Last year, the U.S. shipped more than 13 percent of its annual milk solids overseas, a continued sign that U.S. dairy suppliers are building a more major role in meeting the need of a burgeoning global dairy demand.
“U.S. dairy exports are now a $5 billion business,” says Tom Suber, president U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC). “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.” USDEC, primarily funded by the dairy checkoff, leads overseas market development on behalf of the U.S. dairy industry.”
U.S. beef and pork exports also set new value records in 2012, topping highs set in 2011. The USMEF reported in February that pork exports set both volume and value records last year, reaching 2.26 million metric tons – up a fraction from the record set in 2011 – valued at $6.3 billion, a 3.5 percent increase over the prior year’s record.
The value of beef exports for the year rose 2 percent to a record-high $5.51 billion on 12 percent lower volumes (1.3 million metric tons).
“The export markets are a critical profit center for the industry at a time when the industry is challenged by high input costs and, on the beef side, a historically low herd size,” said Philip Seng, USMEF president and CEO. “2012 saw record highs for per-head export values for both pork and beef at a time when those returns were sorely needed by producers.”