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Lower Dairy Sales Expected in 2009

Exports of dairy products still outpace imports.

Milk producers are facing higher costs and tightening profits, but for several weeks, import numbers have been weakening and export numbers have been strengthening. That has prompted World Agricultural Outlook Board Chairman Gerry Bange to change the forecast for this year as well as next year.

"We have reduced our import forecast for both years and increased our export forecast for both years," Bange says. "Part of this of course relates to the tight supplies worldwide and part of it relates to the weak dollar."

Despite the forecast change, dairy products coming into the U.S. next year are expected to grow by over 7% while exports will likely fall.

"We're looking at 6.7 billion pounds of exports for the 2009 year," Bange says. "Nevertheless, it would be down about 23% from the 8.7 billion pounds we will export in 2008."

Even with the falling sales, the U.S. will still export 2.5 billion pounds more next year than we take in from other nations.

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