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US Dairy Sector Overview at the ICOS National Conference

The President and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation, Jim Mulhern delivered an overview of the US Dairy Sector at the ICOS National Conference in UCC on 9th January.

US per capita consumption is growing, with total sales up on average 1.1% per annum. However, dairy cow productivity is growing faster than total domestic consumption at 1.5% per annum. Export growth since 2004 has allowed total US dairy cow numbers to grow to current levels at 9.3 million head, with yield per cow also up considerably over the same period.

Most of the US milk supply is now coming from large herds, greater than 1,000 cows. In recent years, the western states have delivered the largest increase in milk supply. However, growth in states such as California will be constrained in the future due to competition for land. The current growth in US milk supply is coming from mid-western states including Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Kansas and South Dakota.

Mr Mulhern outlined public and private mechanisms available to US dairy farmers to reduce price and income volatility including the US Margin Protection Programme. The US dairy sector has also developed a sustainability initiative known as “The National Dairy Farm” with three core components related to animal care, antibiotic stewardship and environmental stewardship.

By Eamonn Farrell

Agri Food Policy Executive