NDM/SMP exports hit record high in May

U.S. exporters shipped 60,358 tons of nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder (NDM/SMP) in May, up 8% from last year and the most ever in a single month, according to a monthly summary from the U.S. dairy Export Council (USDEC). The big difference was nearly 25,000 tons of sales to Mexico, up 58% from a year ago, and also a one-month high on sales to our largest single-country customer.

In the first five months of the year, U.S. NDM/SMP exports were more than 240,000 tons, up 10% from last year’s pace

U.S. exporters also continue to expand shipments of whole milk powder (+65% in May) and milk protein concentrate (+97%). Major customers for WMP were Vietnam and Algeria. Top buyers for MPC were New Zealand and Morocco.

Heavy sales of milk powder offset declining exports of cheese, butterfat and whey protein concentrate.

Cheese exports in May were 31,779 tons, the lowest figure of the year (on a daily-average basis). For the second straight month, South Korea was our largest customer; in April and May, exports to South Korea were up 49% vs. a year ago, while exports to Mexico were down 20%.

Butterfat exports in May were just 5,401 tons, down 9% from last year, and the lowest since April 2013. Shipments to the Middle East/North Africa region were down 18%. May volumes were about half the pace established in the first quarter 2014, reflecting the growing disparity between higher U.S. prices and lower world prices.

Total whey exports were 44,297 tons in May, down 7% from a year ago. Whey protein concentrate exports were down 18% from last year’s lofty levels, while sweet whey was up 2% vs. last May and whey protein isolate was up 29%. China remained the major customer for U.S. whey products, but May imports were down 3% from last year. Over the last year, WPI exports were 39% higher than the prior year.

Other highlights of the report include:

• In total, U.S. suppliers shipped 187,375 tons of milk powders, cheese, butterfat, whey and lactose in May, up 3% from last year. Total value of all exports was $677.6 million, up 9%.

• U.S. exports (on a total milk solids basis) were equivalent to 16.8% of U.S. milk solids production in May. Imports were equivalent to just 2.6% of production, matching the lowest percentage since May 2011.


CWT assists with 4.3 million lbs. of cheese, WMP export sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) accepted 17 requests for export assistance to sell 3.646 million lbs. (1,654 metric tons) of cheddar cheese, and 661,387 lbs. (300 metric tons) of whole milk powder to customers in Asia, Europe, North Africa, Central and South America and Oceania.

The bids were accepted from CWT members Dairy Farmers of America, Michigan Milk Producers Association, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and Tillamook County Creamery Association. The products will be delivered July 2014 through January 2015.

Year-to-date, CWT has assisted member cooperatives in selling 78.024 million lbs. of cheese, 48.767 million lbs. of butter and 16.067 million lbs. of whole milk powder to 41 countries on six continents. These sales are the equivalent of 1.965 billion lbs. of milk on a milkfat basis.


NMPF endorses U.S.-Canadian draft for trade regionalization if countries confronted with serious animal disease outbreak

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) endorsed a draft plan for allowing the U.S. and Canada to cope with an outbreak of a serious foreign animal contagion, such as foot-and-mouth disease, suggesting the plan is a template for similar plans involving other important dairy export markets.

The plan, drafted by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, calls for the United States and Canada to recognize each other’s efforts to control an outbreak, while regionalizing how the outbreak is handled, so as to allow continued trade with disease-free areas of the country.

In comments filed with APHIS, NMPF noted that Canada is the second-largest export market for U.S. dairy products, and that an outbreak of a highly contagious animal disease such as FMD in either country could be catastrophic for the U.S. dairy industry.

The plan, officially termed a framework, calls for the two countries to cooperate in establishing quarantine areas that would be the focus of disease eradication efforts in an outbreak. Trade could then resume or continue in areas considered free of disease. 

The framework will facilitate continued trade between disease-free areas, while safeguarding animal health in both countries. USDA to use the same approach as a template for other countries that are important U.S. dairy export markets, including Mexico, China, Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea and Japan, NMPF said. This is in contrast to another USDA proposal earlier this year, which NMPF determined had significant flaws, because it will allow imports of fresh beef from certain parts of Brazil which have a history of foot and mouth disease. 

Over the last decade, U.S. dairy exports have increased more than 20% annually and the United States is now a global leader in exports for products including cheese, skim milk powder, whey products and lactose.


IDFA welcomes Senate confirmation of Vetter as new ag chief at USTR

The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) commendws members of the U.S. Senate for confirming Darci Vetter to replace Islam Siddiqui as chief agricultural negotiator in the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Vetter previously served as the deputy under secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The position of chief agricultural negotiator, which holds the rank of ambassador, was created by Congress in 1997 to ensure that U.S. agriculture is fully represented in trade negotiations at the highest level. During her Senate confirmation hearing in May, Vetter mentioned specific areas where USTR and Congress need to work together, including market access for U.S. dairy in Japan and Canada, as well as geographical indications (GIs).

GIs provide producers in a specific region the exclusive right to use a particular product name, and IDFA supports legitimate GIs. However, the European Union has been working to claw back the use of common food names, and protecting the ability of U.S. cheese makers to use common cheese names in the U.S. and foreign markets is a top priority for IDFA.

IDFA also supports comprehensive trade agreements that include significant market access gains for U.S. dairy and lessen or eliminate trade barriers.