Wednesday, February 17, 2021

U.S. dairy exports set a record

The United States increased dairy exports by 10 per cent last year, even as it faced logistical challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The value was more than $6 billion US.

Sales to some Asian countries such as China, Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia increased by 40 to 50 per cent.

Supply management means Canada cannot participate, a point that former prime minister Stephen Harper made when he spoke recently to a meeting or Dairy Farmers of Canada and said while he was in charge, there was a proposal to buy out quota and end supply management. He also said market analyses indicate the system will collapse if imports increase to 20 per cent of the market, and that’s coming close.

“Two decades ago, U.S. dairy was almost completely a domestic market. But the past 20 years have been transformational,” said Michael Dykes, president and chief executive officer of the International Dairy Foods Association.

During that time, U.S. dairy exports increased  five-fold and the U.S.  became the world’s third-largest dairy product exporter. Now, we export approximately 15 per cent of U.S. milk production, said Dykes.

Canadian farmers should be able to compete with similar climates, genetics and feeds. It might also be possible to simply copy U.S. dairy policy so our farmers and processors would be on a level playing field.

But continuing as is will lead to disaster, especially with Ontario's draconian restrictions on buying quota to expand dairy farms to a more sustainable size.