Cheese wedges.
February 26, 2019

Loss of Generic Cheese Names Could Cost U.S. Dairy Farmers Billions

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

A new study by Informa Agribusiness Consulting suggests that the loss of the use of generic cheese names could cost U.S. farmers $9.5 to $20.2 billion over the first three years.


The loss of the use of these names, technically known as geographic indications (GI), is currently being negotiated by the European Union with a number of countries. The new study, commissioned by the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the Consortium for Common Food Names, finds farm gate milk prices could fall by 97¢ to $2.14/cwt in just the first three years, leading to the $9.5 to $20.2 billion in revenue losses.


Over 10 years, the cumulative revenue losses could exceed $70 billion dollars. The loss in the U.S. dairy herd size would range from 460,000 to 740,000 cows. U.S. imports of GI-labeled cheeses are likely to increase by 13%.


“The European Union has repeatedly targeted the U.S. dairy industry by undermining our ability to freely use generic cheese names in foreign markets,” says Tom Vilsack, USDEC chairman and CEO. “Failing to confront the European’s aggression will have a serious impact on the United States’ ability to continue to expand exports, negating the important progress dairy has made towards securing The Next 5 Percent.”


The Next 5 Percent is an industry-wide initiative to increase U.S. dairy export volume from its current level of about 15% of the U.S. milk supply to 20%. The effort is focused both on expanding already existing markets and opening new markets for U.S. dairy products.


You can view the entire 71-page study here.