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U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) links overseas customers directly to the wheat they purchase and to the farmers who grow it by sponsoring participants at short courses, bringing trade delegations to the United States, creating end-product seminars and sending experts overseas. USW and the world’s wheat buyers are fortunate to work with world-class educational partners including Northern Crops Institute (NCI), IGP Institute and Wheat Marketing Center.

This week, Northern Crops Institute announced a series of market update webinars on topics that should be valuable to overseas customers and stakeholders here in the United States. Following are webinar descriptions, dates, times and registration information.

“July World Agricultural Supply and Demand Update Featuring Tregg Cronin,” Wednesday, July 21, 2021, 08:00 Central Daylight Time (CDT)

Portrait of Tregg Cronin, speaker at a Northern Crops Institute webinar

Tregg Cronin, Market Analyst, Halo Commodities, and contributing analyst to DTN/Progressive Farmer.

Tregg Cronin is a fourth-generation farmer and rancher from Gettysburg, S.D., as well as a contributing analyst to DTN/Progressive Farmer. Tregg graduated from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN in 2009 before working for agriculture cooperative CHS, Inc. With CHS, Tregg worked in the company’s grain marketing division as well as its commodity brokerage, CHS Hedging. Currently Tregg is a Contributing Analyst to DTN/Progressive Farmer. Tregg farms with his wife Sara and son Morgan as well as his father, uncles and cousins in what is truly a family farming operation.

Click here to register.

“2021 Hard Spring and Durum Wheat Tour Featuring Dave Green,” Thursday, July 29, 2021, 14:30 CDT

Portrait of Dave Green, Wheat Quality Council, speaker at a Northern Crops Institute webinar

Dave Green, Executive Director, Wheat Quality Council.

The Wheat Quality Council Hard Spring and Durum Wheat Tour will wrap up early the afternoon of July 29. This webinar will give the post survey results and give people a view of the situation on the ground as Northern Plains farmers deal with a devastating drought. Dave Green from the Wheat Quality Council will be with us to discuss the 2021 Hard Spring and Durum Wheat Tour. His presentation will include a review of the tour, what was viewed on the tour, estimated yield potential, and more.

Click here to register.

“Challenges and Opportunities in Global Agricultural Trade and Competition Featuring Dr. William W. Wilson,” Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021, 08:00 CDT.

Portrait of Dr. William Wilson, Professor, Agribusiness and Applied Economics, NDSU, speaker at Northern Crops Institute webinar.

Dr. William Wilson, Professor, Agribusiness and Applied Economics, NDSU.

Dr. Wilson is a distinguished Professor, Agribusiness and Applied Economics, at North Dakota State University (NDSU). Dr. Wilson has spent his career working with the global grain trade on everything from global futures, cash, and derivative markets, transportation, logistics, technology, and biotech. He was recently selected by NDSU to present the 60th annual faculty lectureship which is one of NDSU’s oldest and most prestigious awards. It recognizes sustained professional excellence in teaching, scholarly achievement and service among current faculty at NDSU. The honor is conferred on an individual who has demonstrated excellence in all three areas. The title of Dr. Wilson’s lecture is: “Challenges and Opportunities in Global Agricultural Trade and Competition” which includes a lifetime of research, thoughts, and observations. Dr. Wilson was instrumental in developing NCI’s procurement course that has benefitted so many U.S. wheat customers around the world.

Click here to register.

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The IGP Institute serves Kansas and U.S. agriculture through its global education center housed in the Grain Science Complex on the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan. Its mission is to provide technical, research-based training benefiting industry professionals globally and enhancing the market preference for U.S. grains and oilseeds. The emphasis is on educational and technical programs supporting promotion and export market development efforts.

From Feb. 25 to 27, 2020, four colleagues from U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) participated in an IGP short course on flour milling for wheat commissioners (farmers and grain trade representatives who serve on the boards of state wheat commissions) and staff.  IGP tries to hold this course annually to educate members of the U.S. wheat industry in the basic principles of flour milling through classroom lecture and hands-on practical training in the Kansas State University milling and baking laboratories and the Hal Ross Flour Mill.

Here is an inside look at this fun and very enlightening course that has built, and will continue to build, greater empathy for and connections with overseas flour milling and wheat food processors among U.S. wheat farmers and grain traders.

Participants in the 2020 milling short course were (left to right around the table): Mark Fowler, Vice President of Global Technical Services, USW , and co-instructor; Amanda Hoey, Chief Executive Officer, Oregon Wheat Commission, Portland, Ore.; Nathan Larson, a wheat farmer and Kansas Wheat Commissioner, Manhattan, Kan., ; Lance Adams, Merchandising Manager, Team Marketing Alliance, Moundridge, Kan.; Steve Mercer, Vice President of Communications, USW; Jason Middleton, Oregon Wheat Commissioner and PNW Regional Manager, United Grain Corp., Umatilla, Ore.; Dana Tuckness, a wheat farmer and Oregon Wheat Commissioner, Ontario, Ore.; Shelby Knisley, Director of Policy, USW; Scott Yates, Director of Communications and Membership, Washington Grain Commission, Spokane, Wash.; Claire Hutchins, Market Analyst, USW; Brian Cochrane, a wheat farmer and Washington Grain Commissioner, Kahlotus, Wash.; Aaron Harries, Vice President of Research and Operations, Kansas Wheat, Manhattan, Kan.; Shawn Thiele, Interim Associate Director/Flour Milling and Grain Processing Curriculum Manager, IGP Institute, and co-instructor.

 

 

Mark Fowler counsels his colleagues Shelbi Knisley and Claire Hutchins on adjusting laboratory mills in K-State’s Shellenberger Hall in a section of the course demonstrating basic milling processes. Hutchins is adjusting the break roll gap on the lab mill.

 

Measuring and adjusting “Break Release” to balance the milling system is a basic skill for flour millers. Here in the Hal Ross Flour Mill, Shawn Thiele explains how weighing stock from 1st break rolls, sifting and comparing the weight of the resulting flour (“through material”) measures the percentage of break stock released.

 

Comparing particle size and color of “through” material from the break, purification and reduction systems clearly show the fine-tuned effort at each step in the milling process to extract as much usable flour as possible from cleaned and tempered wheat stock.

 

Participants in the short course learned about the wide range of flour qualities and byproducts produced in the milling process. This sample table was prepared for course participants by students at K-State working toward bachelor’s degrees in milling science and management.

 

One wheat does not fit all. Preparing and baking sugar snap cookies (biscuits), yellow cakes and pan breads using different flour products helped the course participants better understand flour functionality and the crucial wheat quality component for end-product processors around the world. Aaron Clanton, left, Bakers National Education Foundation (BNEF) Instructor at K-State, and several Bakery Science students led the participants through an enjoyable morning in the K-State bakery lab.

 

 

 

 

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U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is applying Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program funding to hold “Cereal Chemistry Seminars” in 2020 for the milling industries across several countries that are growing in sophistication to meet expanding demand for wheat foods. USW believes that with a more complete understanding of the functional value of wheat proteins, carbohydrates and other properties, flour milling quality control managers will have additional information with which to evaluate the high-quality characteristics of U.S. wheat compared to competing supplies.

To provide the knowledge that will help these managers fully understand the end-use value of U.S. wheat supplies, USW has developed a comprehensive seminar that will be conducted over the next two years in several markets. One of the topics to be covered in the seminars is Solvent Retention Capacity (SRC) analysis of flour (photo above Copyright © Chopin Technologies).

USW believes that the evidence is strong supporting SRC as the most effective method for evaluating the true performance characteristics in flour for biscuits (cookies), crackers and cakes, as well as many hard wheat flour applications, is testing for. The SRC Method was created by scientists to identity the important components of wheat flour that affect end-product cost and productivity for cookie and cracker manufacturing. SRC testing reveals that U.S. wheat has strong “character.” In other words, it functions effectively and produces desirable end-products without heavy additive manipulation.

In a brief video, Bongil (Bon) Lee, operations manager with the Wheat Marketing Center in Portland, Ore., describes the basic functions of SRC flour analysis. Click here to view the video.

USW anticipates that after the seminars, participants will have enhanced skills, like being able to use SRC analysis, to assist co-workers, suppliers and customers in developing new formulations requiring more specific flours and increased volumes of U.S. wheat classes. Participants will gain expertise in flour analysis and the importance of specifications required in large production bakeries. And quality control staff will have enough technical capabilities to defend the functional value of high-quality flour from U.S. wheat.

By funding opportunities like Cereal Chemistry Seminars, ATP, an export market development program administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service, is helping USW continue to give flour milling and baking managers the information they need to meet demanding consumer needs in their local markets while building a preference for U.S. wheat supplies.

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By Catherine Miller, USW Program and Planning Coordinator

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) believes customer engagement, supply chain transparency and accessible global market information are the building blocks for robust relationships with U.S. wheat customers.

USW often partners with organizations that offer a variety of short courses related to the global wheat supply chain and processing industries, providing the opportunity for customer engagement and education. These partners include Northern Crops Institute (NCI) at North Dakota State University (NDSU) in Fargo, N.D., IGP Institute at Kansas State University (KSU) in Manhattan, K.S., and Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) in Portland, Oregon.

In 2019, USW sponsored 81 participants from Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe at eight short courses and four workshops at IGP, NCI and WMC.

USW Market Analyst with NCI’s Brian Sorenson during the 2019 Grain Procurement short course. Read more about this course here: https://bit.ly/2kGGM7a 

In addition, USW staff and consulting experts who may be associated with the educational partner organizations, conduct such courses or workshops. Funding for the educational service is provided primarily by export market development programs directed by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

Wherever they are held, these courses are focused on helping customers better understand the U.S. grain marketing system from farm to port, U.S. wheat classes and risk management needed to ensure future purchases provide the best value. With the different courses offered, USW can serve participants from such diverse backgrounds as millers, bakers, end-product manufacturers and buyers.

A core educational program that USW offers is the “Contracting for Value Workshop.” It is designed to help customers gain greater knowledge of supply chain management challenges and opportunities to write tenders for U.S. wheat that will yield the greatest return on their investment.

While this workshop is typically hosted at one of the U.S. educational organizations, this year USW’s team in the Mexico, Central America and Caribbean Region decided to hold workshops in Mexico City and Chihuahua, Mexico. Agricultural Economics Professor Frayne Olson of North Dakota State University, who supports short courses held at NCI, joined USW staff to conduct the workshops in October 2019.

USW Vice President Steve Wirsching presenting in Chihuahua, Mexico

“By doing the workshops in-country, USW staff and consultants could meet with the entire management teams at two different mills in a week,” said Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann, USW Assistant Regional Director. “Having the general managers and owners as well as the production, storage, quality and purchasing staff all together was invaluable because while they were learning about U.S. wheat quality, we also could see consensus being built on the specifications as the teams identified the wheat characteristics that had the most value for them.”

This commitment to customer service before and after U.S. wheat is imported is one of the unique legacies represented by USW’s partnership with farmers, the U.S. government, state wheat commissions and our educational partner organizations.

Header Photo Caption: Contracting for Value Workshop in Chihuahua, Mexico

2019 Contracting for Wheat Value team from China in Montana.

NCI Pasta Production and Tech Course

Philippine-Korean Bakery Workshop at the Wheat Marketing Center.

 

2019 Grain Purchasing short course at the IGP Institute.

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By Michael Anderson, USW Assistant Director, West Coast Office

Reading the directions on the back of a cake mix box and adding the ingredients step by step may seem simple enough but it is no easy feat to ensure the consumer ends up with a consistent cake from box to box. How do baked good brands stay the same store to store, how does a cake get its perfect lofted middle, how do crackers keep their shape? The answer is simple: from science. Yet the means of getting there is anything but simple.

Two familiar names leading the discussion on U.S. wheat quality characteristics and versatility through education and training are Dr. Jayne Bock, Technical Director, and Dr. Lingzhu Deng, Food Scientist, of the Wheat Marketing Center, Portland, Oregon.

Dr. Jayne Bock, Technical Director, Wheat Marketing Center

Both Dr. Bock and Dr. Deng have food science backgrounds and roots in farming. Dr. Bock grew up in Kansas where her family had a wheat farm and Dr. Deng grew up helping her uncles on their rice farm in Southern China. Deng said that the poor growing practices in the area inspired her to find a better way which as an accomplished cereal scientist, she has.

Dr. Lingzhu Deng, Food Scientist, Wheat Marketing Center

These scientists say they enjoy research and academia, which is key to a job tasked with improving end-product quality. Their role at the Wheat Marketing Center is to improve the understanding of wheat functionality and end use characteristics. They assist overseas customers with hands-on opportunities, allowing visiting technical teams to objectively judge the quality and functionality of a given product.

Many markets that purchase U.S. wheat are well developed with a sophisticated knowledge of what characteristics they are looking for. Those customers however, may be interested in new food trends and the ingredients needed to produce them. Technicians from markets where demand for wheat foods is still less developed may not be as aware of the importance of functionality as it relates to end-product quality or cost. Bock and Deng are eager to help customers develop the answers they seek.

Many experienced bakers know that quality products start with quality flour. Flour from a strong, extensible hard wheat is great for bread, but a mellower soft wheat makes the best cake flour. High ash content may make good bread products, but you do not want it in your cake. Selecting the right flour ingredient is complicated, so it makes sense that it takes highly trained PhDs to help build the practical knowledge needed for any type of product.

As wheat food demand sets new records across the globe almost every year, businesses look for ways to make more products that are attractive to more consumer market segments. Automation has become an increasingly important component of the baking industry and, as bakers try to keep up with and expand demand for their products, knowledge of wheat quality characteristics and consistency becomes more important.

Dr. Jayne Bock discussing wheat quality and sustainable production at the 2019 USW World Staff Conference.

There is a lot of thought that goes into something that seems as simple as a cake or a pizza. At the Wheat Marketing Center, it takes two PhDs plus a successful support staff to help keep the wheat flour and foods industry advancing and help U.S. wheat customers around the world develop a more sophisticated understanding of ingredients and processing. It is an understanding that Dr. Bock and Dr. Deng are eager to share.

Dr. Lingzhu Deng is a Food Scientist at the Wheat Marketing Center.

For more information about how the Wheat Marketing Center provides training opportunities and product development assistance, visit its website at https://www.wmcinc.org/. In addition, you can read a U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) profile of the Wheat Marketing Center online at https://bit.ly/2MPSOYw.

Wheat food products to illustrate Wheat Industry News

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is supported by a highly successful public-private partnership that includes 17 state wheat commissions. Wheat producers contribute a portion of their wheat sales (either by bushel or by production value and known as a “checkoff” program) to their state wheat commission and contribute a portion of the checkoff to join USW. On average, U.S. wheat farmers contribute about one third of a penny per bushel ($0.0032) to USW. In return, USW’s works closely with its state wheat commission members to carry out its mission “to develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.”

On the state level, these commissions invest funds in various educational projects and ongoing communications efforts to support wheat farmers and engage with consumers, domestically and overseas. We thank USW state commission members’ commitment to building demand for U.S. wheat and highlight some of their activities and resources here.

  • Find more information about the Arizona Grain Research & Promotion Council’s news and activities here.

 

 

  • The Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee posts weekly crop progress reports on its website and other news and activities on Facebook and Twitter.

 

  • By using the registered tagline ‘Quality wheat simply grown’ and a new, more modern logo, Idaho wheat farmers are connecting on a more personal level with consumers who want to know their food is grown naturally on family farms. Visit the Idaho Wheat website here and follow its news and activities on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Oklahoma Wheat Commission recently partnered with the Oklahoma State University Food & Agricultural Products Center for a day-long event called All You Knead to Know – An Artisan and Grain Workshop. The new, annual event walked participants through the journey wheat goes on from field to fork. Read more about this event here and stay up to date with the commission’s other news and activities on Facebook.

 

  • The Oregon Wheat Commission is showcasing wheat growers and Oregon State University (OSU) researchers through videos to help connect consumers to agriculture. The first video features Dr. Hagerty from the Columbia Basin Agricultural Research Center (CBARC) in Pendleton, Ore. View the video here and follow along with the commission’s other new and activities on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

 

  • The “Wheat All About It” weekly podcast, hosted by the Washington Grain Commission, features guests from all over the U.S. wheat industry discussing important current issues. Listen to the podcast here. The commission also shares its news and activities on Facebook and Twitter.

 

  • Find more information about the Wyoming Wheat Marketing Commission’s news and activities here.
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The Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) recently announced the selection of Dr. Jayne Bock as its new Technical Director. Starting in late October, Dr. Bock will lead WMC’s research and technical training efforts focused on demonstrating the value of U.S. wheat produced across the country.

WMC Managing Director Janice Cooper said, “Dr. Bock was selected after a lengthy international search. She possesses an excellent set of research skills, technical expertise and communication abilities that will help move WMC programs in new and exciting directions.” Cooper is particularly pleased that Bock has a depth of experience with soft wheat quality and end products, including crackers and biscuits.

Bock is an experience research leader with a specialty in grain and flour quality. Bock earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in food science at Kansas State University and her Ph.D. in Food Science at University of Wisconsin-Madison. She spent several years at the University of Guelph as an Adjunct Professor and, more recently, as Global Technical Leader with Brabender Instruments, as well as a consultant with Chopin Technologies. Bock is also active in wheat industry associations, including AACCI, and has co-authored an impressive list of refereed publications.

“I enjoy the challenge of communicating complicated technical issues to diverse audiences and am very excited to be joining the WMC team,” said Bock.

WMC Board Chairperson Bill Flory, an Idaho wheat grower, looks forward to welcoming Bock at the WMC board meeting Oct. 18 in Portland, Ore. “WMC’s technical expertise in research and product development is highly respected around the world. Dr. Bock’s background and experience are an excellent fit to help WMC meet the evolving challenges of our customers and wheat producers,” said Flory. “Jayne will be a great addition to our existing group of dedicated professionals.”

Created in 1988, WMC is technical crossroads of the wheat world linking wheat producers, consumers, millers and end product manufacturers. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) works with this educational partner to identify U.S. wheat market needs and provides technical training courses for customers. The two organizations also work together every year to provide crop quality analysis and data for soft white (SW) and hard white (HW) wheat. Read more about this partnership here.

Everyone at USW wishes Dr. Bock the best of luck in this new position and are looking forward to working with her.

For more information about the Wheat Marketing Center visit www.wmcinc.org.

Dr. Jayne Bock

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By Amanda J. Spoo, USW Assistant Director of Communications

Global demand for wheat food grows stronger every year, making exports vitally important to U.S. wheat farmers. As the export market development organization for the U.S. wheat industry, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) works 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. USW relies on its successful working relationships with world-class educational partners that enhance its technical and trade service assistance to help separate U.S. wheat from its competitors. One of those partners is the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) in Portland, Ore.

Located in the historic Albers Mill Building, WMC is a research and educational bridge between U.S. wheat farmers and their customers, dedicated to making the link between quality wheat and quality end products.

“Consumer tastes are evolving in domestic and international markets,” said Janice Cooper, WMC Managing Director. “WMC’s programs demonstrate how U.S. wheat can be used to meet changing consumer demand with products that are nutritious and cost competitive.”

In the mid-1980s, several state wheat commissions saw a need for a research and training facility that would help U.S. wheat customers understand how to best utilize U.S. wheat. With the help of the late Oregon Senator Mark Hatfield – who helped secure a federal grant to renovate the Albers Mill Building – WMC opened in 1988. Its charter members, state wheat commissions from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska and the Port of Portland, as well as five additional industry members, make up its board leadership. The building is also home to the Oregon Wheat Commission, Federal Grain Inspection Service and the USW West Coast Office.

WMC programming focuses on three pillars: technical training, research and crop quality testing.

Every year, USW identifies U.S. wheat market needs and works in partnership with WMC to provide technical training courses focused on addressing those topics. In 2018, USW is sponsoring customers from two of its eight marketing regions at WMC courses focused on noodle technology, frozen dough, baking products and contracting for wheat value.

“Earlier this year, the USW Taiwan Office brought a team to the Wheat Marketing Center to study flour quality for making different frozen dough products for the Taiwan baking industry,” said Sophia (Shu-ying) Yang, USW Asian Products/Nutrition Technologist. “The great facilities and experienced support staff and speakers helped make the course successful and met the objectives of the Taiwan millers.”

WMC also hosts a variety of other technical training courses, including independent courses that it organizes itself, partnerships with other entities and custom proprietary company courses.

In addition to technical training, WMC is involved in innovative research and product development.

“We identify research projects based on market need and market opportunity,” said Cooper. “If there is a challenge with the wheat harvest, we identify what research can be done to help navigate U.S. wheat customers through those challenges. Likewise, we study market demand and look for opportunities to help the industry move in new directions with new products.”

WMC uses its several pilot scale lines to give participants a hands-on experience.

“From crackers to Asian noodles and cookies to a full baking lab, we have the ability to make a wide array of wheat products in house,” said Cooper. “This equipment is the perfect size to link what is done in a research and development lab and a full scale food production facility, which is ideal for research, training and product development.”

Testing the quality of the crop is also an important service WMC provides. Each year it tests the quality of the Pacific Northwest (PNW) harvest and makes those results available in weekly reports on its website, as well as in USW’s weekly harvest report. It is responsible for the soft white (SW) and hard white (HW) wheat analysis featured in the annual USW Crop Quality Report, as well as an additional, more extensive SW report.

While many of its programs are focused on U.S. wheat customers, it is also important for the WMC to share why striving for better wheat quality is important and at the root its mission. Throughout the year, WMC hosts several grower workshops and programs for other visiting food and agriculture groups.

“The best way to explain what we do and why is for people to visit,” said Cooper. “With the other wheat industry partners in our building and our proximity to the many export elevators here, it makes visiting the Wheat Marketing Center a well-rounded opportunity.”

For those in search of more information in lieu of a visit, the WMC website serves as a gateway for valuable multi-media resources on research, the facility’s equipment, crop quality and testing. Ultimately, Cooper wants U.S. wheat farmers and customers to understand how WMC is helping the industry continue to move forward.

“We are unique because our focus is on end products, technology and giving customers a hands-on opportunity to take products made with a control flour that they are already using and compare it side by side with U.S. wheat and see the difference for themselves,” said Cooper. “Customers leave with a better appreciation of how valuable U.S. wheat really is and an understanding of the commitment made by U.S. wheat farmers to provide the flour they need to make the highest quality end products they are looking for.”

Learn more about the Wheat Marketing Center and its programming and services at https://www.wmcinc.org/.

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By Amanda J. Spoo, USW Assistant Director of Communications

Global demand for wheat food grows stronger every year, making exports vitally important to U.S. wheat farmers. As the export market development organization for the U.S. wheat industry, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) works 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. USW relies on its successful working relationships with world-class educational partners that, through courses, workshops and seminars, enhance the technical and trade service assistance to help separate U.S. wheat from its competitors. One of those partners is AIB International (AIB) in Manhattan, Kan.

AIB was founded in 1919 as a technology and information center for bakers and food processors. Its mission is to empower the global food industry to elevate their food safety and grain-based production capabilities. AIB’s staff includes experts in baking production, experimental baking, cereal science, nutrition, food safety and hygiene. While most of its training occurs at its United States headquarters office, both AIB’s physical and virtual overseas offices are involved in coordinating its food safety services as well as public and private training on location.

“AIB has evolved as a company, but that educational piece of our mission has remained at the core of everything we do,” said Brian Strouts, AIB Vice President of Baking and Food Technical Services.

In 2018, USW is sponsoring participants from Japan, China and Hong Kong at AIB courses focused on variety breads and rolls, and baking science and technology. USW Technical Specialist Dr. Ting Liu recently completed the Baking Science and Technology Resident Course, an intensive, 16-week residency held twice a year that combines science, hands-on lab work and baking tradition. Liu shares her first-hand experience at the course in the story (The AIB Baking Science and Technology Course: A Pathway to Success) below.

Participants learn how key ingredients function and interact in baked products, which processes are critical to finished products, sound manufacturing practices and how to manage the production process. The course is accredited by the Kansas Board of Regents, so participants who pass it also receive 60 IACET (International Association for Continuing Education and Training) continuing education units.

“This course is the capstone of our baking training programs and holds quite a bit of weight in the industry because of its historical significance,” said Strouts. “This most recent class to graduate was class 192, and the true value of this certificate is the knowledge of the students who came before them in classes 1 through 191, and what that experience means to them individually and to their organizations.”

AIB also offers an extensive database of online resources, webinars and guides, both free and for purchase. This includes several resources focused on helping bakeries address key elements of the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act.

USW recognizes the value of sending both its own staff and U.S. wheat customers to AIB for training. Strouts explained that the key component of AIB’s relationship with USW is the international perspective from the participants that USW sponsors.

“Our courses — especially one as long at the Baking Science and Technology Course — is an immersion of its participants, their cultures and individual experiences,” said Strouts. “That value is intangible.”

Learn more about AIB and its programming and services at www.aibonline.org.

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By Dr. Ting Liu, Technical Specialist, USW Beijing Office

Before attending the Baking Science and Technology (BST) course at AIB International, I was told by a former BST graduate that it would be an intensive, demanding, and competitive course. The course curriculum guide advised us to expect “a minimum of eight hours in class/laboratory and two to four hours preparing homework each day.” So even before the start of the coursework, I realized that the BST course was no piece of cake. But only later did I fully realize the abundant and comprehensive baking knowledge that is included in this course.

The majority of attendees were from industrial bakeries, including Grupo Bimbo and Yamazaki Baking Co., Ltd, and the remaining were from the baking industry, including flour mills, machine manufacturers, educational programs and market development organizations. Attendees from the United States, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, China, Philippines, India and Uganda not only shared their different cultures, but also their diverse production experience. The instructors created a great learning atmosphere, helping participants with their studies and coping with the new environment. Without support and encouragement from instructors and fellow classmates, one may not successfully finish the course.

The content consists of six major components: Baking Science, Bread and Roll Production, Cake and Sweet Goods, Operations, Food Safety and Bakers Math. The curriculum emphasizes the fundamentals of baking science, formulations and procedures, but also approaches to solving commercial industrial-scale production problems.

As expected, AIB is fully equipped, representing the state of the art equipment and tools used in current production. The instructors are very knowledgeable, experienced and patient in lecturing and answering students’ questions. The curriculum design is very clear and the instructors have clear divisions in their coursework.

Naturally the coursework focuses on extracting the highest value possible from U.S. wheat flour. The milling and flour science curriculum helped students to further understand the characteristics of U.S. wheat and flour, the flour milling process, testing methods and how to adjust formulas and processes according to flour specifications. This directly benefits U.S. wheat growers by promoting their wheat to customers in international markets.

I gained many useful skills and knowledge from the BST course. The baking fundamentals on ingredients, formulas and processes further increased my knowledge and laid the foundation for answering customers’ technical questions about using U.S. wheat. Large-scale production experiments and the operation component deepened my understanding of actual production, making me feel more confident to provide on-site technical service. Moreover, the introduction of global bakery trends enabled me to learn about other countries and promote these trends in China — hopefully to contribute to the development of the Chinese bakery industry.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has a long-standing partnership with AIB and frequently sends attendees to the BST course, and assists in the application and accommodations for attendees from U.S. wheat importing countries. This cooperation is a win-win strategy for all involved. International attendees will bring what they learned at AIB back to their countries and contribute to the development of the baking industry there. The course is beneficial for U.S. wheat producers by demonstrating the high quality of U.S. wheat. USW helps spread baking culture, and promotes AIB to potential participants. All the while, AIB instructors can also learn from students about baking practices in different countries. Only by sharing knowledge can we promote the progress of all parties.

Ting Liu