California looks to milk China’s growing dairy demand - Center for Investigative Reporting
From the Center for Investigative Reporting:
As China’s middle class grows, so does its penchant for dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt. U.S. government data show that Chinese demand for dairy products is growing rapidly. For instance, between 2011 and 2012, imports of skimmed milk powder grew by 49 percent and are expected to increase an additional 18 percent this year.
And although China is trying to build its nascent dairy industry to meet this demand, it relies heavily on imports of high-protein feed. That includes one of California’s most water-intensive crops, alfalfa.
“Exports (of alfalfa) to China are definitely increasing,” said Daniel Putnam, an agronomist at the University of California, Davis and UCANR specialist. “We’ve seen a pretty dramatic rise since 2006, and I think all expectations are that it will probably increase again this year.”