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TAIPEI, Taiwan – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has hired Fiona Lee as Executive Assistant and Accountant in the organization’s office in Taipei, Taiwan. Ms. Lee will train with long-time Office Manager/Accountant Serena C. Wu, who plans to retire later in 2016. USW is the export market development organization for the U.S. wheat industry.

“Fiona’s work experience ranges from financial project management to legal matters and translation needs,” said Matt Weimar, USW’s Regional Vice President for South Asia. “These are strong assets that will certainly benefit the U.S. wheat farmers we represent and our industry and government partners in Taiwan.”

“We knew we had a difficult job to eventually replace Serena Wu,” said Ronald L. J. Lu, USW’s Country Director for Taiwan. “Serena has served this organization and our customers faithfully for more than 38 years. With her guidance over the next several months, though, we are sure Fiona will be well prepared for another long and successful tenure with U.S. Wheat Associates.”

Ms. Lee comes to USW after serving as a clerk and English secretary at a Taipei law firm and as an executive assistant at Henkel Taiwan, a large industrial products company. She worked as an investment manager with Uni-President and at the consulting firm KPMG Taipei she served on corporate finance teams related to merger and acquisition projects as well as in corporate finance risk management. Ms. Lee has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from National Cheng-Chi University, Taipei, and a master’s degree in finance from George Washington University, Washington, DC. She is fluent in Mandarin and English.

Taiwan is on average the sixth largest market for U.S. wheat, purchasing more than 15 million metric tons (more than 550 million bushels) since 1998. In each of the past two marketing years, Taiwan’s flour millers purchased about 1.0 million metric tons (MMT), or nearly 37 million bushels, of U.S. wheat. Significant hard red spring (HRS) imports reflect a need for strong gluten flour for breads, rolls and frozen dough products as well as for blending with hard red winter (HRW) to make traditional Chinese flour foods and noodles. Soft white (SW) imports, including Western White (a blend of SW and up to 20 percent club), help meet growing demand for cake, cookie and pastry flours.
USW Taipei works directly with end users and importers to help them strengthen commercial links with U.S. export companies through trade serving and technical assistance activities managed by Ron Lu and Ms. Shu-ying Yang, Asian Products/Nutrition Specialist, and by facilitating customer visits to the United States.

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/Foreign Agricultural Service. 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.

Fiona Lee

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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 — On the heels of a momentous event celebrating 60 years with a U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) office in Japan, a team of four senior executives from Japan’s leading milling companies will travel to the United States to continue building upon that legacy. As a part of USW’s market development activities, the trip includes stops in Oregon and Washington, DC from April 28 to May 4, 2016.

“Japan is a loyal U.S. wheat customer because our relationship is built on mutual trust and our commitment to the best interests of our end-use customers,” said USW Vice President and West Coast Office Director Steve Wirsching. “But as with every relationship, it is important to keep the lines of communications open and to demonstrate full transparency in our practices. This trade team visit is essential to that mission.”

USW collaborated with the Oregon Wheat Commission to organize and host this trade team.

The Oregon Wheat Growers League (OWGL) established the first overseas U.S. wheat export office in Tokyo in 1956 and in that same year, the first team of Japanese millers visited the United States to learn observe U.S. wheat production, quality and marketing. Over the years, bringing trade teams to the United States has become a tradition and for well over a decade, this particular activity has become an annual trip for Japanese executive millers. Often the team extends its traditional trip to the Pacific Northwest to include a visit to Washington, DC.

During its visit to Oregon, the team will follow the wheat through the supply chain from farm to shipment, demonstrating at the each step the U.S. wheat industry’s commitment to quality and efficiency. Their time will include meetings and tours with the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) and Louis Dreyfus export terminal. Once in Washington, DC, the team will shift its focus to trade policy and get an overview of the U.S. and global wheat market situation. They will also discuss modern farm management systems, dietary trends and views on competitive markets.

“Japan is an essential market for U.S. producers, purchasing 3.2 million metric tons (MMT) of wheat annually, making it the single largest buyer of U.S. wheat in the world. Japanese consumers demand high quality and expect a consistent and reliable supply of wheat food products,” said Wirsching. “At the 60 year anniversary event, the head of the Japanese Millers Association explained that U.S. wheat accounts for six percent of the daily caloric intake of the average Japanese consumer. That is a vivid illustration of the success of this partnership and how much is required from our farmers and wheat supply system.”

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 USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. 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.

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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.

ARLINGTON, Virginia — Over the past few years, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) have demonstrated how the policies of a few advanced developing countries are distorting world wheat trade and hurting farmers in the United States and other wheat exporting countries. In 2015, an Iowa State University study sponsored by USW showed that China’s excessive wheat subsidies alone were costing U.S. farmers almost $550 million per year. Now, just one year later, a January 2016 update of the study demonstrated that the decline in world prices has increased the projected annual loss in U.S. wheat farm revenue from China’s policies by 16 percent to $653 million.

A 2014 study by DTB Associates showed that China effectively pays its farmers a minimum procurement price of more than $10 per bushel for wheat and subsidizes input costs. In wheat alone, China provides an aggregate measure of support (AMS) of at least $15.4 billion or 36 percent of the value of production, which far exceed the 8.5 percent de minimis limit set when it joined the World Trade Organization (WTO). China also agreed to allow wheat imports at a 1 percent tariff rate, up to a quota of 9.64 million metric tons. The out-of-quota tariff rate is 65 percent. China rarely administers this tariff rate quota (TRQ) as agreed and imports invariably fall far below the quota, even when its domestic prices are far above world market prices.

The evidence strongly supports the conclusion that China’s noncompliant domestic subsidies and TRQ administration create artificial incentives for its farmers to grow even more wheat at a time when China already controls almost 40 percent of world wheat stocks. In turn, the policies suppress wheat import demand in China and put additional downward pressure on world wheat prices.

“Considering all the trade distorting policies U.S. farmers face in the world, the wheat subsidies in China and in other developing countries have the most serious effect on farm gate prices and trade flows,” said USW President Alan Tracy. “The studies we have sponsored clearly show the problem is growing more serious at the worst time for farmers who are already facing unprofitable prices.”

“We have seen prices collapse to unsustainable levels in just a few seasons, partially as a result of some of our trading partners not playing by the rules” said NAWG President Gordon Stoner, a wheat grower from Outlook, MT. “The decline in income of every wheat farmer in the United States will accelerate if China’s policies are not brought back into compliance with the commitments China’s government made to its trading partners.”

Noted Iowa State University agricultural economist Dr. Dermot Hayes conducted the 2015 study and the latest update. He said the results confirm that removing China’s domestic wheat support would have significant benefits for farmers in wheat exporting countries. The study used a proven econometric method to determine a world wheat “base case” including China’s current wheat input subsidies and price support. Researchers then removed the factors represented by China’s policies, ran the model again and compared the resulting scenario to the base case. Dr. Hayes said the results showed Chinese farmers over time would grow less wheat because domestic prices would fall and input costs would increase.

“In our comparison, China would need to increase its imports to more than 9.6 million metric tons per year, a volume that is about equal to the Chinese wheat tariff rate quota” said Dr. Hayes. “That would increase wheat exports and farm revenue in the United States, as well as in Europe, Canada and Australia (see Table 1). In the United States specifically, farm income from wheat would increase by $0.19 per bushel compared to the base scenario (see Table 2).”

“NAWG supports free trade and supports Congressional ratification of TPP,” said Stoner. “But trade agreements cannot meet their promise if other countries ignore the rules. It is time for the Administration to seek enforcement through the WTO.”

“Since these harmful policies are the acts of sovereign governments, our farmer organizations cannot battle them alone,” said Tracy. “At the direction of the USW and NAWG boards, we are working with the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and USDA to develop a possible WTO challenge.”

USW and NAWG have posted the current update of the 2015 Iowa State study and the original study online at https://bit.ly/1XPLrLo and https://www.wheatworld.org/issues/trade/. For results of 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’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/Foreign Agricultural Service. 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. 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, DC, 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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ARLINGTON, Virginia — Every year, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) sponsors opportunities for farmer directors on the USW board or state wheat commission staff to travel to overseas markets for U.S. wheat. The intense, regional “board team” visits help participants observe the day-to-day work of USW’s overseas offices and connect them to their customers and industry stakeholders.

“Board teams help build personal connections between our overseas customers and U.S. wheat farmers,” says USW Vice President of Overseas Operations Vince Peterson. “U.S. wheat is the world’s most reliable source of high quality wheat, and part of that reputation comes from the people who grow it. We consistently hear how much the customer appreciates getting to know the farmer.”

This year, USW Program Manager Erica Oakley will lead a North Africa and European Board Team to Morocco, Italy and Israel in early March. The team includes Michael Edgar, a Desert Durum® farmer and merchandiser from Yuma, AZ, and a current USW director representing the Arizona Grain Research and Promotion Council; Ken Davis, a wheat farmer from Grandview, TX, and a current USW director representing the Texas Wheat Producers Board; and Michael Peters, a wheat farmer from Okarche, OK, and the secretary/treasurer of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission.

The team will first meet at the USW Headquarters Office in Arlington, VA, and with USDA Foreign Agricultural Service officials as orientation before traveling overseas. Over three days in Morocco, the team will meet with government contacts, tour a couscous plant and two durum mills, and meet with the Moroccan Miller’s Federation and the Moroccan Importers Federation. The team will then travel to Italy, accompanied by Regional Director Ian Flagg and Marketing Specialist Rutger Koekoek from the USW Rotterdam Office on tours of multiple pasta plants and semolina mills. In Israel, on the last leg of the trip, the team and Koekoek will visit the Port of Haifa, two mills and a bakery.

Both teams will post regular travel updates and photographs, and will report later this year to the USW Board of Directors. Follow their progress on the USW Facebook page at www.facebook/uswheat and on Twitter at @uswheatassoc.

2016 North Africa-Europe Board Team – Participants

Kenneth R. Davis
Texas Wheat Producers Board

Ken Davis has been farming and ranching for more than 43 years in Johnson, Hill and Ellis Counties in Texas. After graduating from the Texas Christian University Ranch Management Program, Davis began KD Farms, which he owns and operates with the help of his family. Davis’ farming operation includes wheat, cattle, corn and sorghum in addition to a custom trucking business.

Davis has spent thirteen years serving as an elected board member on the statewide Texas Wheat Producers Board and Texas Wheat Producers Association. In 2006, Davis was selected to represent Texas wheat growers on the USW Board of Directors.

In addition to his service in the wheat industry, Davis serves in a leadership role on several regional and local organizations including serving as a past president of the Blackland Income Growth Program. He has also served as a director of the Federal Land Bank of Hillsboro, Texas Land Bank, First Financial Bank of Cleburne and the TCU Ranch Management Alumni Boa rd. Davis is a long-time supporter of the Texas Farm Bureau organization where he once served as the chairman of the State Young Farmer and Rancher Committee.

Michael Edgar
Arizona Grain Research and Promotion Council

Michael Edgar is a native of the Imperial Valley of Southern California. He grew up in a farming operation near El Centro that produced wheat, cotton and alfalfa and fed cattle. Edgar earned an associate’s degree in business and entered the grain business in 1979. He has engaged in all facets of the business during his career, with an emphasis on Desert Durum® wheat. These include: trading in cash and futures markets; contracting grain production for domestic and export markets; developing and servicing export markets; contracting for truck, rail and ocean transportation; management of grain variety breeding programs; and managing grain seed businesses.

Edgar has been employed by Barkley Seed, Inc. in Yuma, AZ since 1988, and has served as President since 2014. The company operates facilities in Central and Western Arizona and in the Imperial and Central Valleys of California. It produces and sells certified seed of proprietary varieties of Desert Durum wheat, hard red wheat and barley, and specializes in contracting production of identity-preserved grain for domestic and export markets.

He is a member of both the Arizona Grain Research and Promotion Council and the California Wheat Commission. He recently served as USW Chairman, and also serves on the board of directors for the Southern Seed Association, and is a past president of the Seed Trade Association of Arizona. Edgar lives in Yuma with his wife, Janice. He has three young adult children and five grandchildren.

Michael Peters
Oklahoma Wheat Commission

Michael Peters is a farmer and rancher from Okarche, OK. Peters and his father currently raise 3,500 acres of hard red winter (HRW) wheat and, during the winter, graze the wheat with stocker cattle. Peters also grows canola as a rotation crop to help clean the ground from other winter grasses. He and his sons have a small cow herd.

Peters’ educational training includes the Oklahoma Credential Director Training, CHS New Leader Forum, CHS Director Development Training, IGP Flour Milling Course, National Wheat Foundation and the WILOT Program (Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow).

Peters is a member of St. John’s Luthern Church where he served as Church President and currently serves on the Board of Elders. He is President of his local co-op Board, owned by CHS, the largest co-op in the United States. Peters is a member of the Okarche Rural Fire Fighters’ Association Board and he currently serves as Secretary for the Oklahoma Wheat Commission.

Michael and his wife, Linda, have two teenage boys, Connor and Tyler.

Erica Oakley
U.S. Wheat Associates Team Lead

Erica Oakley, Programs Manager, leads responsibility for coordinating team-based activities, customer training programs and special events in the United States. Oakley is also responsible for management of U.S.-based consulting assignments, planning and managing USW Board Teams to visit overseas markets, and is involved with planning and implementing USW’s international conferences.

Before joining USW, Oakley was with Humanitas Global, where she managed programs in food and nutrition security, food sustainability, agriculture and public-private partnership development. She has also worked at AED and Futures Group, both based in Washington, DC.

A native of North Carolina, Oakley holds an undergraduate degree in international studies from Meredith College, Raleigh, NC, and an international relations master’s degree from Utrecht University in The Netherlands. Erica and her husband, Kit, live in DC with their two cats, Tigger and Hobbes.

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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 — Every year, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) sponsors opportunities for farmer directors on the USW board or state wheat commission staff to travel to overseas markets for U.S. wheat. The intense, regional “board team” visits help participants observe the day-to-day work of USW’s overseas offices and connect them to their customers and industry stakeholders.

“Board teams help build personal connections between our overseas customers and U.S. wheat farmers,” says USW Vice President of Overseas Operations Vince Peterson. “U.S. wheat is the world’s most reliable source of high quality wheat, and part of that reputation comes from the people who grow it. We consistently hear how much the customer appreciates getting to know the farmer.”

This year, USW Policy Specialist Elizabeth Westendorf will lead a North Asia Board Team to Japan and Korea in early March. The team includes Darren Padget, a wheat farmer from Grass Valley, OR, and a current USW director representing the Oregon Wheat Commission; Greg LeBlanc, a wheat farmer from Crookston, MN, and a director of the Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council; Clark Hamilton, a wheat farmer from Ririe, ID, and a current USW director representing the Idaho Wheat Commission; and Gary Bailey, a wheat farmer from St. John, WA and a current USW director representing the Washington Grain Commission.

The team will first meet at the USW West Coast Office and with the grain trade in Portland, OR for an orientation before traveling overseas. Over three days in Japan, the team will visit government contacts at the U.S. Embassy and Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and meet with millers, bakers and the grain trade. The second leg of the trip features three days in Korea, which includes visiting the largest fried noodle manufacturing facility in Korea, mill tours and a meeting with the Korea Flour Mills Industrial Association.

The team will post regular travel updates and photographs, and will report later this year to the USW board of directors. Follow their progress on the USW Facebook page at www.facebook/uswheat and on Twitter at @uswheatassoc.

2016 North Asia Board Team – Participants

Clark Hamilton
Idaho Wheat Commission

Clark Hamilton operates a diverse 6,000-acre family farm in Idaho’s Bonneville Countym primarily producing wheat, barley, potatoes, alfalfa and peas. He joined his father and other family members in running the operation more than thirty years ago.

Clark spent the past five years serving and representing Idaho wheat and barley farmers as an executive officer of the Idaho Grain Producers Association (IGPA). While serving in that role, he became very familiar with the local, state and national issues impacting agriculture and wheat, specifically.

Clark holds a bachelor’s degree in plant science and a minor in biology from Utah State University. He and his wife Kristi have been married for 28 years. They have four children and one grandchild.

Greg LeBlanc
Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council

Greg LeBlanc, born and raised in Crookston, MN, has been farming since 1975 and harvested his 40th wheat crop last year.

He has been involved in various farm organizations, including as a member of the Minnesota Soybean Council from 2006 to 2012, where he served two years as Research Committee Chairman. LeBlanc was elected to the Minnesota Wheat Council in 2014 and serves on the Research and Budget Committees.

Greg graduated from the University of Minnesota at Crookston in the spring of 1978 with an applied science associate’s degree in crop production. Greg and his wife Marlene, who works at the Minnesota Extension Service, will celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in 2016. They have two adult children: Matthew, an Occupational Therapist, and Dominic, who farms with Greg.

Darren Padget
Oregon Wheat Commission

Darren Padget is a fourth generation farmer in Sherman County, OR, currently producing registered and certified seed on 3,400 acres annually.

Darren held positions on the Oregon Wheat Growers League board of directors and executive committee for seven years, serving as president in 2010. He chaired the Research and Technology Committee for the National Association of Wheat Growers. He has also served on the Mid-Columbia Producers board of directors, of which he was an officer for 10 years.

Serving on these boards has provided him with great insight into the wheat industry. He is very familiar with the challenges that lie ahead in research and market development.

Gary Bailey
Washington Grain Commission

Gary Bailey is a St. John, WA, wheat grower representing Whitman County, the state’s largest wheat growing county. Bailey grew up in this Palouse community and received his bachelor’s degree in business and agriculture from the University of Idaho. He worked for what is now Northwest Farm Credit Services before returning to the farm in 1989. He and his brother Mark raise winter and spring wheat and barley.

Gary previously served on the Board of Directors for St. John Grain Growers, now Whitgro, and also served on the Local Advisory Committee for the Colfax branch of Northwest Farm Credit Services. He currently sits on Washington State University’s Land Legacy Committee, and the Board of Directors for St. John TelCo. His wife Linda is Associate Director of Development in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resource Sciences at Washington State University in Pullman. The couple has three sons.

Elizabeth Westendorf
U.S. Wheat Associates Team Lead

Elizabeth Westendorf, Policy Specialist, assists in implementing USW’s biotechnology and food aid efforts and provides support on trade policy issues impacting exports, including issues in China, Canada, Mexico, the European Union and Morocco.

Elizabeth graduated from Georgetown University’s Undergraduate School of Foreign Service in 2014, where she studied International Political Economy and wrote her thesis on acceptance of agricultural biotechnology in Africa. She studied abroad for a year at the London School of Economics. During her studies, she interned at the U.S. Embassy in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and was a World Food Prize Wallace Carver Fellow with USDA’s Economic Research Service, where she helped analyze the economic impacts of sub-therapeutic antibiotics in livestock.

Prior to joining USW, Elizabeth worked at Winrock International on a sustainable agriculture project, focusing on developing project evaluations and communications. She was born in Iowa and now lives in Arlington, VA.

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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, DC — The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Board of Directors unanimously elected new officers for the 2016/17 (July to June) fiscal year at their meeting Feb. 6, 2016, in Washington, DC. The board elected Chris Kolstad of Ledger, MT, as Secretary-Treasurer, current Vice Chairman Jason Scott of Stevensville, MD, as Chairman and current Secretary-Treasurer Mike Miller of Ritzville, WA, as Vice Chairman. They will take office at the USW Board meeting in July 2016 in Fargo, ND, when current Chairman Brian O’Toole of Crystal, ND, will become Past Chairman. USW is the export market development organization for the U.S. wheat production industry.

“Wheat has paid the bills on my family’s farm for 100 years and I want to thank the board for giving me the opportunity to give something back to this country’s wheat industry,” Kolstad said. “I look forward to working with USW’s directors and staff, as well as with the National Association of Wheat Growers, to make sure U.S. wheat remains the world’s top choice for quality and value.”

Kolstad is the fourth generation of his family to farm in Montana’s “Golden Triangle” region. He and his wife Vicki have four children, including their son Cary who is a partner in their operation. They grow hard red winter (HRW) wheat, dark northern spring wheat and durum, plus barley and dry peas. A commissioner of the Montana Wheat & Barley Committee, Kolstad has represented his state on the USW board since 2012. He is also a member of the Montana Grain Growers Association and Montana Farm Bureau. His community leadership includes serving on his local school board, as treasurer of his family’s church and as a regular blood donor who has given almost 19 gallons of blood since 1972.

Jason Scott is a sixth generation wheat farmer from Maryland’s Eastern Shore, where he manages his family’s soft red winter (SRW) wheat, row crop and vegetable operation. He also owns and operates a Pioneer Hi-Bred® seed dealership with his father. Scott has been a member of the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board since 2003 and served as president from 2005 to 2007. Scott received the Maryland Farm Bureau Young Farmer Achievement Award in 2011. In his seven years on the USW Board, Scott has represented his state and USW on two board team delegations to Africa and Europe and served as Secretary-Treasurer. He and his wife Casey have a young daughter.

Mike Miller is a fourth generation farmer who operates a dryland wheat farm and grows multiple crops on a separate, irrigated farm in east central Washington. He has served on many local, state and national boards, and is in his third term on the Washington Grain Commission and his fifth year as a USW director representing Washington. Miller is also very active in supporting wheat research and development. He and his wife, Marci, have three children.

Brian O’Toole is the president of T.E. O’Toole Farm Seed Company. He and his wife Sara have four children and raise wheat, edible beans and sugarbeets on their northeast North Dakota farm. O’Toole is an experienced agricultural and community leader. He serves on the North Dakota Wheat Commission, on the board of the Wheat Marketing Center in Portland, OR, and is Chairman of SBARE Wheat Granting Committee. He is also past president of the North Dakota Crop Improvement and Seed Association and past president of Crystal Farmers Elevator Co-op. O’Toole has received the Young Outstanding Farmer Award, Master Farmer Award and Friends of 4-H Award. He has served as Secretary-Treasurer and Vice Chairman of USW.

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 funded with producer checkoff dollars managed by 18 state wheat commissions and USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service cost-share programs. 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.

Header Photo Caption: U.S. Wheat Associates Officers (L to R): Mike Miller, Secretary-Treasurer; Roy Motter, Past Chairman; Brian O’Toole, Chairman; Chris Kolstad, Secretary-Treasurer Elect; Jason Scott, Vice Chairman; Alan Tracy, President.

Chris Kolstad (above), Ledger, MT, was elected Secretary-Treasurer of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) for fiscal year 2016/17. He will take office in July 2016 at the USW Board of Directors annual meeting in Fargo, ND.

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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. — The signing of the 12 nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) today in New Zealand marks another step toward putting the world’s largest free trade agreement into action. National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) welcome this step and now call for rapid consideration and eventual ratification of TPP by Congress.

“Wheat growers are “all-in” regarding the promise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” said NAWG President Brett Blankenship, a wheat farmer from Washtucna, Wa. “Expanding sales and market share are important pillars to help revitalize the wheat industry. Now, the ball is in Congress’ court and NAWG urges Congress to act quickly.”

A number of national and state wheat grower association members visited congressional offices this week to stress their support for the agreement. That is because wheat is the most export-dependent grain commodity grown by U.S. farmers. South Asia and Latin America represent growing, but highly competitive markets for our production. When implemented, TPP will have a significant positive impact on American wheat producers and on our country’s export supply industry.

“We need swift consideration and approval because every day that implementation is delayed, we face tariff disadvantages that undercut our ability to compete in established and new markets,” said USW Chairman Brian O’Toole, a wheat farmer from Crystal, N.D.

With duty-free access under its free trade agreement with Vietnam, for example, Australia currently enjoys a $12 to $15 per metric ton price advantage over U.S. wheat. U.S. wheat exports are at a tariff disadvantage in a number of other countries that want to join TPP but cannot apply for membership until after Congress and the governments of the 11 other countries ratify the agreement.

TPP is American agriculture’s platform for success in the expanding global market for years to come. As soon as possible after the implementing legislation is introduced, Congress should complete its reviews and take its up or down vote on TPP.

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/Foreign Agricultural Service. 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.

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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 – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) hires Gerardo “Gerry” Mendoza as Bakery Consultant to provide technical assistance and training to commercial bakeries and wheat food processors in the Republic of the Philippines. Mendoza works from USW’s Manila office and will train with long-time Bakery Consultant Boy Ng, who plans to retire later in 2016. USW is the export market development organization for the U.S. wheat industry.

“People in the Philippines are eating more bread and other wheat foods today,” said USW Assistant Regional Vice President Joe Sowers. “Gerry has exactly the kind of experience we need to continue our legacy of service to the wide range of commercial bakeries and end product manufacturers in this country. We are very pleased he is with us to keep demonstrating the value and performance of flour milled with U.S. wheat in the Philippines.”

Mendoza joins USW with 25 years of experience in the bakery ingredients industry, serving most recently as National Business Development Manager with AB Mauri. In his career, the Philippines native has managed production, served in sales positions and provided technical training and assistance to several key bakeries in the Philippines and around Southeast Asia. Mendoza earned a bachelor’s of science degree in industrial engineering from Adamson University, Manila.

Southeast Asia in general and the Philippines in particular have become one of the most important export markets in the world for U.S. wheat. Robust population and income growth are driving increased demand for wheat based foods. The burgeoning middle class has an increased ability to pay for high quality products, while end product manufacturer and consumer preferences give U.S. wheat classes a strong advantage.

The Philippines was the third largest buyer of U.S. wheat in the 2014/15 marketing year (June to May) and the second largest buyer of both soft white and hard red spring wheat classes. At about 88.1 million bushels (nearly 2.4 million metric tons), U.S wheat exports to the Philippines set a new record, representing a market share exceeding 91 percent of total Philippines milling wheat imports for the year. Overall, U.S. wheat exports face substantial headwinds in 2015/16, but sales to the Philippines are on a similar pace compared to last year at this time.

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/Foreign Agricultural Service. 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.

Gerry Mendoza

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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 – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) announces the retirement of Goris van Lit, Regional Director for Europe, the Former Soviet Union and Israel, and promotes Ian Flagg, Regional Director, who will add van Lit’s responsibilities and continue to direct activities in the Middle East and North Africa region effective Feb. 1, 2016. Based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, van Lit has worked for USW for 30 years. Flagg, who joined USW in 2005, is also based in Rotterdam and will now have responsibility for that office as well as offices in Moscow, Cairo and Casablanca. USW is the export market development organization for the U.S. wheat industry.

“As a part of our efforts to better align our resources, activities and staff with the realities of current market opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa, USW recently shifted responsibilities for some East African countries to our Sub-Saharan African regional office in Cape Town, South Africa, and transferred Ian to Rotterdam,” said USW Vice President of Overseas Operations Vince Peterson. “With Goris’ retirement, USW is taking the next step in this strategic realignment to more closely coordinate and concentrate our activities on high-quality market segments across the broader region.”

“We cannot thank Goris enough for his many years of dedicated service representing U.S. wheat farmers,” Peterson said. “I served with Goris in the region and saw firsthand the value of his market knowledge, stable management skills and unwavering advocacy for U.S. wheat. We will all miss working with him very much but we wish Goris and his wife Lilian a long and enjoyable retirement.

“Looking forward, Ian has proven his ability to analyze changing market conditions and identify the best opportunities for U.S. wheat exports first in Cairo, then Casablanca,” Peterson noted. “I am very confident that he will be equally effective with his expanded responsibilities.”

Goris van Lit was born and raised near Rotterdam and became fascinated early in life by the international commerce at its growing port and the seagoing vessels being built virtually next door. Studying analytical chemistry, his career started in laboratory analysis and product development for home goods before he joined Meneba Flour Mills. He also worked in cereal food research with the Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research before joining USW as a marketing specialist in 1986. Outside of work, van Lit has nurtured a life-long passion for automobiles and rally racing.

Minnesota native Ian Flagg served USW as Assistant Director, West Coast Office, Portland, OR, and as Market Analyst in the Headquarters office in Arlington, VA, before accepting a position in 2009 as Assistant Director for the Middle East, East and North Africa region in Cairo. He was promoted to Regional Director in 2014 and moved to Casablanca. Flagg has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Minnesota State University, Moorhead, and a master’s degree in Agribusiness and Applied Economics from North Dakota State University.

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/Foreign Agricultural Service. 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.

Goris Van Lit

Ian Flagg

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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 – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), the export market development organization for the U.S. wheat industry, is very pleased with the recent decision by WTO members to eliminate agricultural export subsidies.

Long banned for industrial goods, export subsidies are, along with guaranteed prices above world market levels and input subsidies, among the most harmful and distorting practices for world agricultural trade. Although the WTO already banned export subsidies for industrial goods, many member countries are still authorized to use agricultural export subsides. While authorized subsidies are rarely used anymore, agreeing to eliminate them is no small matter. For example, while the European Union, collectively the world’s largest wheat producer, no longer uses export subsidies it still has standby authority to do so. Other countries are using unauthorized export subsidies and should be challenged to prevent continued violations of current disciplines. Certainly, eliminating export subsidy authority at once for developed countries and by the end of 2018 for developing countries is a major step forward for world wheat trade.

USW is concerned, however, that the Nairobi Ministerial also reauthorized developing and least developed countries’ use of processing and transport subsidies for agricultural products, an authority that had expired in 2004. While this reauthorization is limited and temporary, it is still a step backward for agricultural trade similar to the setback of the 2013 Bali Declaration.

There were also changes in language affecting food aid and export credits, but our negotiators successfully defended U.S. practices in those areas. While further negotiations will take place on special safeguards and government food stockholding for developing and least developed countries, no commitment was made to continue the Doha Development Agenda as such, which we consider a positive outcome. It is long past time for countries to shelve the failed Doha negotiations and move on to more productive trade liberalization efforts to address the challenges of the 21st century.

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/Foreign Agricultural Service. 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.

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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.