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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) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) welcome the announcement that the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States agreed to a five-year moratorium on retaliatory tariffs for large civil aircraft subsidies. This break suspends the retaliatory tariffs levied on non-durum U.S. wheat imports by the UK. The agreement is similar to one struck earlier this week between the United States and the European Union (EU). This long-running dispute at the World Trade Organization allowed the UK and EU the right to impose tariffs on non-durum U.S. wheat imports, which mainly impacted U.S. hard red spring and some hard red winter wheat.

“The wheat industry is thankful for President Biden and Ambassador Tai’s commitment to prioritize the trade relationships between the United States, European Union, and now the United Kingdom,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “The five-year truce announced on Tuesday with the EU and yesterday with the UK removes a significant trade barrier on wheat exports and provides long-term certainty for wheat growers in the upper Midwest.”

USW President Vince Peterson noted that this agreement provides the basis for an open dialogue on trade that hopefully will also pre-empt the use of retaliatory tariffs in the still unresolved steel and aluminum dispute between the United States and the UK.

About U.S. Wheat Associates
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.

About the National Association of Wheat Growers
NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national level. NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) congratulate the Biden Administration and U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai for resolving the long-running World Trade Organization dispute over aircraft subsidies and suspending retaliatory tariffs that were a barrier to U.S. wheat exports to the European Union.

Under the aircraft dispute, the EU placed retaliatory tariffs on non-durum U.S. wheat, which effectively blocked average annual imports of more than 538,000 metric tons of mainly U.S. hard red spring and some hard red winter wheat. Three months ago, the United States and the EU agreed to temporarily suspend all retaliatory tariffs and imports resumed almost immediately.

The agreement announced this week suspends the retaliatory tariffs for five years, pending how negotiations on aircraft subsidies go. That is welcome news for wheat farm families in the Northern and Central Plains.

For more information, visit the USW website.

About U.S. Wheat Associates
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.

About the National Association of Wheat Growers
NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national level. NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.

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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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WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) welcome the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Katherine Tai today as the next U.S. Trade Representative. During the confirmation hearing process, Tai said she understands the values and rules that guide global commerce and the importance of enforcing those terms “vigorously.”

Most encouraging is Tai’s past work as a chief enforcer against China’s unfair trade practices under the Obama Administration and involvement in final negotiations for the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). Tai addressed these topics during her confirmation process.

“I know firsthand how critically important it is that we have a strategic and coherent plan for holding China accountable to its promises and effectively competing with its model of state-directed economics,” said Tai. “I know the opportunities and limitations in our existing toolbox.”

“Tai’s confirmation comes at a crucial time for U.S. wheat trade,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “After seeing early, encouraging returns on the Phase One agreement with China, we are looking ahead as the WTO moves to the compliance phase of the 2019 dispute case won by the United States against China’s unfair administration of their grain tariff rate quotas. U.S. wheat farmers will also want Tai to hold China to the additional enforcement language in the Phase One agreement.”

“We appreciate the bipartisan support from the Senate in confirming Ms. Katherine Tai to this important position,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “Fair and clear access to international markets is crucial for U.S. wheat farmers, and we look forward to working with her and her team on taking an aggressive stance on prioritizing agricultural trade efforts.”

About U.S. Wheat Associates
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.

About the National Association of Wheat Growers
NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national level. NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and welcome the announcement that the European Union and the United States have mutually agreed to a four-month suspension of tariffs related to the World Trade Organization (WTO) aircraft disputes. This break removes the tariff barrier on U.S. hard red spring wheat imports by EU countries.

Following is a joint statement from USW President Vince Peterson and NAWG CEO Chandler Goule:

“We want to thank the Biden Administration and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative for reaching this agreement. Our organizations encourage both parties to come to a long-term resolution to avoid future tariffs and supply chain disruptions.”

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About U.S. Wheat Associates
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.

About NAWG
NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national levels. From their offices on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.

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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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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) are pleased with the bipartisan U.S. Senate vote today approving the appointment of former Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to that important post again under the Biden-Harris Administration.

“We welcome Secretary Vilsack’s return to USDA in a year that is projected to see record U.S. agricultural exports,” said USW President Vince Peterson, who currently serves on the USDA Agricultural Policy Advisory Committee for Trade. “We look forward to working with him again to continue building on the successful export market development partnership between U.S. wheat farmers and USDA.”

“NAWG applauds the Senate for its timely consideration and strong bipartisan support for confirming Secretary Tom Vilsack to lead the USDA once again,” said NAWG CEO Chandler Goule. “Like many farmers across the country, wheat growers are facing economic challenges, and we are pleased to see the Senate and President work to fill these leadership positions at the USDA with qualified candidates, so we can continue to work on policy that benefits rural America. Secretary Vilsack is uniquely qualified to head up the USDA, having served there previously, and has an exceptional understanding of agricultural and rural issues. We look forward to working with him and continuing to build our relationship with the USDA.”

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About U.S. Wheat Associates 
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.

About NAWG
NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national levels. From their offices on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.

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ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has created a new film titled “Wholesome: The Journey of U.S. Wheat” that shows how the dependable people along the export supply system maintain the U.S. wheat export reliability and its wholesome character. USW will premiere the film at 1:00 p.m. EST, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021, on its Facebook page at this link: https://bit.ly/WholesomePremiere

“In our organization’s mission to promote U.S. wheat exports, our representatives focus on the consistently high quality of our supplies,” said USW Vice President of Communications Steve Mercer. “Through this film, the people at every step of the journey to export tell their own stories about how they thoughtfully produce new varieties, care for the land and the crop, and handle the wheat responsively to ensure it meets customer needs. This is an educational program that makes the stunning beauty of the land and the emotional attachment of these dependable people to the industry a key part of the story.”

The 25-minute film was produced in cooperation with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service and Federal Grain Inspection Service, state wheat commissions, local elevators and export elevators. It will be available to 13 overseas USW offices for use at seminars, courses and trade events and serve as the foundation of new messages informing world wheat buyers and users about U.S. wheat export reliability and quality throughout 2021.

“In 2020, we celebrated our 40th year operating as U.S. Wheat Associates by telling our authentic story—that behind the world’s most reliable supply of wheat are the world’s most dependable people,” Mercer said. “Functional quality is a crucial part of that reliability and the people play such an important role in maintaining quality, we wanted them to help remind our customers about why U.S. wheat is so valuable.”

USW will also produce individual short subject programs covering chapters featured in the film. Each of these programs will be available for viewing later this year on the USW website, www.uswheat.org, and on the organization’s Vimeo page at https://vimeo.com/uswheatassociates.

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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Washington, D.C. – Today, the House of Representatives passed the United States Grain Standards Reauthorization Act (GSA) of 2020, S. 4054. The National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) applauds both the House and Senate for their bipartisan work to move the bill forward and reauthorize the GSA through September 30, 2025. NAWG and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) have worked collaboratively over the last year and a half to identify priorities for the reauthorization process, given the critical importance of the United States’ weighing and inspection system to our competitiveness in the world market.

“With our farmers facing tough economic challenges, including several years of low commodity prices and headwinds blowing against overseas demand, it is critically important that we at least maintain a smooth grain inspection system. We applaud Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate for working together to get this piece of legislation passed by the end of the year,” said NAWG President and Cass City, Mich., farmer Dave Milligan. “To maintain a properly functioning grain inspection system, NAWG encourages the President to sign this bill into law before the closing of 2020.”

Dave Milligan, NAWG President

“This law and our system of standardized, independent grain inspection makes U.S. wheat more valuable,” said USW Chairman Darren Padget, a wheat farmer from Grass Valley, Ore. “The proof of that came this year when many of our overseas buyers expressed a real concern that the pandemic would interrupt our supply chain and Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) inspections.”  

Darren Padget, USW Chairman

The Grain Standards Act serves a critical role in exporting grains and oilseeds, including U.S. wheat, of which about 50 percent is exported each year. The grain inspection system assures overseas buyers that an independent agency has certified shipments to their contracted specifications. This objective certification adds a competitive advantage to U.S. wheat and other commodities that helps maintain and grow export markets. 

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About U.S. Wheat Associates
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. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org 

About NAWG
NAWG is the primary policy representative in Washington D.C. for wheat growers, working to ensure a better future for America’s growers, the industry and the general public. NAWG works with a team of 20 state wheat grower organizations to benefit the wheat industry at the national levels. From their offices on Capitol Hill, NAWG’s staff members are in constant contact with state association representatives, NAWG grower leaders, Members of Congress, Congressional staff members, Administration officials and the public.