(July 20, 2012) While the domestic economy moves along at a lackluster pace, U.S. dairy exports continue to grow in global importance, adding much-needed support to dairy farmer prices. DairyProfit Weekly’s Dave Natzke reported on Friday’s DairyLine broadcast:
USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service released U.S. dairy export estimates for May, reporting monthly records in both volume and value. Boosted by continued strong sales of cheese, milk powder and whey products, the total dairy product export value topped $500 million (dollars) for the first time ever, and pushing fiscal year total exports to more than $3.5 billion (dollars), well ahead of the record pace set last year.
On a total solids basis (which includes butterfat, protein, lactose and minerals), May dairy exports were equivalent to 14.8% of total U.S. production during the month, the highest percentage since October 2010. Exports have been between 12% and 15% of total solids production for 26 straight months.
USDA also said U.S. dairy cattle exports rebounded after a slow spring. More than 5,000 female dairy cattle were exported in May, bringing the year-to-date (Y-T-D) total to nearly 20,600. Russia and Turkey are the leading buyers of U.S. dairy cattle. But, despite the May numbers, 2012 cattle exports trail last year’s record-setting pace by about 28%.
Back home, larger dairy farmers got some good news regarding environmental regulations. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency withdrew a proposed rule that would have required concentrated animal feeding operations, or CAFOs, to provide a long list of information, including longitude/latitude or street address of their farms, to be posted on a website database. Dairy and other livestock organizations feared the public list would make CAFOs an easier target for foreign and domestic terrorist groups.
EPA will now compile information necessary for environmental permits from other federal, state and local programs, without publishing specific locations.