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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) announces that Joe Bippert will join the export market development organization as Assistant Regional Director for South Asia on Nov. 1, 2021. Bippert will work remotely until he and his family can relocate to USW’s office in Manila, Philippines. Bippert has served as Program Director with the Washington Grain Commission (WGC), Spokane, Wash., since January 2017.

“I am grateful for the time I have spent at the Washington Grain Commission representing the state’s wheat and barley producers, and the exposure to markets in South Asia,” Bippert said. “Now I look forward to expanding my service to every wheat producer in the United States as I begin my role at U.S. Wheat Associates.”

Joe Bippert

Joe Bippert will join U.S. Wheat Associates Nov. 1, 2021, as Assistant Regional Director, South Asia, and will relocate to Manila, Philippines, when pandemic travel rules allow.

“Having worked with Joe during his time with the Washington Grain Commission, we knew he was the right person with the proper skill set, personality and knowledge of the wheat industry to fill this position,” said USW Vice President of Overseas Operations Mike Spier. “He will have an experienced and successful manager in Joe Sowers, our Regional Vice President for South Asia, and excellent technical support to help him build the already strong demand for several U.S. wheat classes in the Philippines and the rest of the region.”

Joe Bippert grew up on a family timber farm near Olympia, Wash., and learned Spanish in Mexico while serving a church mission. After earning a Business degree from Brigham Young University in 2008, he began his career in international trade and marketing with the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA). His focus was helping producer groups develop and implement international marketing strategies and included management of agricultural delegations on two governor-led international trade missions. With the WGC, Bippert manages Latin American marketing strategy, analyzes the state’s wheat industry economy and monitors trade and transportation policy. He currently co-chairs USW’s Wheat Transportation Working Group. Bippert, his wife Corinne and their sons Jack, Max and Luke currently call Spokane, Wash., home.

Major wheat markets in USW’s South Asian region include Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. U.S. wheat regional sales there of about 6.4 million metric tons, or about 235 million bushels, of hard red spring, soft white, hard red winter and some soft red winter wheat represented the largest regional sales volume and about 25% of total U.S. commercial wheat sales in marketing year 2020/21.

U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 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 U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is happy to announce that Tyllor Ledford joined its staff as Assistant Director of the West Coast Office in Portland, Ore., on August 16, 2021. Ledford will fill the role left by Michael Anderson, who was promoted to Market Analyst earlier this year.

“I am very excited to welcome Tyllor to U.S. Wheat Associates. She brings essential skills developed during her time at Texas Tech University and has the people skills that will be important in her role as liaison between wheat farmers and overseas customers,” said Steve Wirsching, USW Vice President and West Coast Director. “She knows how to relate to wheat farmers and understands the challenges they face. She will be directly involved in planning and hosting overseas wheat buyers and highlighting the advantages of the U.S. supply chain.”

As USW looks forward to when it can again welcome overseas trade delegations to the United States to visit the wheat supply chain in the Pacific Northwest, Ledford’s responsibilities will include assisting in both in-person and continued online programs and trade service activities for overseas customers. She will also assist in outreach to state wheat commissions and the grain trade and a range of assignments supporting USW’s export market development activities on behalf of U.S. wheat farmers.

Tyllor Ledford

Tyllor Ledford.

Ledford joins USW after recently completing a master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics from Texas Tech University, where she also earned a bachelor’s degree in the same concentration. As a part of her master’s program, Ledford’s research focused on the relationship between food security and conflict patterns in Africa. She has also gained valuable experience as a Texas Tech graduate research assistant, interning with Colorado State University Extension and through agribusiness academic immersion programs in China and Spain. Ledford is a native of Colorado, where she grew up on her family’s quarter horse ranch.

U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 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 U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has promoted Erica Oakley to Vice President of Programs. Oakley joined USW in 2015 as Program Manager and was promoted to Director of Programs in 2017.

Oakley’s promotion signals a structure change in USW’s Headquarters Office, splitting the previous Program and Planning department. Previously serving the organization as Vice President of Programs and Planning, Jennifer Sydney will shift titles to Vice President of Planning. In this role, Sydney will continue leading USW’s annual planning process and manage all facets of its intersection with federal programs, finance, and overseas office operations.

Oakley will oversee all domestic components of USW programs in support of overseas offices in her new role, including export market development activities, consulting assignments, customer trade teams, USW director delegations, and customer conferences. Oakley will also continue leading the development of USW’s annual Crop Quality Report and seminars.

“It is important as an organization to adapt based on the needs of its customers and stakeholders and how the skills and commitment of its employees can best serve its mission,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “Erica has been an exceptional asset to the organization, especially through all of the challenges and changes we faced during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are confident this change is in the best interest of USW’s mission and look forward to both Erica and Jennifer’s continued leadership.”

Portrait of Erica Oakley

Erica Oakley.

Before joining USW, Oakley worked as an Associate at Humanitas Global, Washington, D.C. She also worked as a Program Associate at the Academy for Educational Development, now FHI 360, supporting a USAID Title II-funded Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance project to strengthen food security and nutrition policies, programs and systems. Before that, Oakley was a Project Associate at Washington-based Futures Group. A native of North Carolina, Oakley earned a bachelor’s degree in international studies at Meredith College, Raleigh, N.C., and a master’s degree in international relations from Utrecht University in The Netherlands.

Reporting to Oakley will be Catherine Miller, whose title will shift from Programs and Planning Coordinator to Program Coordinator with additional responsibilities. Also reporting to Oakley will be Program Coordinator Maybelis Fernandez who coordinates program travel arrangements.

Reporting to Sydney will be Nada Obaid, whose title will shift from Office Manager to Planning and Administrative Assistant. She will assume more responsibility in the day-to-day planning operations and continue administrative office management.

U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 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 U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has promoted Michael Anderson to Market Analyst. Anderson has served as USW Assistant Director, West Coast Office in Portland, Ore., since July 2018. 

As Market Analyst, Anderson will monitor and report on global wheat market supply and demand, trade and U.S. wheat export prices among other responsibilities.

“Michael has done a very good job working as a host for overseas trade delegations and supporting our 13 overseas offices in his West Coast Office position,” said USW Vice President of Communications Steve Mercer. “As Market Analyst, he will provide a different but no less important trade service reporting market information that adds value to U.S. wheat export market development.”

Portrait of Michael Anderson

Michael Anderson

Anderson grew up in Texas and earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Baylor University and a master’s degree in International Agriculture from Oklahoma State University. After graduating from Baylor, Anderson joined the Peace Corps where he served as a health volunteer in Armenia. Following that overseas experience, he worked with The Carter Center in Central Africa as a technical advisor for the Guinea Worm Eradication Program with the South Sudan Ministry of Health. Anderson served as a trade intern with the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in Washington D.C., where he became interested in international trade policy. Before joining USW, Anderson was International Marketing Program Coordinator for Food Export Association of the Northeast, which like USW is a member of the public-private partnership with USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) export market development programs. He speaks French and his hobbies include travel and softball.

U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 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 U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) announces that Regional Vice President for South Asia Matt Weimar plans to retire Aug. 31, 2021, after 34 years with the export market development organization. Current Regional Vice President for Philippines and Korea Joe Sowers will take Weimar’s position and move from Manila, Philippines, to USW’s South Asian regional office in Singapore.

“We cannot thank Matt Weimar enough for his work building U.S. wheat export demand in China and South Asia,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “He developed trusted relationships and goodwill with China’s milling and baking industries that will keep benefiting wheat producers into the future. And over the past several years he has applied that experience in helping our teams position U.S. wheat as the preferred source of flour for hundreds of wheat food products across South Asia.”

USW Vice President of Overseas Operations Mike Spier is confident that regional success will continue under Joe Sowers.

“Joe has excelled in every position he has held with U.S. Wheat Associates over 16 years,” Spier said. “He earned experience managing export market development activities in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean before taking a leadership role in the Philippines and Korea. Joe’s enthusiastic work with his teams has helped develop the Philippines and kept Korea as top U.S. wheat destinations. We look forward to expanding Joe’s leadership in a growing South Asian wheat market.”  

portrait photo of Matt Weimar

Matt Weimar

Matt Weimar started with USW as country director in the Beijing office in 1987, became Regional Director in the USW/Hong Kong office in 1993 and started his current position in 2015. Weimar hails from a wheat and cattle ranch near Arlington, Ore., where he worked in his family’s business and helped manage adjacent wheat and cattle ranches. Weimar received a bachelor’s degree in agricultural and resource economics in 1982 from Oregon State University, which named him an outstanding undergraduate and senior in the College of Agriculture. Other work experience included marketing livestock feeds and supplements for Loomix, Inc., and value-added product promotion in Asian markets for the Oregon Department of Agriculture.

portrait photo of Joe Sowers

Joe Sowers

Joe Sowers joined USW in 2005 as a Market Analyst in Washington, D.C., and earned a promotion to senior market analyst before moving to the USW office in Mexico City as assistant regional director with responsibility for Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. In 2011 he became Assistant Regional Director for South Asia in Manila with a focus on the Philippines. He was promoted to Regional Vice President for the Philippines and Korea in 2018. Sowers earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy and a master’s degree in agricultural economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. From 2000 to 2004 Sowers analyzed global grain and oilseed markets with the economic consulting firm, Global Insight, stationed in Philadelphia and Barcelona, Spain.

U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 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 U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is pleased to announce the addition of Dylan Davidson as its summer intern in the USW headquarters office in Arlington, Va. Davidson’s primary responsibility will be working with the communications department on a number of activities such as social media development, blog post feature writing, video production and more. 

“We are very pleased that Dylan will be working with us and that he decided to conduct his internship here in Arlington, Va,” said Steve Mercer, USW Vice President of Communications. “Our organization also thanks the AAEA Professional Improvement Foundation for the scholarships that makes this internship possible.” 

Dylan Davidson Portrait

Dylan Davidson

Davidson received his bachelor’s degree in agricultural communications from Texas Tech University this past May. While at Texas Tech, he interned with the House Committee on Agriculture as the 2018 Farm Bill was developed, and with Picador Creative, a strategic commutations center at Texas Tech, as a video production intern. 

“It won’t be a typical experience, but it’s also a really unique opportunity for growth in adversity, hard work, creativity, communication and risk management in ways that wouldn’t have existed outside of this pandemic,” said Amanda Spoo, USW Director of Communications. “As our organization celebrates its 40th anniversary, we look ahead to what other changes and opportunities are in store for us and, we are also excited to learn from Dylan’s own experience and skills.” 

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service. 

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
In all its programs, activities and employment, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) prohibits discrimination 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 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.

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TAIPEI, Taiwan – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), which represents the interest of U.S. wheat farmers in export markets, announces that Wei-lin Chou has joined the staff in its Taipei, Taiwan, office as a Technical Specialist.   

“Our goal was to hire someone with the most technical wheat food background and Wei-lin was the best candidate,” said Jeff Coey, USW Regional Vice President for China and Taiwan. “His cereal chemist background will be ideally suited to the already advanced stages of technical know-how among our customers in Taiwan.” 

Wei-lin Chou

Chou earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in agriculture chemistry from National Taiwan University. Working in the Laboratory of Chemistry and Application of Biomaterials, his thesis focused on improving rice bread quality by adjusting heat, moisture and enzyme treatments. Chou also worked in the Laboratory of Pesticides and Environmental Toxicants extracting toxicants and organic compounds from polluted water for analysis. 

Chou brings experience as an assistant researcher for the China Grain Products Research and Development Institute and in technical sales for Thailand-based company Starpro Starch Co. 

“Wei-lin also has a proven ability to apply his technical skills to solve the kinds of challenges our customers see,” said Coey. 

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service. 

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ARLINGTON, Virginia – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) promotes Chad Weigand to Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa, based in Cape Town, South Africa, effective Jan. 1, 2020. Weigand has been Assistant Regional Director since December 2018 and is replacing Regional Director Gerald Theus who retired on Dec. 31, 2019.

“Chad’s experience as our market analyst and effectively representing U.S. wheat farmers in different regions around the world is ideal for him to head up our effort in this competitive set of markets,” said USW Vice President of Overseas Operations Mike Spier. “He will be a positive leader for our team and will continue working hard for U.S. wheat farmers.”

Weigand joined USW in 2009 as Market Analyst in the Arlington, Va., Headquarters Office before transferring to Mexico City as Assistant Regional Director in 2011. He earned a bachelor’s degree in international relations and business administration from the University of San Diego and a master’s degree in international affairs from Columbia University. Weigand spent two years in the Peace Corps as an agribusiness specialist in Ecuador and completed an internship with the Office of Trade Programs at USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service.

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications

In all its programs and activities, U.S. Wheat Associates prohibits discrimination 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.

Chad Weigand, Regional Director, Sub-Sahara Africa, U.S. Wheat Associates
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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) welcomes a new colleague to its Headquarters Office in Arlington, Va. Shelbi Knisley joined the organization January 1, 2020, as Director of Policy. USW represents the interests of U.S. wheat farmers in export markets.

Knisley comes to USW after spending five years at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Most recently, she worked in the Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) as a trade policy advisor for UN-FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). In that role, she lead strategy and collaboration on policy covering nutrition, biotechnology, sustainability, antimicrobial resistance, CODEX, plant and animal health and agroecology. Her time with USDA also included experience analyzing wheat markets for FAS and oilseed markets for the Economic Research Service (ERS).

“Shelbi’s experience in international trade while at USDA and her analytical background makes her a valuable asset to USW’s trade policy priorities,” said Dalton Henry, USW Vice President of Policy. “In addition to trade policy, she will be responsible for leading our work in food aid and wheat breeding innovation.”

A native Texan, Knisley earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in agricultural and applied economics from Texas Tech University, where her thesis focused on analyzing China’s impact on Australia’s grain sorghum export market. Knisley also spent time interning on the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture and with the National Sorghum Producers and Sorghum Checkoff.

Knisley fills a position held by Assistant Director of Policy Elizabeth Westendorf who recently left USW to pursue other opportunities.

“We appreciate Elizabeth’s contributions to the organization since joining USW in 2014,” said Henry. “In particular, her work on innovation, sustainability and creating programs for farmer delegations traveling to Africa to focus on food aid are legacy items that will benefit USW long after her departure. We wish the best to Elizabeth in her new endeavors.”

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 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 U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit the USW website at www.uswheat.org.

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Nondiscrimination and Alternate Means of Communications
In all its programs, activities and employment, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) prohibits discrimination 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 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.

Shelbi Knisley.
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SANTIAGO, Chile — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), which represents the interests of U.S. wheat farmers in export markets, is pleased to announce that Ms. Claudia Gómez recently joined the organization as a Senior Marketing Specialist in its Santiago, Chile, office.

“Claudia has a strong background in marketing and information analysis that will be a great asset for USW’s mission in the region,” said Miguel Galdos, USW Regional Director, South America. “She has already proven to be a great addition to the USW Santiago team applying her expertise in ways that will continue helping us be most effective in our regional marketing plan.”

As Senior Marketing Specialist, Gómez’s responsibilities include conducting technical and crop quality seminars, analyzing trade data, providing wheat importers with U.S. wheat market data, and resolving trade problems that could interfere with U.S. wheat exports to the region. She will also lead trade delegations to and from the United States.

Claudia Gómez

Claudia Gómez.

Gómez has 15 years of experience in agribusiness where she has developed a strong skillset for strategic planning, sales, market analysis, and consulting. Most recently, Gómez was a consultant advisor in sales and marketing for YOLO Solar, a company dedicated to the development and commercialization of solar energy and energy efficiency systems, with clients in residential, business and agricultural market segments. Her previous experience also includes time in various agribusiness development and innovation roles and the wine industry.

Gómez is a native of Chile and earned a bachelor’s degree in Agronomy, Viticulture and Enology, a postgraduate degree in Viticulture Production Technologies, and a Master’s of Business Administration, all from the University of Chile.

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 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 U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit the USW website at www.uswheat.org.

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