USW of FacebookUSW on TwitterUSW on YouTube
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities are funded by producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and USDA Forei­gn Agricultural Service cost-share programs. For more information, visit or contact your state wheat commission.

Stakeholders may reprint original articles from Wheat Letter with source attribution, please.

In This Issue:
1. 2018/19 U.S. Wheat Planted Area Expected to Increase Despite Dry Conditions
2. Wheat Organizations Want the United States to Re-join TPP to Prevent Serious Revenue Loss
3. Steel, Aluminum Tariffs Raise the Risk of Retaliation Against U.S. Agriculture
4. U.S. Wheat Trade: A Farmer’s Perspective
5. Applauding the Senate Confirmation of Gregg Doud to be Chief Negotiator at USTR
6. Wheat Industry News

PDF Edition:

1. 2018/19 U.S. Wheat Planted Area Expected to Increase Despite Dry Conditions
By Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann, USW Market Analyst
Total U.S. planted wheat area will rise 500,000 acres (202,000 hectares) in 2018/19 due to an expected increase in spring wheat area (including durum) according to Joanna Hitchner of the USDA World Agricultural Outlook Board. The USDA held its annual Agricultural Outlook Forum on Feb. 22 to 23, where Hitchner presented the 2018/19 Grain and Oilseeds Outlook.

USDA forecasts 2018/19 combined spring wheat and durum planted area at 13.9 million acres (5.63 million hectares). If realized, that would be up 2 percent from 2017/18 and the largest spring and durum planted area since 2015/16. Increased spring wheat and durum planted area is expected to more than offset the lowest U.S. winter wheat planted area since 1909. USDA currently estimates 2018/19 (June to May) wheat acreage at 46.5 million acres (18.8 million hectares), a one percent increase from last year, if realized.

Wheat buyers should note that factors affecting planting decisions can change before seed is sown. Long-term dry conditions in top hard red spring (HRS) and durum producing states of Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota may significantly alter farmers’ plans.

In January, USDA reported U.S. farmers planted 32.6 million acres (13.2 million hectares) of winter wheat last fall, down slightly from 2017/18, but 15 percent below the 5-year average. Increases for soft red winter (SRW) and white wheat offset a decrease in hard red winter (HRW). USDA assessed 2018/19 HRW planted area at 23.1 million acres (9.35 million hectares), down 2 percent from 2017/18 with planted acreage down year over year in nearly every HRW-producing state. However, 2018/19 total SRW planted area of 5.98 million acres (2.42 million hectares) increased 4 percent from last year, and white winter wheat planted area increased to an estimated 3.56 million acres (1.44 million hectares), up 1 percent from the prior year. Winter durum planting in the Southwestern United States was estimated at 74,000 acres (30,000 hectares), down 41 percent from 2017/18 and 51 percent below 2016/17.

Based on trend yields, USDA expects the national average yield to grow to 47.4 bushels per acre, up from 46.3 in 2017/18 due to expected increases in spring and durum wheat yields which were hard hit by last year’s drought. USDA projects the wheat harvested-to-planted ratio will increase to 0.83, up slightly from last year’s 0.82 due to a small decrease in expected abandonment rates. Total U.S. 2018/19 wheat production is forecast to rise by 6 percent year over year to 50.0 million metric tons (MMT).

In addition to lower planted area for winter wheat, crop conditions for many HRW-producing states are deteriorating due to sustained drought conditions. On Feb. 26, USDA rated 12 percent of Kansas winter wheat in good to excellent condition, down from 14 percent at the end of December. Winter wheat condition remained unchanged in Oklahoma with just 4 percent rated good to excellent, but declined in Colorado, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota. SRW conditions improved in Illinois, where 45 percent of the winter wheat crop was rated in good to excellent condition compared to 38 percent last month. USDA will resume weekly U.S. crop progress reports in April.

A decrease in carryover stocks is expected to offset increased production, and the total U.S. wheat supply is expected to fall in 2018/19. USDA forecasts 2018/19 U.S. supplies at 77.5 MMT, down 2 percent from 2017/18, if realized, in part because USDA anticipates a slight increase in domestic use, from 30.4 to 30.7 MMT.

Price competition and large supplies in other wheat exporting countries will continue to pressure demand for U.S. wheat. USDA expects U.S. exports to fall to 25.2 MMT, down 3 percent from the forecasted 2017/18 U.S. wheat export level of 25.9 MMT.

To read more from the USDA Outlook Forum or to download presentations, please visit

To see the latest Drought Monitor, please visit

2. Wheat Organizations Want the United States to Re-join TPP to Prevent Serious Revenue Loss

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and 33 state wheat organizations have expressed hope in a letter to U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer that the Administration will prioritize joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) to save the valuable Japanese market for U.S. wheat farmers.

Eleven countries are set to sign a new TPP agreement without the United States on March 8, 2018, in Santiago, Chile. After the legislatures of at least six countries approve the new agreement, it enters into force.

“Once TPP is ratified, U.S. wheat exports to Japan will be at serious risk,” the letter stated. “TPP will reduce the effective tariffs that Japanese flour millers pay for imported Australian and Canadian wheat over nine years from about $150 to about $85 per ton. Effective tariffs on imported U.S. wheat would remain at about $150 per ton. Loss in market share and its negative effect on farmgate prices are likely to come much sooner, as Japanese millers reformulate their product mix to avoid the need to purchase artificially expensive U.S. wheat. Lost market share is incredibly difficult to regain.”

The wheat industry organizations noted that Japan has, on average, imported more U.S. wheat than any other country for many years. U.S. wheat market share is typically more than 50 percent of the 6 MMT of wheat Japan imports annually. Sources within the Japanese milling industry however estimate that could quickly fall to less than 25 percent under TPP 11 rules. At the average price Japan has been paying for U.S. wheat the past five years that would represent an annual loss of almost $500 million for farmers, rail and barge operators and grain handlers.

“Unfortunately, the agreement among the TPP members will have a devastating impact in rural communities across the wheat belts of the Great Plains and the Northwest, though it will hurt the income of every American farmer growing wheat,” the letter continued. “The President has promised to negotiate great new deals. American agriculture now counts on that promise and American wheat farmers – facing a calamity they would be hard pressed to overcome – now depend on it.”

The organizations said they welcomed the President’s recent openness to joining TPP if better terms for the United States can be negotiated. They also suggested that Ambassador Lighthizer could include acceding to the TPP as an objective in the Administration’s report to Congress that will outline its request to extend Trade Promotion Authority.

The letter and a complete list of organizations signing
the letter are posted here.

3. Steel, Aluminum Tariffs Raise the Risk of Retaliation Against U.S. Agriculture

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are extremely disappointed in the decision announced March 1 to impose sweeping tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum. We have repeatedly warned that the risks of retaliation and the precedent set by such a policy have serious potential consequences for agriculture. It is dismaying that the voices of farmers and many other industries were ignored in favor of an industry that is already among the most protected in the country.

If the United States is taken to dispute settlement at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for imposing these tariffs, we call on the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to avoid invoking the essential security exception under GATT Article XXI. The recent Department of Defense memorandum made it clear that imported steel and aluminum did not threaten its ability to acquire enough from domestic suppliers to meet its needs. The USTR should not take the extraordinary step of invoking Article XXI to defend what we believe is protectionism.

NAWG’s board of directors recently passed a new resolution urging the Administration to avoid imposing national security-based trade barriers on commonly traded products. NAWG’s newly instated President Jimmy Musick, a wheat farmer from Sentinel, Okla., said “at such an economically hard time for wheat growers, we do not want to see trade barriers brought against us from some of our top customers who are impacted by this decision.”

Wheat farmers battling a market in which China holds almost 50 percent of world ending wheat stocks can sympathize with steel and aluminum workers on the economic effects of Chinese policies leading to global oversupply. However, we hope that our legitimate concerns with this action are heard and taken into consideration in this process.

4. U.S. Wheat Trade: A Farmer’s Perspective
By Gary Baily, Washington Grain Commission Chairman, USW Director and a wheat farmer from St. John, Wash.

As Washington Grain Commissioners, trade has consumed a great deal of our time this past year. Relationships with our international partners are critical to the survival of our trade with countries such as Japan. Most of us have seen the proposed effects on our trade with Japan if the United States stays outside of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): a phased in $65/MT tariff reduction for TPP countries, U.S. market share for wheat falling from 50 percent to about 23 percent, and a reduction of baseline futures prices of $0.50 at a time when prices are already depressed.

I have been raising wheat in Eastern Washington for almost 30 years and have seen wheat fall victim to political whims several times. Looking back, however, I have not been as anxious about the future of our industry since the financial crisis of the 1980s. The divisive nature of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations and the conclusion of the above mentioned TPP trade treaty without the United States cause concern about the long-term heath of our profession. This is especially true for young farmers who may not have the equity or financial backing to weather these storms.

Adding to the current trade environment is President Trump’s announcement that tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are being considered. The effects of those tariffs have yet to be quantified. If enacted, agriculture exports will likely be targeted for retaliation.

It is time for the President to consider the ramifications of his proposed tariffs, and acknowledge the positive contributions that our industry has for trade, and re-engage in TPP.

5. Applauding the Senate Confirmation of Gregg Doud to be Chief Negotiator at USTR

The United States Senate confirmed Gregg Doud to be Chief Agricultural Negotiator in the Office of the United States Trade Representative, March 2, 2018. Trade is a top priority for U.S. wheat farmers and this nomination is welcome news for our growers.

“We believe the confirmation of Gregg Doud will bring a needed agricultural voice to USTR’s political leadership,” stated National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) CEO Chandler Goule. “NAWG congratulates Doud on his appointment and look forward to working with him and his team in the future.”

From 2011 to 2013, Doud was a senior aide to the Senate Agriculture Committee for Senator Pat Roberts and Senator Thad Cochran. There he assisted in drafting what would become the 2014 Farm Bill. For eight years, Doud also served as Chief Economist for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. He is also a former market analyst at U.S. Wheat Associates (USW). Most recently, Doud was President of the Commodity Markets Council.

“We are pleased that Mr. Doud’s confirmation comes at a time when our organizations are actively engaged in discussions at home and with overseas customers about trade policies that directly affect export demand,” said USW Chairman Mike Miller, a wheat farmer from Ritzville, Wash. “We need his experience in the NAFTA renegotiation and to help prevent huge potential export losses under the new Trans-Pacific Partnership that will be signed March 8 without the United States.”

6. Wheat Industry News
  • Quote of the Week: Half of the wheat we grow in Texas is exported. Without strong trade agreements like TPP, we can no longer compete in some of our top markets. Missing out on opportunities like this will drive down prices and put farmers out of business.” — Ben Scholz, Chairman of the Texas Wheat Producers Board and Vice President of the National Association of Wheat Growers.
  • Sincere Condolences to Vince Peterson, USW President, his wife Sandi and their family following the death of his father-in-law, Carl Petersen, Feb. 28, 2018. Vince shared that Carl was four months shy of his 100th birthday and was surrounded by his family, who gave him the greatest joys in life, when he passed away.
  • The National Wheat Foundation Awards Jerry Minore Memorial Scholarships. At the annual Commodity Classic tradeshow, Feb. 28, the National Wheat Foundation (NWF) and BASF awarded academic scholarships to four future agriculture leaders. This year’s winners included students from Washington state, Kansas, North Dakota and Ohio. “This year’s scholarship recipients are helping to carry on Jerry Minore’s dreams, legacy and love for wheat,” said Phil McLain, NWF Chairman and Northern Carolina wheat grower. “We are very proud to honor this year’s winners, and are excited to see what the future has in store for them.”
  • Cereal Science Events Calendar. Prof. Dr. M. Hikmet Boyacýoðlu, associate editor of “Cereal Science,” contributing editor to “World Grain” and a cereal science consultant continues to track industry events. Contact him at to receive the calendar.
  • IGP Institute Grain Purchasing Course. The IGP Institute will host a Grain Purchasing course Apr. 9 to 20, at its conference center in Manhattan, Kan. The course will be split into three parts focusing on Fundamentals of Grain Purchasing; Grain Trading and Hedging; and a field trip to visit an export facility in Portland, Ore., and additional stops in Kansas City, Mo. Participants can choose to attend individual parts or the full course. Learn more and register here.
  • IGP Institute 2018 Flour Milling Courses. The IGP Institute is offering several flour milling courses in both English and Spanish in 2018 at its conference center in Manhattan, Kan. The course skill levels range from introductory to advanced, and cover a variety of topics including the milling principles, U.S. wheat production, mill maintenance, mill management, flowsheet technology and more. Partners in these courses include the Kansas State University Department of Grain Science and Industry, Buhler Inc., and the International Association of Operative Millers. For more information visit

Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
USW prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities based on race, color, religion, national origin, gender, marital or family status, age, disability, political beliefs or sexual orientation. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USW at 202-463-0999 (TDD/TTY - 800-877-8339, or from outside the U.S., 605-331-4923). To file a complaint of discrimination, write to Vice President of Finance, USW, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. USW is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
2008-2013 U.S. Wheat Associates. All Rights Reserved
CCBot/2.0 ( - Is Mobile: Privacy Policy | Non-Discrimination Statementfalse