Talking Trade with Rebekah Sweeney, Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association

In the latest episode of “Talking Trade,” Rebekah Sweeney of the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Association discusses the “recipe for success” for dairy exports in 2022. 

Sweeney, the group’s senior director of programs and policy, says last year was “an outstanding year” for U.S. dairy with more than $9.6 billion in exports. 

“That represents a 25 percent increase overall, and creates a new record both in terms of volume and value,” she said. “And I always like to say — and I really believe — that dairy processors’ success is built on a firm foundation of their commitment to quality and safety.” 

She also touts their efforts to build business relationships with export markets around the world. Sweeney highlights rising sales to Mexico, as well as other countries in Central America and South America, parts of Asia, Australia, Canada and elsewhere. 

“It’s an unmitigated success story, though perhaps one that could have been even greater absent some global disruptions,” she said, pointing to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, supply shortages and inflation limiting consumers’ purchasing power. 

Sweeney also shares her perspective on economic forecasts for 2023, arguing it’s unrealistic to expect dairy exports to rise another 25 percent this year.