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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 the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” The activities of USW are made possible by producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and through cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org or contact your state wheat commission. Original articles from Wheat Letter may be reprinted without permission; source attribution is requested. Click here to subscribe or unsubscribe to Wheat Letter.

In This Issue:
1. USW Insists on Uninterrupted Grain Inspections
2. Trends Affecting Farmers — and Wheat Buyers
3. Winter Wheat Conference Underway
4. Trade Promotion Authority Would Help Open Global Wheat Trade
5. Wheat Industry News


Online Edition: Wheat Letter – January 29, 2015 (http://bit.ly/1A25cYd)

PDF Edition: (See Attached) (See attached file: Wheat Letter - January 29, 2015.pdf)

USW World Supply & Demand Report: http://www.uswheat.org/supplyDemand


1. USW Insists on Uninterrupted Grain Inspections

Official U.A. export grain inspection procedures are well documented and uniform. Export elevators often receive an inspection report on each truck, rail car or barge delivered to their facility. The Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) inspects wheat again at vessel loading as an independent, third party. Its sub-lot inspection system assures buyers that the quality loaded matches the quality stated in the contract.

Last year, unfortunately, circumstances related to a labor dispute disrupted official grain inspection services at an export elevator in the Pacific Northwest. Citing the “extremely troubling precedent” being set, 22 national, regional and state agricultural producer, commodity and agribusiness organizations, including U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), urged USDA to take immediate action to restore official grain inspection and weighing services at the Port of Vancouver, WA.

That effort and pressure from several other sources helped end the dispute and restore official inspection and weighing operations. However, wheat farmers, including those serving on USW’s board of directors, want the government to provide assurance against the potential for similar problems in the future. At its Oct. 30, 2014, meeting in New Mexico, the USW board endorsed the following resolution concerning the interruption in service:

WHEREAS the U.S. Department of Agriculture is mandated under the U.S. Grain Standards Act to provide official inspection and weighing services for exports of U.S. grains and oilseeds.

THEREFORE be it resolved that U.S. Wheat Associates urges in the strongest terms that FGIS take whatever actions are necessary to immediately restore Official grain inspection and weighing service wherever and whenever it is disrupted, either by immediately replacing absent inspectors with FGIS Official personnel or with inspectors from available qualified providers, including other designated or delegated Official Agencies.

Last week, USW President Alan Tracy shared that resolution in a letter to Larry Mitchell, Administrator of USDA’s Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration and FGIS.

“U.S. wheat producers fully support the important mission of USDA/FGIS and believe that the service provided is paramount to keeping wheat competitive in the international market now and in the future,” Tracy said. “We insist that uninterrupted service be delivered in a timely manner on demand by the grain industry.”

The U.S. wheat industry will continue to prove it is the world’s most reliable choice for wheat supplies and will be aggressive in its efforts to ensure that our market remains transparent and open.


2. Trends Affecting Farmers — and Wheat Buyers

AgWeb, a respected and widely read U.S. website, last week published a story that contemplated trends that might have the biggest effect on agriculture in 2015 and beyond*. Dwight Koops, president of a Kansas-based agricultural supply company, identified how these trends might affect U.S. farmers. However, these trends also have implications for grain buyers and end-users around the world.

Technology is being inserted into the base model of almost everything required to put a crop in the ground” and to harvest that crop, Koops said. In this case, he referred to a trend based in digital technology that helps farmers dramatically improve productivity, map their fields, more precisely apply fertilizer and crop protection products, seed crops at variable rates and use less irrigation to maximize yield potential.

By learning more about the adaptation of precision technology in U.S. agriculture, anyone who buys, mills or processes wheat will appreciate the advantages it brings. Koops also noted a trend toward new, biological solutions in weed, insect and plant disease control. Sustainability, defined in this way, is an increasingly influential value among consumer around the world. Not only are U.S. wheat farmers producing more wheat, they are doing so in ways that are more sustainable than ever before. Technological progress even offers the potential for continued reductions in inputs and water use.

The immense amount of information farmers are generating — known now as “Big Data” — is another of Koops’ trends. For the farmer, maintaining privacy and finding ways to put that data to work in the field is the immediate need. He said this would be important not only as a way to continue improving productivity, but also to comply with another trend: increasing farm production regulations.

New and increasingly more complex regulations are pressing farmers to track the origin of all commodities and products grown for consumption,” Koops said. “The technology and paper trail that this will require will vastly change how and what gets accomplished on a typical farm operation in the future.”

As a result, the supply chain might be in a better position to handle identity-preserved grains while downstream grain users might be better prepared to track supplies back to a source. Again, the benefit would be reduced risk, but the cost of regulatory compliance to producers and consumers might create a heavy burden as well.

Finally, Koops said increasing demand for food is a trend that “trumps all the rest. If the population of the world does hit nine billion people by 2050,” he said, “the demand to supply enough food, fiber and energy to supply the world will be a daunting task.”

*“5 Agriculture Trends Worth Watching,” By Ben Potter, “AgWeb,” Jan. 22, 2014


3. Winter Wheat Conference Underway

Leaders of the wheat industry are in Washington, DC, this week for the annual Winter Wheat Conference. This event brings together staff and farmer directors of USW, NAWG and the National Wheat Foundation, as well as staff from state wheat commissions, state wheat associations, and other U.S. wheat stakeholders.

On Wednesday, Jan. 28, NAWG presented its 2014 Wheat Leader of the Year Award to Robert “Bob” Gibbs, the U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 7th Congressional district.

"It is an honor to be recognized … today,” Rep. Gibbs said. “As a farmer, I appreciate all the work this organization does for the agriculture community. Our nation's farmers provide high quality, safe and affordable food … and as a member of the House Agriculture Committee I am committed to ensuring they have the resources they need.” NAWG gives this award each year to one member of Congress, regardless of party affiliation, whose philosophy and records demonstrate their commitment to the wellbeing of America’s wheat farmers.

Committee meetings continue through Jan. 30, followed by individual board meetings Jan. 31. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.


4. Trade Promotion Authority Would Help Open Global Wheat Trade

A blustery winter storm greeted trade representatives meeting in New York this week for talks on the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). At the same time, shifting political winds in the United States may provide calmer conditions for TPP and other pending trade negotiations.

There is a growing bipartisan call today for TPA, which would allow for Congressional consideration of FTAs without amendment. The Obama Administration has also stepped up its push for TPA with the President calling on both parties to grant him TPA in his recent State of the Union address. TPA would be a signal to trading partners that Congress supports U.S. trade negotiators and would not back away from key points of negotiation.

As the most planted and traded agricultural commodity in the world, wheat is an integral part of the global market. The free flow of wheat between countries contributes to jobs and food security — reason enough to remove trade barriers that increase costs or hinder the competitive positions of producers, sellers, buyers and consumers. In addition to TPP, the United States is also pursuing free trade with the European Union through the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. These two agreements would lower barriers to U.S. wheat exports in several key markets.

“U.S. wheat farmers believe they can compete in the world market on quality and value,” said USW Vice President of Policy Shannon Schlecht. “In some cases, other wheat suppliers have greater market access because of competing FTAs. Granting TPA would be a major step forward to level the trade playing field and eventually provide more access to U.S. wheat and other agricultural products.”

Wheat farmer leaders on the USW and National Association of Wheat Growers boards passed a joint resolution in November 2013 that supported “passage of trade promotion authority as an essential tool for negotiating market opening free trade agreements.” That resolution remains strong today and wheat farmers hope that the winds of change continue to blow toward a more open global trade environment.


5. Wheat Industry News
  • The Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program (OSGMP) welcomes Ellen Gilliland as project manager. The OSGMP works to improve wheat production, wheat qualities and to strengthen markets for wheat in Ohio as well as wheat export markets.
  • Biotech Crop Benefits. A study published in Science China showed that rice with traits derived from genetic engineering grown in China significantly reduced pesticide use and, as a result, visible and “invisible adverse effects on farmers’ neurological, hematological and electrolyte systems.” Hence, the study concluded that commercialization of GM rice is expected to improve the health of farmers in developing countries, where pesticide application is necessary to mitigate crop loss.” In other news, philanthropist Bill Gates recently defended The Gates Foundation support for use of “GMO” seeds.
  • Colorado Wheat Announces Seed Partnership. Colorado Wheat Research Foundation, Inc. (CWRF) has joined a strategic collaboration aimed at innovation and new crop production tools in wheat. CWRF sells seed varieties developed by the public wheat research program at Colorado State University. CWRF will now also work with Albaugh LLC, a global leader for post-patent crop protection products, and Group Limagrain, a farmer-owned international seed company.
  • AIB International Names Tom Ogle CFO and VP-Finance/IT. Ogle has more than 20 years of experience with multiple financial functions along with information systems responsibilities. He starts work Feb. 2 at the respected baking institute in Manhattan, KS.
  • Why Kansas is the Wheat State. Kansas marks its 154th year of statehood today and to celebrate, Kansas Wheat has shared interesting information about its relationship to its iconic crop. In 1886, for example, Kansas wheat farmers grew wheat on 68,000 acres, reaping only 19 bushels per acre. In 2014, wheat producers harvested 8.8 million acres, earning 38 bushels per acre. Read more at http://bit.ly/kansaswheat.
  • New Online Publication Digs Deep Into Food and Farming. The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science, now at www.FoodNutritionScience.com, provides readers with a greater analysis of issues related to all aspects of the food industry. The new publication is a partnership between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity, a not-for profit organization dedicated to building consumer trust and confidence in the food system. Published twice monthly, the new publication includes reporting about important food system issues from farm to table. It also includes farmer interviews, videos, and corporate sustainability features highlighting how readers’ favorite brands are lowering their environmental footprint.
  • Sad News. Wheat friends learned that Deborah Bollman, long-time assistant vice president of marketing with the Kansas City Board of Trade, passed away Jan. 19. Only 42 when she lost her battle with cancer, Deb had earned respect and many friendships during her 16-year career at KCBT. Our condolences go out to her family and friends. Read more.
  • IGP Distance Milling Course. The International Grains Program in Manhattan, KS, will start its next distance Overview of Milling Principles course Feb. 9, 2015. The course runs through March 13, 2015. For more information or to register, visit http://www.grains.ksu.edu/igp.
  • NCI Pasta Course. The Northern Crops Institute in Fargo, ND will hold its Pasta Production and Technology Short Course April 14 to 16, 2015. For more information or to register, visit http://www.northern-crops.com/.
  • WMC Flat Bread and Tortilla Course. The Wheat Marketing Center in Portland, OR, will hold its Flat Bread and Wheat Flour Tortilla Technology Short Course May 11 to 14, 2015. For more information or to register, visit http://www.wmcinc.org.


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