U.S. Dairy Farmer Leaders Explore Flagship Collaboration Facility in Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE – Farmer leaders from the U.S. dairy community gained a close-up, all-encompassing view this week of the game-changing U.S. Center for Dairy Excellence (U.S. CDE) – a Singapore-based education hub and meeting space that opened in 2020.

Visionary U.S. dairy farmers and processors invested in the U.S. CDE to serve as a gateway for collaboration between the U.S. dairy industry and Southeast Asia’s food and beverage stakeholders, the culinary sector, health professionals and other partners. Its opening marked the first overseas physical investment by the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC). The investment represents U.S. dairy’s long-term commitment to strengthen in-market relationships in Southeast Asia, the second largest destination for U.S. dairy exports on a volume and value basis.

Delayed for three years due to the global pandemic, the farmers’ initial in-person visit to the U.S. CDE provided a first-hand opportunity to see and experience how the facility incorporates local and cultural innovations using U.S. dairy in the region. Through the Center, the U.S. dairy industry helps educate customers about U.S. dairy ingredients and cheese and inform members about promising export growth opportunities in Southeast Asia.

“The U.S. dairy community is committed to working closely with the Southeast Asia region’s food and beverage sector to meet evolving consumer demands through collaboration,” said Krysta Harden, USDEC President and CEO. “This year, U.S. dairy suppliers are facing some headwinds in Southeast Asia and elsewhere, due in part to inflation and heightened competition. That makes this an opportune time for this mission and aligns perfectly with why we invested in the U.S. CDE in the first place. Even with challenging market conditions, we want to show that we are here for the long-term to work together and inspire innovation success that drives mutual long-term growth.”

The U.S. CDE provides access to U.S. dairy’s world-class product portfolio, sustainability, technology and the latest consumer research to inspire regionally tailored nutrition, culinary and flavor solutions. The farmer delegation engaged in a range of activities, including:

U.S. Dairy Ingredient Product Showcase

The boundless world of Southeast Asia-friendly innovation possibilities with U.S. dairy was on full display at the U.S. CDE’s demonstration kitchen for farmers to see and sample. Farmers were impressed with the wide and inventive array of delicious and nutritious prototypes made with U.S. dairy ingredients and cheeses.

Innovation in Action Training Session

Farmers participated in the customer education and food and beverage product innovation journey at the U.S. CDE, including taking part in a hands-on demonstration to prepare U.S. dairy protein snacks and beverages. Farmers also learned how to measure product taste, texture and other attributes in the sensory evaluation lab while learning about the role of consumer insights in evaluating best-prospect opportunities.

Customer Engagement

The farmer delegation held meetings with U.S. dairy ingredient customers from Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia at the U.S. CDE, who shared how USDEC assisted in their product innovation successes.

Delegation members included these farmers from across the United States who serve as board chairs for USDEC and other dairy leadership organizations: Kate Fogler, Maine; Larry Hancock, Texas; Skip Hardie, New York; Marilyn Hershey, Pennsylvania; Charles Krause, Minnesota; Becky Nyman, California; Alex Peterson, Missouri. The farmers were joined by the CEO of United Dairy Industry of Michigan, Dwyer Williams; Wisconsin-based Managing Editor of Hoard’s Dairyman Corey Geiger and executives of USDEC: President and CEO Krysta Harden and COO Martha Scott Poindexter.

U.S. dairy export value to Southeast Asia rose 22% to a record US$1.68 billion in 2022. In volume terms, the region is the No. 2 U.S. market for nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder and lactose, the No. 4 market for high-value, high-protein whey protein concentrate and a top 10 market for cheese.

“The U.S. is stepping up to meet the dairy needs of Southeast Asia by ensuring high-quality U.S. milk is available for producing delicious, nutritious and functional dairy products and ingredients on a competitive and consistent basis,” said Larry Hancock, a Texas dairy farmer and USDEC’s Chairman of the Board. “U.S. dairy farmers produce more milk per cow and more components per liter of milk – such as butterfat, protein and other skimmed solids – than any other country, thanks to impressive technological innovations, improvements in genetics and feeding optimization.”

The United States held a 28% import market share in Southeast Asia in 2022, up nearly 5 percentage points since 2019.

“The U.S. CDE is an invaluable resource that helps U.S. dairy meet and exceed the high expectations of customers in Southeast Asia,” said Dali Ghazalay, Regional Director of USDEC Southeast Asia. “We are excited to demonstrate to our farmer leaders in person how their investment in the future of food is empowering the region’s food and beverage stakeholders.”


The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) is a non-profit, independent membership organization that represents the global trade interests of U.S. dairy producers, proprietary processors and cooperatives, ingredient suppliers and export traders. Its mission is to enhance U.S. global competitiveness and assist the U.S. industry to increase its global dairy ingredient sales and exports of U.S. dairy products. USDEC accomplishes this through programs in market development that build global demand for U.S. dairy products, resolve market access barriers and advance industry trade policy goals. USDEC is supported by staff across the United States and overseas in Mexico, South America, Asia, Middle East and Europe. The U.S. Dairy Export Council prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, disability, national origin, race, color, religion, creed, gender, sexual orientation, political beliefs, marital status, military status, and arrest or conviction record. www.usdec.org.

About the U.S. Center for Dairy Excellence (U.S. CDE)

Established in Singapore in 2020 by USDEC Singapore, Ltd., the U.S. Center for Dairy Excellence (U.S. CDE) is a first-of-its-kind learning destination, ideation hub and collaboration space for U.S. dairy customers, health professionals and other U.S. dairy partners in Southeast Asia. The 500 sqm facility located in Singapore’s Robertson Quay, contains a demonstration kitchen, sensory evaluation lab, seminar and meeting rooms, and other features elevating USDEC’s in-region resources to deliver Southeast Asia-friendly nutrition, marketing, and innovation solutions. The U.S. CDE represents the U.S. dairy industry’s long-term commitment to Southeast Asia and was established by U.S. dairy farmers and processors with the ambition to make it a gateway connecting U.S. suppliers and Southeast Asian customers. Visitors to the U.S. CDE can explore and experience the essence of U.S. Dairy, gaining locally tailored ideation and innovation sparks for U.S. dairy applications, actionable consumer insights, and business-relevant updates on market trends, trade dynamics, nutrition research, environmental sustainability initiatives and more.