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USDA: 2012-13 Forecast for U.S. Ag Exports “Unmatched” in U.S. History

August 30, 2012
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U.S. agriculture is now poised for three consecutive years of record exports. Dairy exports are part of that success.

USDA’s forecast for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 shows a level of U.S. agricultural exports unmatched in our nation’s history, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said today.

“Today’s export forecast marks indication of an historic achievement for America's farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses,” Vilsack said. “Even with tough odds due to extreme weather, U.S. agriculture is now poised for three consecutive years of record exports, smashing all previous records and putting America’s agricultural sector on pace to achieve President Obama’s goal under the National Export Initiative of doubling exports by the end of 2014. These exports will support more than 1 million jobs in communities across the country.”

Exports of U.S. food and agricultural products are expected to reach $143.5 billion in fiscal 2013, well above the record set in 2011, Vilsack added. At the same time, the forecast for fiscal 2012 is revised upward to a near-record $136.5 billion. Since 2009, U.S. agricultural exports have made gains of 50%.

Dairy exports are part of that success.

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) reported earlier this month that in 2012’s second quarter, U.S. exports of dry ingredients (milk powder, whey, lactose), cheese and butterfat were 443,988 tons, up 13% from the previous year. That was according to trade data released Aug. 9 by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Volumes of milk powder, cheese, butterfat and dry whey were lower in June after a very strong performance in May. Total dairy export value in June was $437 million, up 4% from June 2011.

Whey exports reached a record-high in June, led by very strong shipments of whole milk powder (up 18% vs. May daily average), USDEC also reported. This offset lower shipments of dry whey (down 10% vs. May). China remains the major customer for U.S. whey products, with second quarter purchases up 16% vs. the prior year. In addition, exports to Southeast Asia were up 12%.

Although U.S. cheese exports were lighter in June, with volumes down 13% from May, they were still above year-ago levels, USDEC added. In the second quarter, shipments to Mexico were up 67% vs. the prior year, while South Korea (+26%) and Japan (+45%) also posted strong gains.

Read more of Vilsack’s comments here.

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