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  • This expert tells the positive story of U.S. dairy at global policy forums

    By USDEC Staff June 29, 2023

    Nick Gardner is one of USDEC's "experts on exports." For National Dairy Month, he explains the passion that fuels his work. 

    Nick Gardner’s passion is to tell the positive story of U.S. dairy at global policy forums where the industry would not have a voice otherwise.

    The U.S. Dairy Export Council's Senior Vice President of Sustainability and Multilateral Affairs (SAMA) engages with policy forums worldwide, such as the UN World Health Organization in Geneva, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which holds the annual climate COP. 

    For Gardner, telling a positive story is about not letting the narrative be dominated by U.S. dairy competitors and anti-dairy idealogues.

    "There is no greater passion for me," said Gardner, "than being able to represent U.S. dairy producers, processors, co-ops and exporters by showing up, by telling the U.S. dairy story, by sharing all of the incredible work that everyone throughout the U.S. dairy value chain is doing to reduce the environmental impact of U.S. dairy production -- while continuing to be that supplier of choice for the world."  

    Gardner is a USDEC expert on exports, delivering value in far-flung places for the entire U.S. dairy industry. In a series of articles and videos for National Dairy Month, USDEC experts like Gardner have been sharing what they do and why they do it with such passion.  

    What does success look like for Gardner?  

    Among other things, it is ensuring international policies are science-based, reflecting U.S. dairy priorities, so U.S. dairy exports can compete on a level playing field.

    "Too often, the conversation has been dominated by our competitors, by anti-dairy activists," said Gardner. "If USDEC isn't at these policy forums, the global anti-dairy activists will tell our story, which will not end well for U.S. dairy exports." 

    SAMA is one of the newest departments at USDEC, formed in 2021. It includes Janice Giddens, an expert in sustainable nutrition; Kelly Sheridan, an expert in environmental affairs and Maria Martinez, manager of the Sustainability and Multilateral Affairs department. 

    "It was created," Gardner said, "because we recognized that many of the trade barriers, export challenges and non-tariff measures U.S. dairy exporters were facing around the world were coming from a common source.  

    "That source was the policy dialogues and discussions that were being convened by United Nations organizations like the World Health Organization or the Food and Agriculture Organization or out of international standard-setting bodies like the Codex Alimentarius Commission or the World Organisation for Animal Health.  

    "We felt that SAMA was the way USDEC could be proactive and engage in those policy dialogues before they created barriers for U.S. dairy exports. We could substantiate and defend the critical role that U.S. dairy plays in sustainably nourishing a hungry world." 

    Gardner's effectiveness was recognized last year when he was awarded the International Dairy Federation's 2022 Prize of Excellence, which honors speed, worldwide visibility, impact, focus and transparency.  

    In addition, Gardner and USDEC's Shawna Morris were chosen to be co-chairs of the October 16-19, 2023, International Dairy Federation's World Dairy Summit in Chicago. It will be the first time in 30 years that the United States will host the world's largest dairy conference. 

    "Telling the U.S. dairy story isn't just about going to faraway destinations to engage with people who have never seen a U.S. dairy farm," said Gardner. "It's also about convening influential people. It's about bringing the world to the United States to show we are serious about our environmental commitments, that we really do have the best technology, the best farms, are incredibly diverse as an industry and are committed to meeting our climate objectives." 

    With Gardner and his SAMA team, the United States dairy industry is in a proactive position to positively tell the U.S. dairy story and meet anti-dairy critics and competitors head-on in influential global forums.  

    "This is," he said, "a key moment for us to seize the opportunity." 

    To celebrate National Dairy Month, the U.S. Dairy Export Council is highlighting a few of its "experts on exports" to showcase how they serve the U.S. dairy industry with skill and passion. Also see:

    Angélique Hollister: This expert from France tells the world about U.S. cheeses

    Angelique Thumbnail_00088-1-1

    Martha Scott Poindexter: 
    This USDEC expert wants to keep families on dairy farms generation after generation

    Martha Scott_00093

    Shawna Morris: Opportunity beckons this USDEC expert at the World Dairy Summit in Chicago

    Shawna Thumbnail_00038Shawna Thumbnail_00038

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    The U.S. Dairy Export Council fosters collaborative industry partnerships with processors, trading companies and others to enhance global demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients. USDEC is primarily supported by Dairy Management Inc. through the dairy farmer checkoff. How to republish this post.  

    Sustainability Experts on Dairy Exports
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