New USDA report shows Trans-Pacific Partnership would create growth for dairy industry

A new report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of the Chief Economist shows continued growth of the U.S. dairy sector is largely contingent on trade and that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could create an additional $150 to $300 million in annual U.S. dairy exports.

Free trade agreements have contributed to the growth in U.S. dairy exports and helped to address tariff and nontariff barriers that disadvantage U.S. products in overseas markets. U.S. dairy exports to free trade agreement partners grew from $690 million in the year prior to each agreement’s entry into force to $2.8 billion in 2015, driven by lower trade barriers and increased U.S. competitiveness.

USDA announces plans to purchase surplus cheese

The USDA is offering to purchase $20 million of cheddar cheese to reduce a private cheese surplus that has reached record levels, while assisting food banks and other food assistance recipients. A solicitation will be issued soon, and cheese deliveries to food banks and other food assistance recipients are expected to occur beginning in March 2017.

While USDA projects dairy prices to increase throughout the rest of the year, many factors including low world market prices, increased milk supplies and inventories, and slower demand have contributed to a sluggish marketplace for dairy producers and caused dairy revenues to drop 35 percent over the past two years. Section 32 of the Agriculture Act of 1935 authorizes USDA to purchase surplus food to benefit food banks and families in need through its nutrition assistance programs.