US dairy exports break records
By: Sydney Sheffield
New data for the United States Commerce Department shows that United States agricultural exports increased 11 percent, or $19.5 billion, from the previous record set in 2021. This is the best recorded year, with international sales of U.S. farm and food products reaching $196 billion.
“This second consecutive year of record-setting agricultural exports, coupled with a record $160.5 billion in net farm income in 2022, demonstrates the success of the Biden-Harris Administration’s efforts to create new and better markets for America’s agricultural producers and businesses,” United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack said.
The top commodities exported by the United States in 2022 were soybeans, corn, beef, dairy, cotton, and tree nuts, which together comprised more than half of U.S. agricultural export value. International sales of many U.S. products, including soybeans, cotton, dairy, beef, ethanol, poultry, soybean meal, distilled spirits, and distillers’ grains, reached record values.
“We’re strengthening relationships with our trading partners and holding those partners accountable for their commitments. We’re making historic investments in infrastructure to strengthen supply chains and prevent market disruptions. We’re knocking down trade barriers that hamper U.S. producers’ access to key markets. And we’re continuing to invest in export market development programs, partnering with industry to bring high-quality, cost-competitive U.S. products to consumers around the world,” Vilsack concluded.
U.S. dairy exports set new volumes, for the third consecutive year, and value records, for the second consecutive year. Export volume on a milk solids equivalent (MSE) basis increased by 5% to 2.4 million metric tons (MT). Export volume in 2022 was equivalent to 18% of U.S. milk produced last year, also an all-time high. For the first time, export value finished the year up 25% to $9.6 billion.
“For the third consecutive year, U.S. dairy farmers have proven how their dedication to innovation and sustainability leadership increasingly have made them the world’s provider of choice for nutritious dairy products,” said National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) President, and CEO Jim Mulhern. “In both value and in volume, U.S. sales are at all-time highs, and in 2022, a record percentage of U.S. milk production was exported overseas. This happened despite the headwinds our exporters battled last year, which included supply chain challenges, a lack of new trade agreements to establish more level playing fields abroad, and other barriers to trade that threatened to upend progress.”
The United States continued to assert itself as a growing player in the international dairy trade. Through 11 months, it had increased its global market share by 2 points to 25% (full-year results are unavailable until the European Union reports December data). The U.S. set annual export records in cheese, whey, and lactose. U.S. cheese shipments were particularly notable, rising 12% to 451,370 metric tons (MT) or nearly 1 billion lbs.
“Let this be a signal to the world: U.S. dairy farmers are, and will be, a growing force for global nutrition, sustainability, and health, as shown by the increasing preference of consumers worldwide for the products they create. We’re excited to see today’s year-end export totals reflect a vision we’ve been pursuing for decades, and we look forward to seeing further progress in the years to come,” said Mulhern.