Wash. dairy industry finds niche in dairy exports

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Washington state is the nation’s second-largest exporter of dairy products after California.

According to a report by the Tri-City Herald, Washington dairy farmers have seen a 35 percent increase in the value of their dairy exports since 2010. As a result, foreign markets are now piquing the interest of many in the state’s dairy industry.

"The new growth in dairy consumption is occurring in emerging economies where dairy production cannot grow due to climate or infrastructure issues," Dermot Carey, senior vice president of ingredients at dairy processor Darigold, told the Herald.

The Sunnyside Darigold plant made up 33 percent of the 300 million pounds of milk the company exported in 2012, which is processed into cheese, dry whey powder and whey protein. Last year, 17 percent of cheese and 72 percent of dry whey powder was sold overseas, mainly to southeastern Asian countries.

The appetite for dairy is expanding among consumers in these countries, but while these countries are attempting to grow their dairy industry, they turn to U.S. dairy products to fill in the gap. Read, “Mid-Columbia dairy farmers seeing a bovine bonanza.”

The dairy industry in countries such as China have been plagued by a history of safety-related dairy scandals, including in 2008 involving melamine-tainted milk, which killed six infants and poisoned 300,000 others. However, Chinese consumers are slowly regaining a taste for dairy and often turn to dairy imported from overseas to ensure quality. Read more here.



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