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USDA Expects Dairy Export Growth to Continue

Dec 08, 2016

The Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (ERS) published in November its “Growth of U.S. Dairy Exports” report, which showed rapid expansion in exports since 2004. The 59-page report explains why U.S. dairy emerged as powerful exporter, includes a profile of current dairy export conditions and assesses future export prospects.

Past Growth

Prior to 2006, the United States was a net importer of dairy products with few exports in comparison to its high level of milk production. According to the report, four market conditions led to rapid growth for U.S. dairy exports from 2004 to 2014, positioning the United States as the third largest dairy exporter in the world. They are:

  • improved price competitiveness of U.S. dairy products
  • greater market access
  • reductions in U.S. and European Union support measures
  • growing world demand

Current Assessment

The report includes profiles on principal dairy markets and competitors in the United States, as well as market conditions for key products, including dry milk powders, whey products and cheese. According to the research, continued reduction in tariffs and trade barriers in countries like Canada and Japan would benefit most U.S. dairy products, but especially cheese, which tends to experience stronger demand among consumers with higher incomes.

Future Prospects

USDA expects future growth for the industry, but it’s contingent on the continuation of current trends, such as expansion into new markets, milk production growth and strong international demand. The report attributes the 2015 dip in U.S. dairy exports to slower growth in global demand for dairy products, a Russian ban on dairy imports from several countries, the strong U.S. dollar and the discontinuation of milk supply quotas in the EU. New trade agreements also may play an important role in the future evolution of U.S. dairy trade, the report concludes.

The full report can be found here. 

For more information, contact Beth Hughes, IDFA director of international affairs, at

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