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The State of Dairy 2021: The state of exports: Record volumes

Progressive Dairy Editor Dave Natzke Published on 12 March 2021

The U.S. Dairy Export Council (USDEC) cites three noteworthy achievements in 2020:

  • Export volume (on a milk solids equivalent basis) hit a record high of 2.1 million metric tons (MT).
  •  $6.6 billion, the value of dairy exports was the highest since 2014.

  • At 16%, the percentage of U.S. milk production exported was the highest since the launch of the USDEC’s “Next 5 Percent Plan” in 2017.

Headwinds will challenge U.S. dairy exporters in 2021. Shipping issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic have been intensifying, with heightened port congestion and equipment shortages and moves by ocean carriers to ship empty containers back to Asia at the expense of outbound U.S. agricultural products, including dairy.



The U.S. remains price competitive in all the major export products and even in products it does not usually export, like butter and anhydrous milkfat. Further expanding the U.S. portfolio into milkfat-heavy products beyond cheese remains an untapped opportunity for export growth, according to USDEC.  end mark

Also read: 

Northeast: Proceeding with caution

Southeast: More than a fluid situation

Postcard from North Carolina: Moving toward innovation


I-29 Dairy Corridor: Connectivity and caution

Postcard from Kansas: Optimism is more difficult

Postcard from Ohio: Plenty of uncertainty

Indiana: Updated strategy, leadership

The state of risk management: 2021 DMC enrollment jumps

Midwest: Pillars withstand quake of coronavirus


Southwest: Placing a tier on growth?

California: A family struggle

Idaho: An apprehensive start to 2021

The state of food service: A tough climb ahead

The state of the dairy herd: More cows, fewer heifers

The state of retail sales: Maintaining strength

Dave Natzke
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