US dairy exports kept afloat by subsidies

Published 9 December 15

A voluntary programme known as Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has provided a much needed boost to US dairy exports. The programme uses contributions from its members (dairy farmers and cooperatives) to offer purchase grants, enabling US dairy exports to compete on world markets during times of volatility. For instance, by the end of November, US butter prices were about $6,400/tonne whereas European butter prices are close to $3,200/tonne, according to the US department of agriculture.

Approximately 92% of butter exports have benefited from the subsidies for the year so far. CWT has also generated continued interest in exports of WMP and cheese, providing incentives for 45% and 37% of international sales for these products, respectively. Overall, this means that the programme has helped to export more than 51,000 tonnes of dairy products this year.