GDP Bulletin October / November 2020

FAO Director General Keynotes GDP’s 14th Annual Meeting 

Nearly 250 dairy sector executives from around the world attended Global Dairy Platform’s (GDP) 2020 Annual Meeting on Thursday, Sept. 24. The virtual meeting, held twice in order to accommodate a variety of time zones, was themed “Dairy’s Role in a Resilient and Sustainable Food System.”

The first keynote speaker was Mr. QU Dongyu, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), who spoke about dairy’s importance in a sustainable food system and how the sector can contribute toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).  “The dairy sector plays a critical role in sustainable food systems and can contribute directly and indirectly to all the SDG’s,” he said. “Milk and milk products are an essential component of nutritious, healthy and diverse diets and are key to the livelihoods of millions of farmers.”

The second keynote presenter was Dr. Martin Frick, Deputy of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for the UN Food Systems Summit 2021, who encouraged the global dairy sector to get involved in the Food System Summit. He noted options such as participating in country-level Food Systems Dialogues as well as nominating candidates for the Champions Network, a group of well-connected leaders who care about food systems and can help drive society engagement.

Other speakers included:

  • Mr. Rick Smith, GDP Chair and President and CEO of Dairy Farmers of America
  • Dr. Margrethe Jonkman, GDP Deputy Chair, Corporate Director Research and Development for Royal Friesland Campina
  • Mr. Donald Moore, GDP Executive Director
  • Mr. Kevin Burkum, GDP Communications Director
  • Mr. Brian Lindsay, GDP Sector Lead for Sustainability
  • Mr. Ernesto Reyes, GDP Sector Lead for Dairy Development
  • Dr. Mitch Kanter, GDP Technical Director
  • Dr. Greg Miller, GDP Sector Lead for Nutrition Security
  • Mr. Jay Waldvogel, GDP Board Member and Senior Vice President of Strategy & International Development for Dairy Farmers of America

For a video recording of the meeting:

GDP Study Shows Improved Cattle Health Reduces GHG’s

GDP, in partnership with the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases and the Dairy Sustainability Framework, completed a research project that found improved cattle health reduces greenhouse gas emissions.

For the report:

GDP Webinars Educate Hundreds on Dairy’s Role in Sustainable Food Systems

In light of the upcoming UN Food Systems Summit in 2021, GDP has conducted a series of webinars on the importance and value of dairy in the future of food.

On October 13, a webinar entitled, “The Future of Sustainable Food Systems: Where Does Livestock Fit In?” featured four expert speakers, including:

  • Mr. Hayden Montgomery, Special Representative for the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases
  • Mr. Lindsay, GDP Sector Lead for Sustainability and Secretariat of the Dairy Sustainability Framework
  • Dr. Sylvia Chungchunlam, Massey University in New Zealand
  • Dr. Paul Moughan, Massey University in New Zealand

For a video recording of the meeting:

On August 26, GDP, in collaboration with the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), conducted a webinar for the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

The webinar, entitled “Dairy’s Role in a Responsible and Sustainable Food System,” was attended by more than 500 government officials, industry representatives, farmers, academics, civil society and media from IICA member countries. IICA supports agriculture development and rural well-being throughout the Americas, and is made up of 34 member states.

Opening speakers included IICA Director General Manuel Otero; Mr. Rick Smith, Chair of GDP and President and Chief Executive Officer of Dairy Farmers of America; and Mr. Tom Vilsack, USDEC President and CEO and former U.S. Secretary of Agriculture. The webinar featured four presentations, including:

  • Dairy’s Nutrition and Health Benefits: Dr. Mitch Kanter, GDP Technical Director
  • Dairy and Environmental Sustainability: Mr. Lindsay and Dr. Frank Mitloehner, Professor at the University of California, Davis
  • Dairy’s Role in Socio-Economic Development: Mr. Ernesto Reyes, GDP Sector Lead for Development
  • Animal Care: Ms. Emily Yeiser Stepp, NMPF Vice President, Farmers Assuring Responsible Management; Dr. Jamie Jonker, NMPF Vice President, Sustainability and Scientific Affairs


Meeting proceedings are in the process of being compiled into a publication.

For a video recording of the meeting:

Dairy Sector – A Snapshot


1 billion people strong


600 million people living on farms


400 million additional people are supported by the full time jobs that are created in support of dairy farming


240 million people are employed, directly or indirectly, in the dairy sector


133 million dairy farms


37 million farms led by women, 80 million women employed in dairying

GDP Bulletin October / November 2020

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