It was a good first quarter for Wisconsin agricultural exports. The Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) reports sales of $700 million worth of ag products to more than 100 countries. “That’s a 16% increase over the same period in 2011.” Dairy product exports totaled $64 million for the quarter, up 23 percent from the same quarter last year. DATCP Secretary Ben Brancel says the whey market is expanding plus: “Our cheese markets are opening up, we have people who are aggregating different varieties and styles of cheeses so when they move it into a marketplace there is a wider variety of products available.
Another growth area is ethanol; the Badger State exported $75 million worth of ethanol in the quarter, Brancel made the announcement at ACE Ethanol in Stanley which sold 60 percent of its production in the quarter to Canada.
Brancel is confident that there are plenty of opportunities for more export business in the future. “We have to continue to identify markets and work with those markets to develop those products.” He notes work being done with Brazil, Columbia, Vietnam and other countries to expand the state’s international business. While traditional products like dairy will continue to be the foundation of Wisconsin’s sales, Brancel sees opportunities for other products including dried distillers grains and whey products.
Brancel has assembled an International Trade Team at DATCP charged with helping Wisconsin businesses interested in the export market. The department is hosting educational seminars for those interested in exporting in July, details are forthcoming from DATCP.