Dairy cow alone in pasture looking at cameraWhile most of ag has faced unprecedented challenges with supply chain uncertainty since the onset of COVID-19, dairy demand has not waivered, domestically or abroad. In fact, dairy exports are forecasted set new records before the end of 2021. Exports remain strong with estimates that a day’s worth of U.S. milk production (approximately $6.5 billion worth) each week goes to 133 countries. China remains the top buyer and is the largest driver to the near record-breaking dairy exports so far in 2021. What’s sustained the heightened demand? The U.S. Dairy Export Council says it is partly as a result of the Chinese government making it a point during the pandemic to communicate the health benefits of dairy.

Despite the healthy exports, dairy has not stayed immune to supply chain struggles. Shipments from the West Coast remain a major hurdle and hikes up the costs for exporters, ultimately impacting dairy farmers. However, a bright spot is the ¼ decline in shipping container costs seen last month, the largest decline in two years. Read more on dairy exports here.