WISCREPORT.COM (10/1/07) - Wisconsin dairy exports reached record levels for the first six months of 2007. The increase was driven by soaring demand in Asia and Latin America.
The dollar value of Wisconsin dairy exports increased from $40 million in 2006 to $76 million in 2007 – an 89 percent increase compared to the same period the year before.
“This is unprecedented growth,” said Rod Nilsestuen, secretary of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. Nilsestuen recently returned from a trade mission to China and Japan led by Governor Jim Doyle. Since taking office, Governor Doyle has devoted much time and effort to growing Wisconsin exports to Asia and Latin America.
“I commend our international trade team for helping Wisconsin agricultural companies increase their export experience,” said Secretary Nilsestuen. “We have positioned ourselves to take advantage of this growing demand.”
The demand is fueled by continued strong economic growth in Asia and Latin America and a growing middle class hungry for higher value food products, including dairy.
The quantity of Wisconsin dairy exports shipped overseas increased from 10 million kilograms, or 22 million pounds in 2006 to 18 million kilograms, or 39.7 million pounds in 2007 – a 77.8 percent increase compared to the same period the year before.
By comparison, the dollar value of U.S. dairy exports overall increased 32 percent during the same period and the quantity of U.S. dairy exports increased 27percent.
Whey, once regarded as a disposal challenge for cheese plants, was the star of Wisconsin’s 2007 dairy exports and China the star importer. Whey, a high-protein by-product of cheese making, is a sought-after ingredient for numerous processed foods, from baby formula to cake mix
Wisconsin whey exports grew from $13 million dollars in the first six months of 2006 to $37 million in the first six months of 2007 - a 170 percent increase. China’s imports of whey from Wisconsin increased from $2.7 million in 2006 to $10.8 million in 2007 – a 285 percent increase compared to the same period the year before.
Japan’s imports of Wisconsin whey increased from $1 million in the first six months of 2006 to $4 million in the first six months of 2007 – a 304 percent increase.
Wisconsin cheese and curd exports grew from $22 million in 2006 to $33 million in 2007 – a 49 percent increase compared to the same period the year before.
Japan has begun to import Wisconsin cheese, increasing imports from $3.9 million in 2005 to $10 million in 2007 - a 39 percent increase compared to the same six-month period. Secretary Nilsestuen led a gourmet food mission to Tokyo last month increasing exposure for Wisconsin specialty food companies.
Agricultural exports help the state and nation’s trade balance, enable Wisconsin farmers and food and agriculture businesses to grow, and create jobs for Wisconsin citizens.
Wisconsin agricultural exports overall are anticipated to grow 26 percent in 2007 to an estimated $1.6 billion. Agricultural exports account for about 21 percent of Wisconsin farm income.