Statement from Michael Dykes, D.V.M., President & CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA), on 2019 U.S. Dairy Exports

WASHINGTON —“Despite significant disruptions in trade throughout 2019, U.S. dairy exports surged to $5.93 billion last year—a level unseen since the high-water mark of 2014, proving that American dairy continues to be the bright spot among an otherwise sluggish agricultural export market.

“This growth is a testament to America’s dairy industry, which continues to innovate, build new customer bases around the world, and deliver a high-quality product known for consistency, safety, and deliciousness. Two decades ago, U.S. dairy was almost completely a domestic market. But the past 20 years have been transformational. During that time, U.S. dairy exports increased 5X, and the United States became the world’s third-largest dairy product exporter. Now, more than two-thirds of U.S. milk production growth goes to exports.

“With this good news in hand, our task now is to grow markets for the future. In five years, we need to be exporting 20-25 percent of our overall production to consumers everywhere—consumers who, by the way, love American dairy products.

“Achieving export growth in dairy requires rules based, market-oriented trade deals. Deals with Canada, Mexico, Japan, and China are just the beginning. Our competitors—like the EU—are snapping up trade agreements around the world. We need to act with urgency. Therefore, IDFA will continue to advocate, on behalf of the dairy industry to the White House, Congress, and our trading partners to end retaliatory tariffs, restore our reputation for reliability, and level the playing field for our dairy companies and producers.

“With more than 95 percent of potential customers living outside the United States, expanding access to international markets is essential for the future America’s dairy industry. We cannot achieve this growth alone—we need the Administration’s support and the support of our elected officials to continue growth in U.S. dairy exports.” 

Additional Background on USDA’s Export Data Release

USDA today released U.S. agricultural export data for December 2019, completing the full picture for exports in 2019. In total, dairy exports were $5,930,850,462, up 8% from 2018. Here are the top five markets and products:

Top 5 markets (value):

Mexico: $1,545,490,296 – up 11% from 2018

Canada: $666,285,371 – up 4% from 2018

China: $373,586,256 – down 25% from 2018

S. Korea: $332,157,767 – up 14% from 2018

Japan: $282,649,972 – up 5% from 2018

Top 5 products (value):

Milk concentrated (powders): $1,795,072,208 – up 20% from 2018

Cheese and curd:  $1,545,478,160 – up 6% from 2018

Whey – unchanged from 2018

Milk not concentrated (fluid, cream, etc.): $122,219,346 – up 14% from 2018

Buttermilk: $102,738,196 – up 17% from 2018