This week, members of Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) endorsed a larger investment in the farmer-funded self-help program, voting to enhance the membership requirement from 2 cents per hundredweight to 4 cents per hundredweight, effective July 1, 2013, and running through Dec. 31, 2015.

The additional investment will cover the large increase in CWT member requests for export assistance in 2013, driven by increased demand in world dairy markets for U.S. American-type cheeses, butter, whole milk powder, and anhydrous milkfat.

“Because of increased activity in 2013, the members decided to enhance CWT’s revenue base in order to continue to successfully compete in world markets this year, and into the future,” said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), which manages CWT.

“As it starts its 11th the year of operation, CWT remains the best self-help tool for the nation’s dairy producers. Through today’s decision, the members of CWT are recognizing how important CWT remains in help our farmers build access to the fastest-growing markets for their milk, which are overseas,” said Kozak.

Since the start of 2011, the CWT Export Assistance program has helped member cooperatives   sell 257.7 million pounds of American-type cheeses and 111.5 million pounds of butter to 39 countries on six continents.

“With the export market growing at a rate five to eight times faster than the U.S. market, the vote by CWT’s member cooperatives today will ensure the U.S. is a consistent and competitive supplier of dairy products in the world’s growing dairy markets,” said Kozak.