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U.S. dairy exports on the rise

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC)

A dairy advocate relays good news to dairy farmers who are getting milked dry: Dairy exports have reached record levels.

Tom Vilsack, president and CEO of the U.S. Dairy Export Council, spoke to reporters at the Minnesota Milk Conference earlier this week. Vilsack says dairy sales are increasing, due to strong exports.

“We’ve seen sales increase dairy wide, globally two-point-three percent. A large part of it is because of exports,” Vilsack said. “We continue to produce more milk, so we need to keep those sales up. We’ve seen an increase, about 16.5-percent, of milk solids being exported. That’s up from about 15.5-percent, which was the record set it 2014. It’s obviously added value to the bottom line, but still a lot more work to be done.”

Vilsack recognizes the hurt and challenges faced throughout the countryside. However, he remains optimistic about the opportunities that lie ahead.

“There are opportunities close to home. We want to continue to focus on our number one market, Mexico. I think we can continue to see increased consumption in the Mexican market,” Vilsack said. “Chances within the USMCA to potentially see increased market opportunities in Canada. Not a great deal, but better than we’ve had.”

Vilsack also discusses other opportunities for exports globally.

“Middle East and North Africa: You might not think of this as a potential, but one of the places we’re going pretty well. Terrific opportunity for us to see an increase in market opportunities,” Vilsack said. “Southeast Asia: Opportunities for dairy ingredients. Japan and Korea: Cheese sales, dairy ingredients doing well. All tolled up, again, at a record level. We want to see that continue and build on that.”