September 10, 2008
Dairy exports soared 59 percent on-year in the first half of 2008, thanks to increased global growth in the middle-class, weak dollar and a rise in demand for dairy products.
The growing middle-class worldwide is looking for higher-end food products, according to Jen Pino-Gallagher, economic development consultant for the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture.
Canada is Wisconsin's largest market and it has experienced a growth as the US dollar is currently weaker than the Canadian dollar, said Pino-Gallagher.
Mexico is the second largest export market, mainly due to the reopening of borders for sales of dairy cattle in March 2008. The borders were closed in 2003 when mad cow disease was discovered in Washington State, said Pino-Gallagher.
With the reopening of the borders, Pino-Gallagher said, exports of dairy cattle have increased sharply.
Japan, China and South Korea have also boosted Wisconsin's dairy exports.
"Japan has increased everything from specialty cheese products to butter," Pino-Gallagher said. "In China, the growing middle class is what's pushing the importance of process food products and ingredients. Same with Korea: They are looking for more convenient food at a greater variety."
Wisconsin is the second largest dairy state, behind California but ahead of New York and Idaho.