Colorado Farm Show speaker: Development of global markets might help dairy recovery |

Colorado Farm Show speaker: Development of global markets might help dairy recovery

Is globalization good for the dairy industry?

“Absolutely,” Jay Waldvogel said Wednesday morning at a Dairy Day session of the 2011 Colorado Farm Show, which concludes today at facilities in Greeley’s Island Grove Regional Park.

Waldvogel, senior vice president for strategy and international development with the Dairy Farmers of America, was one of seven speakers who covered a variety of topics for the region’s dairy producers filling a meeting room at the Events Center.

The reason globalization is good for the industry, Waldvogel said, is that milk is nature’s perfect food when it comes to nutrition, and is the “single best product for the planet.”

“If you have $1 to spend, you will buy a child a glass of milk,” Waldvogel said in explaining why globalization is good for the dairy industry. Milk consumption is increasing faster in developing countries, such as China and India, than it is in the United States. But it is the United States that has the infrastructure and technology in place to meet that demand, adding people throughout the world are living longer and eating better.

That presents some problems, particularly in the area of childhood obesity, Waldvogel said, but the industry is active in addressing that problem.

China is probably the biggest market for U.S. dairy products. The energizing foods in China, in order, “are beef, pork, dog, chicken and cheese,” Waldvogel said, predicting China’s food service industry will be bigger than that in the U.S. by next year.

Typical pizza consumption in the U.S. will consume 500 pounds of mozzarella cheese in a week; in China it’s 300 pounds a week, he said.

Earlier in the day, Kay Johnson-Smith of the Animal Agriculture Alliance of Washington, D.C., and Allie Devine, vice president and general counsel for the Kansas Livestock Association, discussed the impact animal rights movement has on agriculture and food production.

They were quick to point out that the difference between animal rights and animal welfare is vast – the animal rights movement wants to eliminate animal production for food, claiming animals have the same rights and are equal to humans, while the animal welfare movement is concerned with the proper care and handling of animals, which those in agriculture have no problems with.

Devine said there are law schools across the country that are developing programs to train new attorneys as future leaders in animal law and public policy.

“They want to change policy to assure that the interests of animals are always considered as the animal law field develops,” Devine said. That, she said, opens the door to lawsuits of all kinds. Those programs, she added, equate human suffering with animal suffering.

“Do we want to go so far that we say the root of suffering is the same for animals that it is for humans? I don’t think so,” Devine said.

Johnson-Smith said her organization was founded in 1987 and is designed to connect agriculture to consumers through education and to protect agriculture from undue attacks from animal rights groups, of which there are about 25 that are highly active.

She said those groups comprise about 3 percent of the U.S. population and 1 percent of that 3 percent are very vocal and well-funded, while 97 percent of the population support agriculture “and still want to eat meat, milk and eggs.”