Since 2014, the European Union has been the world’s dominant supplier for skim milk powder (SMP).
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Bowl of full cream powdered milk

“However, this year, U.S. exports of SMP are expected to surpass EU shipments,” wrote USDA economists in the Dairy: World Markets and Trade. “This trend is likely to persist into next year as U.S. milk production is expected to continue to grow,” continued the market analysts in the December 2021 publication.

This growth has taken place despite the many logistical challenges — largely shipping — posed by the pandemic. “SMP shipments through October have already reached 689,000 tons, accounting for nearly one-third of the $6.4 billion of dairy exports already shipped,” shared the economists with USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

“For the year, SMP exports are forecast to reach a record 887,000 tons — up almost 10% — over 2020,” predicted the economists. “For 2022, growth is anticipated to moderate, with exports set to grow by 3% to reach 917,000 tons.”

Major growth

In 2015, the U.S. shipped about 30% of the world’s skim milk powder. That total is forecast to reach 41% in 2022, suggested USDA economists.

Exports of other dairy products also showed greater strength this year. Cheese shipments are expected to grow by 16% to reach 412,000 tons. U.S. butter shipments have been strong. Price has certainly helped that product, as Oceania butter has been running about $2.65 per pound and EU prices have been even higher. Given that market scenario, U.S. butter exports are expected to more than double from last year to reach 60,000 tons.

As U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration seeks to revive its ambitious social spending and climate plan in Congress, environmental groups and the farm industry are at odds over proposed subsidies aimed at offsetting agriculture’s substantial contribution to global warming.

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