ARLINGTON, Virginia — Several representatives from the U.S. wheat industry joined members of the Japan Flour Millers Association to help celebrate the association’s 70th anniversary in Tokyo on Jan. 23, 2018. Senior managers from U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), as well as state wheat commission representatives and farmers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana participated in events commemorating the anniversary.
Japan has purchased significantly more U.S. wheat than any other country since 1949, when the Oregon Wheat Growers League first organized a trade delegation to investigate opportunities for expanding U.S. wheat sales there.
Today, the Japanese domestic milling and wheat foods industries are highly advanced and demand consistent, high quality wheat and flour. USW Chairman Mike Miller, of Ritzville, Wash., told members of the association that U.S. farmers are very proud to supply much of that wheat every year.
“It is good to know that our wheat is an essential ingredient in the wonderful wheat foods the Japanese people enjoy — and an essential ingredient in the success of these flour millers,” Miller said. “I reassured them that to honor their achievements, farmers will continue to invest in trade service and technical support in Japan, and to improve the quality and wholesomeness of our wheat to meet their needs in the future.”
“It was a great pleasure to congratulate the association’s Chairman, Mr. Masayuki Kondo, President of the Japan Flour Millers Association, and the members of the association in person on their important anniversary,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “We were also able to thank our respected friend and colleague, Mr. Masaaki Kadota, who is retiring after many years serving as the association’s Executive Director.”
With support from state wheat commissions and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, USW focuses on providing up-to-date market information and collaborating with Japanese industry groups to demonstrate the quality and value of U.S. wheat. The mills provide purchase specifications to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry (MAFF) based on the strict characteristics their wheat food customers demand. Japanese grain trade organizations act as intermediaries between MAFF and overseas sellers. Then MAFF carries out all milling wheat purchases and sells the wheat to Japanese flour mills.
“It is difficult to express how much we value our partnership with Japan’s flour millers and the rest of the wheat foods industries,” Peterson said. “We have developed a deep level of trust by maintaining an open dialogue with them. That has been so important to our mutually beneficial, long-term trading relationship and we confirmed our commitment to continue our partnership in that spirit.”
U.S. farmers continue to earn the largest market share in this well-established and quality conscious wheat market. MAFF issues consistent weekly tenders for U.S. hard red spring (HRS), hard red winter (HRW) and Western White, a blend of soft white (SW) and up to 20 percent club wheat. As a result, Japan has purchased an average of 3.1 million metric tons (about 114 million bushels) of wheat annually the past five years.
Also honoring the association at events in Japan were: wheat farmers Bill Flory of Culdesac, Idaho., Walter Powell of Condon, Ore., and Darren Padget of Grass Valley, Ore.; Damon Filan, manager of Tri-Cities Grain, LLC in Pasco, Wash.; Glen Squires, chief executive officer of the Washington Grain Commission; Michelle Hennings, executive director of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers; Collin Watters, executive vice president of the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee; Mark Fowler, USW vice president of overseas operations; Mr. Wataru “Charlie” Utsunomiya, USW/Japan country director; and Ms. Sadako Ishida, USW/Japan program assistant.
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities are funded by producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and USDA Foreign Agricultural Service cost-share programs. For more information, visit www.uswheat.org or contact your state wheat commission.
PHOTO CAPTION (High resolution image posted online):
Mr. Masayuki Kondo (center), Chairman of the Japan Flour Millers Association and President of Nippon Flour Mills, accepts a gift recognizing the association’s 70th anniversary from Mike Miller (third from right), Chairman of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and a wheat farmer from Ritzville, Wash., and Vince Peterson (second from right), President of USW. Behind Mr. Kondo is Mr. Masaaki Kadota, who is retiring after many years as the association’s Executive Director. Mr. Wataru Utsunomiya (far right), USW Country Director for Japan, served as interpreter at the ceremony Jan. 23, 2018, at the association’s headquarters in Tokyo, Japan.
TOP PHOTO CAPTION (High resolution image posted online):
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and U.S. wheat industry representatives joined Mr. Chairman, Mr. Masayuki Kondo (holding a ceremonial gift plate), Nippon Flour Mills President and Chairman of the Japan Flour Millers Association, to celebrate the association’s 70th anniversary Jan. 23, 2018, in Tokyo, Japan.
Members of the U.S. delegation included (front row, left to right): Glen Squires (third from left), Washington Grain Commission CEO; Vince Peterson (fourth from left), USW President; Mike Miller (sixth from left), USW Chairman and a wheat farmer from Ritzville, Wash. (Back row, left to right): Walter Powell (fifth from left), a wheat farmer from Condon, Ore.; Collin Watters, Montana Wheat and Barley Committee Executive Vice President; Bill Flory, a wheat farmer from Culdesac, Idaho; Darren Padget, a wheat farmer from Grass Valley, Ore.; Michelle Hennings, Washington Association of Wheat Growers Executive Director; and Damon Filan, manager of Tri-Cities Grain, LLC in Pasco, Wash. Not pictured, Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Overseas Operations, and Ms. Sadako Ishida, USW/Japan Program Director.
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