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August 13, 2018

First Half 2018 Dairy Exports Break Record

 |  By: Jim Dickrell

U.S. dairy exports hit a record 16.8% of milk solids in the first half of 2018. That beats the previous first half of the year record set in 2014, when 16.4% of milk solid was shipped.


In the first half of 2018, dairy exports totaled $2.904 billion, up 5 percent from the same period in 2017, reports the U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC).


“The question is: Will the next six months continue that trend? There are deep concerns that may not be the case because of the [Mexican and Chinese] tariffs,” says Tom Vilsack, USDEC president and CEO. He made the comment Monday on CNBC’s Squawk Box.


June dairy sales to Mexico were extremely strong. Cheese shipments were up 43% and nonfat dry milk/skim milk powder were up 11%. But these sales were sharply higher in part because Mexican buyers knew tariffs would be imposed in July and pre-bought to avoid paying those higher fees.


Vilsack is still hoping that a quick resolution to North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations with Mexico and Canada. These two nations are the top one and often two customers for U.S. dairy products shipped abroad. A quick resolution to these negotiations would bring “a lot of reassurance,” says Vilsack.