U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) unveiled the results of an econometric study showing that excessive farm support in several advanced developing countries could cost U.S. wheat farmers nearly $1 billion in revenue every year. USW recently showed that the governments of China, India, Turkey and Brazil have dramatically increased subsidies for domestic wheat production over the past ten years to levels that far exceed their World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements. This study confirms that these policies have a detrimental effect on U.S. and world wheat farmers and global wheat trade.

“I believe we have shown through these studies that the old perceptions about farm support and trade are clearly wrong,” said USW President Alan Tracy. “Today, it is the farm subsidies in a few advanced developing countries, not developed country policies, which disrupt normal trade flows and distort world wheat prices. These rapidly growing subsidies cause direct, serious and now measurable impacts on the prices that U.S. farmers receive for their grain.”

Noted agricultural economist Dr. Dermot Hayes and two of his colleagues at Iowa State University conducted the study. The goal was to determine what would happen to U.S. and global wheat production, trade and prices if domestic support in China, India, Turkey and Brazil were removed. To accomplish this, Dr. Hayes and his colleagues applied the price support and input subsidy data identified in a November 2014 study by DTB Associates to the respected CARD-FAPRI econometric model. Results showed that if all support were removed from all four countries, annual U.S. wheat production would increase by more than 53 million bushels, farm gate prices would increase by nearly $0.30 per bushel and U.S. wheat farmers would receive $947 million more in annual revenue (See Chart 1).

“The results confirm that if domestic support were removed wheat prices in the countries modeled would go down and farmers would plant less wheat, but domestic consumption would go up,” Hayes said. “The lower supply would lead to higher global wheat prices, which tend to benefit wheat exporting countries including the United States.”

The study also indicated that with such changes, wheat trade flows would shift and the four countries would increase net imports by nearly 10 million metric tons (MMT). Hayes said the model estimated the United States would capture more than 20 percent of such an increase to export an additional 2.2 MMT compared to the model’s baseline if there were no changes in domestic support in those countries.

Hayes’ team also used the model to predict the net effect that eliminating support in individual countries would have (See Table 1). Those results indicated that domestic support for Chinese wheat production alone has the largest individual effect. If support there ended, Chinese imports would grow from nearly 2 MMT per year to more than 7.5 MMT per year. This would still be less than the 9 MMT annual tariff rate quota that China agreed to in its WTO accession commitments. Hayes said the model showed that even with the predicted changes, China, India, and Turkey would continue to be at least 90 percent self-sufficient in wheat production. Eliminating domestic support would have the least effect in Brazil where support levels are lower than the other countries.

Shifting the Narrative

Hayes also noted that this study compares future scenarios to data from a market situation in which wheat cash prices were significantly higher than they are now. For example, in addition to Chinese government input subsidies coupled to wheat production, the DTB Associates study in 2014 showed Chinese farmers have government minimum support prices of more than $10.00 per bushel.

“Wheat prices have plummeted more than 30 percent since last year, a significant portion of which is due to these countries’ market distorting policies, which send the wrong signals to their farmers. This hurts American family farms like mine even more,” said Brett Blankenship, who grows soft white wheat near Washtucna, Wash., and is the current President of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG).

Referring to current negotiations in the Doha round, Blankenship added, “It is totally unacceptable to tolerate demands from countries who are in violation of their WTO commitments, who continue with these huge levels of support while demanding concessions from the United States. The American wheat farmer will not give away any more.”

WTO records show that the United States has consistently met its commitments, never exceeding its Aggregate Measure of Support (AMS) limit of $19.1 billion. But other country’s proposals made as part of the Doha round would require the United States to drastically cut its limit, while members with growing programs would not be expected to make meaningful contributions. Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Amb. Michael Punke has called this a “mind-boggling imbalance” that firmly underpins the U.S. position that it is critical to put facts on the table for a frank discussion about the real dynamic of world agricultural production and trade.

The new study indicated that wheat farmers outside of the four countries analyzed would benefit by reducing domestic supports. Hayes said the model showed global wheat cash prices would increase by more than four percent and world net trade would increase by five percent if domestic support is removed in all four countries. The study suggested that there would be benefits even from partial changes in price supports and input subsidies, although Hayes said the magnitude of the cash price and trade increase would depend on the size of the removal in each country.

“Since these subsidies are the acts of sovereign governments, our farmers cannot battle them alone. We are working with USTR and USDA to determine our next steps, including a possible WTO challenge,” Tracy concluded.

USW and NAWG have posted the entire report online at www.uswheat.org/policy and https://www.wheatworld.org/issues/trade/. Results of the two DTB Associates studies measuring domestic support in advanced developing countries, visit www.dtbassociates.com/docs/DomesticSupportStudy11-2014.pdf and www.dtbassociates.com/docs/domesticsupportstudy.pdf. For a third party analysis of individual policy measures by country, visit https://www.oecd.org/tad/agricultural-policies/producerandconsumersupportestimatesdatabase.htm#country.

USW is the wheat industry’s export market development organization working to promote all six classes of U.S. wheat in more than 100 countries. Its activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

NAWG is a federation of 22 state wheat grower associations that works to represent the needs and interests of wheat producers before Congress and federal agencies. Based in Washington, D.C., NAWG is grower-governed and grower-funded, and works in areas as diverse as federal farm policy, trade, environmental regulation, agricultural research and sustainability.

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of 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 U.S. Wheat Associates 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, U.S. Wheat Associates, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. U.S. Wheat Associates is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Monday, June 29, 2015 – Today marks the end of a successful bipartisan effort and the beginning of better prospects for agricultural trade as President Obama signs Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) into law.

“With reauthorization of TPA, the President has a prime opportunity to help level the playing field for wheat growers and American agriculture,” said Brett Blankenship, NAWG President and a wheat grower from Washtucna, Wash. “It is now up to the Administration to use that authority to negotiate new wheat market access commitments in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and future trade agreements.”

“Putting TPA in place is a step forward for American wheat growers,” said Roy Motter, USW Chairman and a Desert Durum® grower from Brawley, Calif. “Now we need a TPP agreement that will help growers overcome the tariff advantages a lot of our competitors get through free trade agreements with importing countries. That is important because wheat demand in many of those countries is growing rapidly and we can’t afford to lose out.”

NAWG and USW applaud the tireless work of Congress and the President to get to this point, and look forward to continuing to work with the Administration to finalize strong trade deals for America’s wheat farmers.

NAWG is a federation of 22 state wheat grower associations that works to represent the needs and interests of wheat producers before Congress and federal agencies. Based in Washington, D.C., NAWG is grower-governed and grower-funded, and works in areas as diverse as federal farm policy, trade, environmental regulation, agricultural research and sustainability.

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.” USW activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by FAS.

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of 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 U.S. Wheat Associates 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, U.S. Wheat Associates, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. U.S. Wheat Associates is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia – Yesterday, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) jointly called for improvements in Canada’s treatment of U.S. wheat classes in a letter to Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Gerry Ritz, and Canadian Minister of International Trade, Ed Fast. While there has been positive collaboration between the two countries on wheat policy, the recent WTO Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) decision concerning the labeling of meat highlights Canada’s inconsistency on the issue of treatment of foreign agricultural products.

The United States is routinely Canada’s top wheat export market and allows wheat grown in Canada to be graded and traded the same as U.S. wheat in the market. Yet, the Canada Grains Act and Varietal Registration System (VRS) denies U.S. producers that same courtesy. Instead, all foreign grown grain is automatically downgraded under Canada’s official grading system to the lowest designation, regardless of whether the wheat is an approved Canadian variety or of high quality.

“Our concerns about the unfair regulatory environment that U.S. wheat faces in Canada closely parallel the arguments Canada successfully made in its WTO complaint against U.S. country-of-origin labeling (COOL) requirements,” states the letter signed by USW Chairman Roy Motter and NAWG President Brett Blankenship. “Specifically, the WTO Appellate Body found that the COOL measure was ‘inconsistent with Article 2.1 of the TBT Agreement because it accords less favourable treatment to imported livestock than to like domestic livestock.’ It is readily apparent to us that Canada’s treatment of imported wheat is less favorable than that of domestic wheat through its grading system.”

The two organizations propose that giving the market the freedom to determine origin segregation’s value — rather than mandating foreign grain labeling — not only increases benefits for both sides of the border, but also continues to strengthen the relationship between the two countries, further laying the foundation for a long-term, mutually profitable trade environment.

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.” USW activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by FAS. USW maintains 17 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six classes of U.S. wheat.

NAWG is a federation of 22 state wheat grower associations that works to represent the needs and interests of wheat producers before Congress and federal agencies. Based in Washington, D.C., NAWG is grower-governed and grower-funded, and works in areas as diverse as federal farm policy, trade, environmental regulation, agricultural research and sustainability.

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of 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 U.S. Wheat Associates 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, U.S. Wheat Associates, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. U.S. Wheat Associates is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia – The U.S. wheat industry applauds bipartisan support for the introduction of legislation to modernize and renew Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act of 2015 includes improvements to the 2002 TPA law that are key to establishing the groundwork for progressive trade negotiations and outcomes for U.S. farmers and businesses.

“Trade is vital to the U.S. wheat industry, with 50 percent of the annual crop destined for export markets. U.S. farmers are eager to sell high quality wheat throughout the world, but artificial trade barriers often stand in their way,” said National Association of Wheat Growers President, Brett Blankenship. “Passage of TPA would send a strong signal that Congress and the Administration are united in their commitment to opening markets for the benefit of farmers and rural communities and creating jobs throughout this country.”

The TPA legislation outlines U.S. trade policy objectives and sets out conditions for the President to negotiate free trade agreements and other trade liberalizing initiatives as well as allowing for expedited Congressional consideration. Also known as “fast track,” TPA builds confidence with our negotiating partners that once an agreement is reached, Congress cannot change it. The bill also institutionalizes consultation requirements to ensure that Congress and the President maintain a strong partnership in advancing trade policy goals.

Together NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) encourage the swift enactment of TPA as an essential tool for negotiating market-opening free trade agreements. The United States is currently engaged in negotiations to complete the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the U.S. and European Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), which will lower barriers to U.S. wheat exports in several key markets. These agreements will also help ensure that U.S. wheat producers have the same market access as other wheat exporters, including Canada and Australia.

“Comprehensive free trade agreements create a more fair and level playing field, and U.S. wheat farmers need the leverage that TPA would give U.S. negotiators to have a unified voice in a growing international market,” said USW Chairman, Roy Motter. “Japan and other countries are less likely to put their best offer on the table for politically sensitive agricultural products like wheat unless they have the confidence provided by TPA.”

The United States is the world’s largest wheat exporter, offering customers around the globe a reliable, high-quality supply of six wheat classes. In the 2013/14 marketing year, ending May 31, 2014, the United States exported about 32 million metric tons (nearly 1.2 billion bushels) of wheat valued at about $9.7 billion, which supports thousands of jobs and creates economic benefits across the country. More on the industry’s trade work is at www.wheatworld.org/trade or www.uswheat.org/whatwedo/tradepolicy.

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.” USW activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by FAS. USW maintains 17 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six classes of U.S. wheat.

NAWG is a federation of 22 state wheat grower associations that works to represent the needs and interests of wheat producers before Congress and federal agencies. Based in Washington, D.C., NAWG is grower-governed and grower-funded, and works in areas as diverse as federal farm policy, trade, environmental regulation, agricultural research and sustainability.

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of 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 U.S. Wheat Associates 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, U.S. Wheat Associates, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. U.S. Wheat Associates is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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Washington, D.C. — After participating in a “learning journey” to Cuba March 1 to 4, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) have joined members of the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba (USACC) to renew a call for Congress to end the U.S. trade embargo.

USW Assistant Director of Policy Ben Conner and Kansas wheat farmer Doug Keesling represented the U.S. wheat industry on the trip.

“Our visit was an important first step toward a stronger relationship with Cuba,” Conner said. “We appreciated the opportunity to sit down and personally discuss these issues with representatives of the Cuban government and its people. We left with the distinct impression that lifting the embargo represents a unique chance to benefit people in both countries.”

“We have exported wheat to Cuba in the past and there should be no reason why we can’t do it now or in the future,” Keesling said. “It is the biggest wheat importer in the Caribbean — just a couple days away from our Gulf ports — and our own policies are keeping us from working together again. That’s not good for farmers or for the Cuban people.”

While ongoing travel and financing restrictions negatively affect the export potential for U.S. wheat farmers, competitors in the European Union and Canada freely sell wheat to Cuba. Even if the U.S. government loosens its trade policies, the larger political implications of an ongoing embargo create an unstable business environment for the United States and Cuba.

“Since Cuba can buy almost anything from anywhere except from the United States, the embargo is effectively an embargo against U.S. businesses and citizens, not of Cuba,” said USW President Alan Tracy.

“We will seize every opportunity to expand trade and Cuba is no exception,” said NAWG President Brett Blankenship. “Cuba represents untapped trade potential within our own hemisphere, and an end to the embargo would greatly benefit the U.S. export economy. Our wheat growers stand with America’s farm and business leaders to promote trade with Cuba today, tomorrow and well into the future.”

Last week’s visit included more than 95 U.S. agricultural leaders who met with officials of the Cuban government and learned about initiatives underway in Cuba to boost food production.

“As a result of this week’s learning journey, U.S. agricultural interests are well-positioned to facilitate a strong, two-way relationship when the embargo is lifted,” said USACC Chair Devry Boughner Vorwerk.

USW is the wheat industry’s export market development organization working to promote all six classes of U.S. wheat in more than 100 countries. Its activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

The purpose of the USACC is to re-establish Cuba as a market for U.S. food and agriculture exports and address liberalizing trade between the United States and Cuba. The coalition will work to end the embargo and allow for open trade and investment.

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of 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 U.S. Wheat Associates 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, U.S. Wheat Associates, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. U.S. Wheat Associates is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Feb. 12, 2015, a bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) introduced major legislation that would end the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba. The bill would end the restrictions on U.S. companies doing business in Cuba that have been in place since 1961. Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Dick Durbin (D-IL) co-sponsored the bill.

NAWG and USW are pleased to see bipartisan Congressional progress being made, and look toward a speedy and permanent end to the Cuban trade embargo. NAWG and USW are members of the U.S. Agricultural Coalition for Cuba, which also endorsed the legislation.

“It is refreshing to see our nation’s lawmakers reaching across the aisle to produce real and meaningful change. Increased trade with Cuba has great potential for U.S. wheat growers,” commented NAWG president Paul Penner.

Cuba’s 11 million people consume close to one million metric tons of wheat each year. It is the largest wheat market in the Caribbean, but it currently purchases almost all of that wheat from the European Union and Canada. Cuba could import at least 500,000 metric tons of wheat from the United States each year but has not purchased U.S. wheat since 2011. Under the current embargo, the United States can export agricultural products to Cuba through the use of third-party banking institutions, which makes facilitating trade burdensome and often more expensive.

“The farmer directors of NAWG and USW recently renewed a call to end the Cuban trade embargo,” said USW President Alan Tracy. “We support the bipartisan effort in the Senate that moves us one step closer to seeing U.S. wheat flowing to our Cuban neighbors again.”

USW is the wheat industry’s export market development organization working to promote all six classes of U.S. wheat in more than 100 countries. Its activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of 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 U.S. Wheat Associates 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, U.S. Wheat Associates, 3103 10th Street, North, Arlington, VA 22201, or call 202-463-0999. U.S. Wheat Associates is an equal opportunity provider and employer.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) are pleased to be founding members of the U.S. Agricultural Coalition for Cuba (USACC). The organizations are encouraged by President Obama’s efforts to renew diplomatic relations with Cuba. However, it is unclear if these actions alone will be enough to restore the Cuban wheat market for U.S. farmers. That is why they share USACC’s mission to re-establish Cuba as a market for U.S. food and agricultural exports.

Cuba, which does not grow wheat commercially, is the largest wheat market in the Caribbean, purchasing almost all of its wheat from the European Union and Canada. In the recent past, Cuba has imported more than 16.3 million bushels (445,000 metric tons) of wheat in a single year from the United States, sales that today would represent a value of nearly $123 million. However, under current rules set by the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the United States can only export agricultural products to Cuba through the use of third-party, foreign banks, which makes facilitating trade burdensome and often more expensive for Cuba. Partly as a result, Cuba has not purchased U.S. wheat since 2011.

“U.S. wheat farmers are excited about the prospect of exporting more wheat to Cuba,” says NAWG President Paul Penner, a wheat farmer from Hillsboro, KS. “NAWG has long supported strengthened trade relations with Cuba and see this as a historic step in that direction.”

“The U.S. wheat industry applauds these efforts to normalize trade relations, which take concrete steps away from a policy approach towards Cuba that has accomplished little,” said USW President Alan Tracy. “If U.S. trade with Cuba can increasingly respond to economics rather than politics, we believe our wheat market share there will eventually grow from its current level of zero to around 80 to 90 percent, as it is in other Caribbean nations. We have a natural competitive advantage over other suppliers.”

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 farmers.” 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.

The National Association of Wheat Growers was founded more than 60 years ago by producers who wanted to work together for the common good of the industry. Today, NAWG works with its 22 affiliated state associations and many coalition partners on issues as diverse as federal farm policy, environmental regulation, the future commercialization of biotechnology in wheat and uniting the wheat industry around common goals.

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of 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 U.S. Wheat Associates 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.