U.S. dairy exports grow in 2007

by Stephanie Bloyd
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NEW YORK — A strong international market helped U.S. dairy exports grow by 24% in 2007, which accounted for 11% of total U.S. dairy production, according to a Rabobank report released today titled "U.S. Dairy Ag Focus."

Approximately 1.4 million tonnes, valued at $2.9 billion, were exported in 2007, a 59% increase over 2006.

The three largest destinations for U.S. dairy exports in 2007 were Mexico, Southeast Asia and Canada, which were about 60% of the export market.

"If production growth continues to exceed that of domestic consumption, as is forecast for 2008, exports are going to become increasingly important to the ongoing profitability of the U.S. dairy sector," said Deborah Perkins, managing director for Rabobank food and agribusiness research and advisory.

One reason cited for the increase in U.S. dairy exports was a surplus of milk. For the past three years, milk production grew more than 2% annually, while demand rose less than 1.5%. In 2008, production is forecast to increase again by at least 2%, due in part to additional cows and increased production per cow.

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