WASHINGTON: Darigold Revs Up to Sell More Than Half its Production Abroad

Strategy should add workers to the more than 59,000 jobs already supported by the Washington state dairy industry.

Seattle-based Darigold plans a $97 million upgrade to its flagship processing plant to help expand exports that are now sold in 20 global markets.

There’s plenty of uncertainty surrounding the state of America’s trade situation. But Seattle-based Darigold and its CEO Stan Ryan remain undeterred and optimistic about exports.

With 100 years under its belt, one of the largest cooperatives in the Pacific Northwest is heading into its next century with an ambitious plan to sell more than half of its production abroad.

Ryan explained Darigold’s strategy in an article for The Seattle Times, which posted a tweet about it, below.

The plan includes a $97 million upgrade to its flagship processing plant along with new sales offices in Mexico, Singapore and Shanghai.

Thanks to Darigold’s ambition, hundreds of jobs will be created, adding to the more than 59,000 jobs already supported by the Washington state dairy industry’s economic ripple effect.

Even before the Darigold expansion, that translates to $12.6 billion in economic impact for the state, according to Dairy Delivers®, IDFA’s economic impact tool. Led by Darigold, the state of Washington exported more than $208 million in dairy products last year, according to calculations by the U.S. Dairy Export Council and National Milk Producers Federation based on data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Census Bureau.

Click here to get a three-page bundle of Washington dairy’s economic impact. Get your state bundle here.

Click here to get a three-page bundle of Washington dairy’s economic impact. Get your state’s bundle here.
Darigold’s new strategy shows that big ideas abroad can rev up the economic engine at home.

All of these plans remain in the works as Mexico and China continue to implement tariffs on American goods, including cheese.

But Ryan is confident in the wholesome goodness of milk and Darigold’s proximity to growing Asian markets. Last year, Darigold farmer members supplied nearly 9.7 billion pounds of raw milk.

“We simply have kept the faith that world trade is essential for the global food system to work, and that dairy and our location here in the Pacific Northwest … is going to be a natural spot for it,” Ryan told The Seattle Times.

The article also reported just how long Darigold’s exporting ambitions have existed — its first overseas business started in 1957. Today, Darigold sends nearly 40 percent of its production to customers in 20 foreign markets.

This includes milk proteins, whey, cheese and butter. That diversification is important for the varied consumer groups that exist around the world.

“We’re a significant supplier,” Ryan told The Seattle Times. “There’s not a substantial other source. They kind of just go at higher prices.”

That’s why sound trade policy is critical to the dairy industry’s viability.

With robust trade agreements and plenty of export opportunities, cooperatives like Darigold can continue to produce wholesome dairy products, create more jobs and inject more money into the economy.

That’s a win for all, especially if you live in Washington state.

Learn more about dairy’s impact on jobs, taxes and the economy in every state at GotDairyJobs.org.