In order to maximize the effectiveness of Cooperative Working Together’s Export Assistance program, the committee managing CWT has modified the rules governing the program to spur additional foreign sales of U.S.-made dairy products.

Through CWT’s Export Assistance program, exports occur as overseas buyers are found for the products, and as CWT’s members bid to be compensated for selling cheese and butter to those importers.

In the most significant change to the Export Program since its inception in January 2004, CWT will offer bonuses for the export of Colby, Monterey Jack, Gouda, Swiss, Mozzarella, Low-Moisture Mozzarella, Part-Skim Mozzarella, and Low-Moisture, Part-Skim Mozzarella cheeses. Previously, the only cheese product CWT would help export is cheddar. In the past 23 months, CWT has helped export more than 9.5 million pounds of cheddar cheese.

In addition, CWT will offer export bonuses on Butteroil and Anhydrous Milkfat in the butter category. Previously, only butter was allowed, and none has been exported by CWT’s program to date. Product specifications for both cheese and butter will now be required, including fat, solids and moisture levels.

Also, packaging size restrictions previously in place have been lifted, meaning that retail-type packaging is now allowed for products eligible for export.

Another major change to the CWT Export Assistance program rules is that CWT members may now sell to exporters for resale in export markets, as long as the CWT member is owner of the dairy product when the bid is submitted to CWT.

CWT is also eliminating the destination restrictions that placed Caribbean and South American nations off-limits. Now, only exports to Mexico are ineligible for the program. CWT is also changing its requirement that products be exported within 70 days to a 180-day requirement.

"We have budgeted significant resources the past two years for our Export program, but have not fully captured opportunities in the world market for CWT to become a major player," said Jerry Kozak, President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, which manages CWT. "This series of changes in the program will make it more flexible, more reliable, and more capable as we move into 2006."