For the second straight year, the United States shipped more than 13% of its annual U.S. milk solids overseas—a continued sign that U.S. dairy suppliers are building a more major role in meeting global dairy needs, the U.S. Dairy Export Council says.
"U.S. dairy exports are now a $5-billion business," says Tom Suber, president U.S. Dairy Export Council. "Export value hit a record $5.21 billion in 2012 and the nation's dairy suppliers sent 3.295 billion lbs. of total milk solids into export channels last year."
With more dairy products moving overseas, U.S. dairy producers have been able to grow in the last decade while minimizing the accumulation of burdensome inventories in the domestic market, notes Paul Rovey, chairman of USDEC.
"Since 2003, U.S. milk production has increased 18% and more than half (56%) of the incremental milk volume has been sold overseas," Rovey says.
The United States posted broad gains across geographies and product lines. Among the 2012 highlights, cheese, whey protein concentrate and nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder all set volume records.
U.S. cheese exports cleared 260,000 tons (573 million lbs.), nearly twice the volume shipped just four years earlier in 2008, with Mexico, Japan, South Korea and China fueling gains. NDM/SMP shipments grew 2% to 444,727 tons (980 million lbs.), driven by strong demand from across Latin America and the Middle East. WPC toppled the previous volume record, jumping 27% to 233,362 tons (514 million lbs.), powered by Southeast Asia, Mexico and South Korea.