Governor Ducey Requests Export Assistance For Arizona’s Dairy Farmers

News Release

April 1, 2020

PHOENIX⁠ — Governor Doug Ducey today made a request to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue to assist Arizona’s dairy farmers by finding solutions to restart the international export of Arizona dairy products to Mexico. 

Last week the Mexican Ministry of Health announced it would cease administrative operations, effectively halting the export of dairy products across the border from Arizona to Mexico.

This closure has hit Arizona’s dairy farmers hard, a situation that will grow worse without reform to the permitting process or other actionable solutions between the United States and Mexican governments.

“Many governments, including the State of Arizona, are being flexible and innovative during this health crisis to allow essential functions to continue,” Governor Ducey said in the letter. “We are hopeful that a temporary alternative to import permits for dairy products could be established in Mexico for businesses that have existing business relationships. I respectfully request your assistance in working with the Mexican government to ensure that this flow of dairy products from Arizona producers to Mexican consumers can continue.”

“Arizona has a long history in the dairy industry,” said Keith Murfield, CEO of United Dairymen of Arizona. "Our cooperative members have been hit especially hard by the COVID-19 crisis. Domestically, with hotels, restaurants, and schools closing or reducing hours, dairy product retail sales have significantly diminished. Additionally, Mexican exports contribute to over 100 million dollars in sales each year, and the inability to move products across the border is catastrophic for our farmers. I thank Governor Ducey for his support of Arizona’s dairy farmers and all Arizona citizens during this unprecedented public health emergency.”

According to the United Dairymen of Arizona, in 2019, the Arizona’s dairy industry had a $7.7 billion total economic impact on the state. And last year, Arizona’s dairy exports to Mexico totaled over $150 million.

View a PDF of the letter to HHS HERE.

Read the full letter below.

*** 

April 1, 2020

 

The Honorable Michael R. Pompeo 

Secretary

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street, N.W.

Washington, DC 20250

 

The Honorable Sonny Perdue   

Secretary                            

U.S. Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Avenue, S.W.

Washington, DC 20250 

 

Dear Secretary Pompeo and Secretary Perdue,

Thank you for all that you are doing to aid our nation in fighting COVID-19. Arizona is all in when it comes to tackling this issue for the sake of public health, and we have seen from your actions that the federal government is as well.

As we work overtime to slow the spread of this virus, we are working to blunt the economic impacts in addition to the health impacts. I am seeking your assistance to reduce one such economic impact on the dairy industry, by helping to remove barriers to important dairy exports from Arizona to Mexico.

The dairy industry in Arizona is a crucial part of our local food supply, our export market, and Arizona’s agricultural sector. Unfortunately, the overseas markets for exported milk products have fallen dramatically recently, but the impacts were, until recently, tempered by a strong import market in Mexico. Last week the Mexican Ministry of Health announced that it would cease administrative operations from March 26th through April 19th. Without their implementation of a waiver process for import permits or other special accommodations, this has led to an effective halt of dairy products across the border to Mexico. Many governments, including the State of Arizona, are being flexible and innovative during this health crisis to allow essential functions to continue. We are hopeful that a temporary alternative to import permits for dairy products could be established in Mexico for businesses that have existing business relationships. I respectfully request your assistance in working with the Mexican government to ensure that this flow of dairy products from Arizona producers to Mexican consumers can continue.

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

 

Douglas A. Ducey

Governor

State of Arizona