This week, Department Head Bruce Golden and I traveled to Lake Tahoe for the 2013 California Creamery Operators Association Annual Meeting.
Between sessions, we had the opportunity to speak with several key players in the California dairy industry about our new MPS program. The response was overwhelmingly positive. Several officials from California’s most successful dairy processing companies (and best employers!) offered their support in the form of student sponsorships, internships, and program guidance.
Dr. Golden and I also enjoyed presentations related to milk pricing, industry regulation, and market trends. U.S. Congressman David Valadao discussed the future of the Farm Bill. California Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross reviewed progress on the ongoing state-level efforts to ensure a a durable, stable dairy industry.
One presentation that resonated with us was delivered by Tom Suber, president of the U.S. Dairy Export Council. Mr. Suber shared compelling data that revealed a sustained and growing gap between world dairy supply and demand. Due to increasing consumption of dairy products in Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East, demand is expected to exceed supply for years to come.
This translates into market opportunity for dairy producers and processors. Relatively low domestic production costs uniquely position the U.S. dairy industry to capitalize on that opportunity.
Already U.S. dairy processors are tapping world demand for their products. Dairy exports are growing at double-digit rates to countries as diverse as South Korea, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
For Cal Poly MPS students, this translates into strong employment prospects well into the future. In order to meet world demand for dairy products, dairy processors are expected to continue to expand capacity and construct new processing facilities. Each new facility requires a workforce capable of running it. Cal Poly MPS grads will be equipped with a unique set of skills that makes them competitive for these new jobs created.
Our industry partners tell us that finding qualified people to manage their facilities is among their greatest challenges. This, in a nutshell, is why Cal Poly’s MPS program exists. We are in the business of training the next generation of dairy plant managers and supervisors. With the help of our industry partners, we will ensure that the Cal Poly MPS grad has the skills industry needs to be competitive in the global marketplace.
What an exciting time to be in the dairy industry!
Tom Johnson, Program Manager
Master of Professional Studies in Dairy Products Technology