The U.S. Has A Giant Cheese Surplus And Unfortunately, This Is A Bad Thing

Image courtesy of Andersedin

In many cases, having too much cheese is the kind of problem that can be solved by pointing me in the direction of that dairy and letting nature take its course. But the surplus cheese and butter situation the U.S. now finds itself in won’t be sorted out so easily.

Right now, we’re sitting on the largest cheese stockpile the country has seen in 30 years, Bloomberg reports, which means our export business is not booming.

We can blame our neighbors over yonder in Europe: the European Union’s dairy export business has been climbing so far this year and last — this, despite big spender Russia putting the kibosh on buying cheese from outside the country (and, ultimately, destroying tons of it by committing fromagicide).

There’s too much milk, cheap prices, and a weak euro right now, which means the EU has been going gangbusters selling cheese in Asia and the Middle East. Meanwhile, U.S. exports have fallen — no one wants our cheese, and everyone wants what Europe is selling.

And by everyone, that means, well, everyone: European cheese is so cheap, even the U.S. is buying — and digging itself a deeper hole as those products pile up in refrigerators. The dairy glut is compounded by the fact that American dairy production is at record levels this year as well, Bloomberg notes.

As a result, cheese inventories at the end of March were the highest for that period since 1984, according to USDA statistics. More than half of the surplus is American cheese, with Swiss accounting for 2% and the rest falling into a mysterious category the government calls “other.”

“It’s been difficult for them to export, given the strong dollar, and they’re sucking in imports,” a global dairy market strategist explained to Bloomberg. “Where the U.S. has lost out on business, Europe has gained.”

This isn’t all that great for some on the other side of the pond, however: European dairy farmers have been warning that these bargain prices could put them out of business.

If you take anything away from this, let it be that we need to eat more cheese. Immediately. Especially if it’s going to be on sale.

The U.S. Is Sitting on a Mountain of Cheese [Bloomberg]