MERIDIAN, Idaho — U.S. dairy exports grew 14 percent in 2017 to $5.48 billion, which is good news for Idaho’s economy and farm families throughout the Gem State.
Idaho is the fourth-largest producer of milk in the U.S., and dairy is the state’s number one agricultural sector. In 2017, the state’s 490 dairies — all of which are family owned —produced 14.6 billion pounds of milk. Only California and Wisconsin consistently surpass Idaho in milk production, with New York and the Gem State often swapping third and fourth place.
Dairy West CEO Karianne Fallow said that while Idaho only gets a small piece of the national dairy export pie — 6.9 percent — she pointed out that has grown from about 5 percent in 2014 and contributes significantly to the state’s bottom line. In 2016 Idaho’s $336 million in dairy exports generated more than $735 million in economic activity in the state. Dairy exports also created 4,185 Idaho jobs in 2015, the most recent year for which data is available.
“Idaho’s dairy farmers not only feed families here in Idaho, they help feed the world,” Fallow said. “As Idaho looks to grow demand for our dairy foods, exports will undoubtedly play an increasingly important role.”
Daragh Maccabee, CEO of Idaho Milk Products in Jerome, concurs.
“The 2017 export numbers are very encouraging,” Maccabee said. “However, continued focus on growing exports across the full dairy portfolio is a critical factor in underpinning long-term, sustainable growth for processors and producers alike. The industry needs to support positive trade relationships with key partner countries.
“The U.S. dairy industry, in places like Idaho in particular, has a great opportunity to supply an increasing proportion of the growing global demand for dairy products. In Idaho, the dairy community understands the importance of moving product beyond its borders. Supported by common-sense trade policy, we can continue to see the immense benefits of dairy exports for our state and the U.S. as a whole.”
The recent uptick in U.S. dairy exports is the largest in three years, according to the U.S. Dairy Export Council blog, which also reported exporters enjoyed gains across most major markets. Mexico remained the number one partner, with 2017 sales of $1.3 billion (+8 percent). Other notable increases in value came from China (+49 percent), Japan (+41 percent), Oceania (+50 percent), South Korea (+21 percent), and the Middle East/North Africa region (+21 percent).
Nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder and whey exports posted new record highs in 2017, while cheese shipments increased 19 percent. These three categories make up more than two-thirds of U.S. dairy exports. Butterfat and milk protein concentrate exports also grew in 2017, rising
14 percent and 7 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, lactose and whole milk powder exports declined fractionally, and fluid milk/cream exports were down 10 percent.
Visit the USDEC blog for more details.
About Dairy West
Dairy West is a USDA-qualified program based in Boise, Idaho, that manages the marketing and promotion work on behalf of dairy farm families. A noteworthy evolution in the nationwide checkoff system, Dairy West works side-by-side with the Idaho Dairy Products Commission and the Dairy Council of Utah to help ensure the prosperous future of dairy farming in the west through nutrition education, consumer outreach, global marketing efforts, and product innovation. Visit DairyWest.comfor more information.
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