an extraordinarily beneficial asset to move our business forward.”

    CDI2-301571-editedDairy Foods presents the award annually to the U.S. dairy supplier that exemplifies leadership in advancing U.S. dairy exports, demonstrates commitment to export market development and makes exports an integral part of its overall growth strategy.

    "While a long-time export player, California Dairies has a new strategy and focus that is quickly establishing CDI as a go-to supplier for dairy buyers around the world, which by extension is lifting the reputation of the U.S. industry overall," said USDEC President Tom Suber.

    CDI accomplishments include:

    • Shipping to nearly 50 countries
    • Accounting for an estimated 30 percent of U.S. milk powder exports and 10 percent of butter exports this year
    • Investing tens of millions of dollars in processes, equipment and training to develop product specifications that meet the exacting requirements of importers worldwide
    • Building a just-completed evaporator at its Visalia, Calif., facility to produce low-spore NFDM and SMP, in addition to high-heat, heat-stable and low-spore milk powders for UHT applications
    • Expanding its product lines specifically to capture overseas market opportunities, adding anhydrous milkfat in 2012, cream cheese in 2014 and milk protein concentrate and isolate this year
    • Playing a key role in the establishment and success of marketing cooperative DairyAmerica, which handles all of CDI’s overseas milk powder sales
    • Maintaining dedicated capacity strictly for manufacturing export products, ensuring consistent supply for customers who require product year-round
    • Cultivating long-term relationships through regular visits to customer facilities across the globe and hosting overseas visitors at its six California processing sites
    • Committing to sustainability with a comprehensive greenhouse gas and water reduction strategy across its network of six plants

    Dairy Foods will feature an in-depth profile explaining CDI’s exporting success in the magazine's November issue. The award is named for the late Tom Camerlo, a champion of exports who, among other industry leadership positions, served multiple terms as chairman of USDEC’s board of directors.

    Past winners include:

    • 2014 Dairy Farmers of America
    • 2013 Agri-Mark
    • 2012 Glanbia USA
    • 2011 Leprino Foods
    • 2010 United Dairymen of Arizona
    • 2009 Hilmar Cheese Company and Hilmar Ingredients
    • 2008 Schreiber Foods
    • 2007 Darigold
    • 2006 Davisco Foods International

    A Dairy Foods video about 2014 winner Dairy Farmers of America and downloadable profiles of previous winners are on the USDEC Exporter of the Year page

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    The U.S. Dairy Export Council is primarily supported by Dairy Management Inc. through the dairy farmer checkoff that builds on collaborative industry partnerships with processors, trading companies and others to build global demand for U.S. dairy products.  

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