Mexico Becomes Billion–Dollar Dairy Export Market

US - Mexico became the first billion-dollar US dairy export market in 2011, the culmination of more than 15 years of broad-based market development efforts, according to US Dairy Export Council.
calendar icon 15 March 2012
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Shipments topped $1.17 billion last year, up 41 per cent from 2010 levels, according to trade data from the US Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Mexico is the largest overseas market for US milk powder, cheese and ice cream, providing a vital outlet for more than three per cent of the US milk supply.

“It was apparent early on that Mexico would be our most important export market,” says Les Hardesty, a dairy producer from Greeley, Colorado, chairman of the US Dairy Export Council (USDEC) and a board member of Dairy Management Inc., which is the primary funder of USDEC.

“But we needed to invest in a series of programmes that, over time, would enable US suppliers to fully capitalise on the opportunity. USDEC’s integrated activities in marketing, technical assistance and trade policy advocacy have helped to ensure dairymen have markets for growing US production.”

In the mid-1990s, US dairy exports to Mexico were valued at about $150 million per year, and US share of dairy imports was about 20 per cent.

Most of those sales were subsidised by the US government. Now US suppliers sell that much every six weeks, and US import share tops 60 per cent. And of course, all of today’s transactions are commercial sales.

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