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Taiwan Milling Executives See Opportunity in Visit to the Pacific Northwest
June 27, 2017
From research labs to the field to the grain elevator, each stage of the supply chain contributes to the overall quality and reliability of U.S. wheat. But in the Pacific Northwest, the major link between quality U.S. wheat and the world market is the Columbia Snake River System. When trade teams from overseas visit the United States to learn more about the U.S. wheat market, learning how the river system supports exports is a key part of their experience.

USW welcomed a trade team of four milling executives from Taiwan that spent a lot of time along the river system from June 11 to 18. USW collaborated with the Oregon Wheat Commission (OWC), Washington Grain Commission (WGC) and the Idaho Wheat Commission (IWC) to organize and host this trade team. Funding for this trade team also came from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

“On average, Taiwan is the sixth largest market for U.S. wheat. The millers on this team were interested in exploring additional options for purchasing U.S. wheat,” said Boyuan Chen, USW Country Director in the Taipei Office. “Our schedule focused on the export system and sourcing practices, as well as programs for wheat breeding and quality assurance.”

The team began its trip in Portland, OR, meeting with the USW West Coast Office and OWC for briefings on supply and demand, and crop conditions for hard red winter (HRW), soft white (SW) and hard white (HW) wheat. They continued their overview of the supply chain with tours of multiple port elevators and meetings with the USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) and the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC).

Next, the team traveled to Washington and Idaho where the two state wheat commissions worked together to focus on the team’s interests. This included a visit to the USDA-ARS Western Wheat Quality Laboratory, and participation in a county field day where the team saw wheat breeding and quality improvement programs in the new wheat varieties across the test plots. The team also learned more about the value of the river system and how the 465-mile river highway is an essential lifeline that provides farmers from as far inland as the Midwest access to the global market.

“Trade teams that visit this area of the Pacific Northwest have the unique opportunity to see two land grant universities, many wheat related facilities and the river system all in close proximity,” said Blaine Jacobsen, IWC Executive Director. “This is rich farmland where farmers are utilizing the latest technology to plant and care for the wheat that will move down river and on to family tables across Taiwan and all of Asia.”

Always a highlight for visiting customers, the team also had the opportunity to visit with Washington and Idaho wheat growers.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for wheat growers to rub shoulders with their customers, and it’s a great opportunity for buyers to learn more about the crop and the supply chain in the state of Idaho,” said Bill Flory, Idaho wheat farmer and commissioner.

“Being able to ask questions and discuss wheat quality at each stage of the supply chain with the people that grow and move the crops increased the confidence in U.S. wheat for these milling executives,” said Chen. “That is a great benefit, because they are considering purchasing a larger variety of U.S. wheat, including club wheat and hard white wheat.”

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 18 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.
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