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U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai speaks at USDA's 2024 Ag Outlook Forum.

U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai spoke about free trade agreements at USDA’s 2024 Ag Outlook Forum, held Feb. 15-16 in Washington, D.C.

Agricultural trade – including topics tied closely to the work of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) – was a major focus during the 100th annual Ag Outlook Forum hosted Feb. 15-16 by USDA in Washington, D.C.

A panel discussion titled, “100 Years of U.S. Ag Trade; A Century of Growth, Innovation, and Progress” was the highlight of the first day. The panel featured speakers from USDA, the United Nations (UN) Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

History of Free Trade

USDA Senior Economist Sharon Sydow presented a crash course on the history of trade liberalization. Her subjects ranged from the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) to the creation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and expansion of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

“The historical perspective of her presentation showed the exponential growth in U.S. agriculture trade through these progressive measures,” said forum attendee USW Director of Trade Policy Peter Laudeman.

Global Food Assistance

Also on the first day, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Deputy Director General Beth Bechdol pointed out that agricultural trade is critical to the nourishment and development of poor, food insecure countries. Looking to the future, Bechdol said she sees successful American agricultural trade as an essential component for fighting global hunger and poverty.

Importance of Trade

On the second day, several speakers highlighted the importance of agricultural trade. A keynote address by U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai addressed some of the recent free trade accomplishments that have eliminated barriers to agricultural trade. Additionally, she committed to continue fighting for American farmers in places where trade barriers remain.

Carlson Addresses the Philippines, Relationships

MaryKay Carlson, U.S Ambassador to the Philippines, was also in attendance and spoke on the importance of relationships for agricultural trade success. She highlighted the long-standing ties between the U.S. and the Philippines.  Those ties have allowed that country to become the No. 2 export destination for U.S. wheat. Carlson noted the consistent quality of U.S. wheat and characteristics that make Filipino flour millers and bakers regular customers.

Relationship-building has also been a big part of the success the U.S. has enjoyed in the Philippines. USW recently helped the Filipino flour milling industry achieve renewed anti-dumping duties on imported Turkish flour to defend and maintain this trading relationship with U.S. wheat farmers.

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U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich), Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, and John Boozman (R-Ark), Ranking Member, have urged USDA to use its authorities under the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Charter Act to support opportunities for U.S. farmers.

In a letter to the USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, Stabenow and Boozman highlighted the need to invest in trade promotion and in-kind international food assistance, both of which support American farmers and producers.

Good for U.S. Farmers

“As Congress works toward reauthorizing critical programs in the Farm Bill, we continue to hear from organizations representing the vast majority of U.S. agriculture about the need to strengthen trade opportunities, increase revenue streams, and help producers grow and thrive in a global economy,” the Senators wrote. “We believe that resources available under the CCC can support similar efforts to open access to markets and promote American-grown products abroad.”

“The letter is intended to convey the strong, bipartisan support for additional market promotion funding but also reflects the challenge of identifying new funding resources for a broader Farm Bill reauthorization,” said Tyson Redpath with The Russell Group, a bipartisan government relations firm that represents the Coalition to Promote U.S. Agricultural Trade, in which U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is a member.

“There is also bipartisan support for critical U.S. Department of Agriculture international food assistance programs,” the Senators continued. “We urge you to explore using CCC resources to advance food assistance initiatives, which will both address humanitarian needs abroad and support American farmers.”

Chinese wheat foods seminar

USW’s work providing technical support to overseas wheat buyers and end product processors like this healthy Chinese wheat food baking seminar in Taiwan is funded by export market development programs administered by USDA-Foreign Agricultural Service. Congress approves program funding through federal “Farm Bill” legislation.

Good for Importers of U.S. Wheat

“We were quite pleased to see the leaders release their letter to Secretary Vilsack,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “Our friends at the National Association of Wheat Growers are strong advocates in Congress for increased export market development program funding. And the use of CCC funds to enhance both export marketing activities and food aid programs would be to the great benefit of U.S. agriculture and the overseas wheat buyers with whom we work.”

This request from the Chairwoman and Ranking Member comes as the Committee continues working to develop a Farm Bill this year. The full text of the letter can be found here.

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In this article, originally published during U.S. Wheat Associates’ 40th anniversary in 2020, Wheat Letter describes the highly successful public-private partnership supporting U.S. wheat export market development that has endured since the 1950s.


The proper role of government…is that of partner with the farmer – never his master. By every possible means we must develop and promote that partnership – to the end that agriculture may continue to be a sound, enduring foundation for our economy and that farm living may be a profitable and satisfying experience. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, from a message to Congress on agriculture, Jan. 9, 1956.

In 2020, Wheat Letter offered historical perspective on how changes in federal programs, global market factors and relationships drew Western Wheat Associates and Great Plains Wheat Market Development Association ever closer together and led to the establishment of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) as a single export market development organization to serve all U.S. wheat farmers.

A formal agreement between the Nebraska Wheat Commission and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to co-fund and implement export market development activities in 1958 marked the beginning of an enduring partnership between farmers, state wheat commissions, FAS and USW after the merger in 1980.

“I consider this to be one of the most successful partnerships between a U.S. government agency and private industry,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “Each partner brings unique core capabilities that support the export development mission. Our activities are jointly planned, funded and evaluated. We all share the risks, responsibilities and results.”

It Starts with the Farmer

State wheat commissions exist under state law generally to conduct promotion and market development through research, education and information. Commissions are funded by assessments paid by the farmer either by bushel or by a portion of the price at the time of sale. This is called a “checkoff” and though it is voluntary, a strong majority of farmers contribute their assessment. Farmer commissioners, either elected by their peers or appointed by their state’s governor, direct how the checkoff funds are to be used, such as for domestic promotion, public crop production research and variety development and export market development.

In 2017, Ralph Bean, who was then Agricultural Counselor, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Embassy Manila (far right), met with farmers from South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana during their USW Board Team visit to South Asia . The farmers were guests of honor at the 9th International Exhibition on Bakery, Confectionary and Foodservice Equipment and Supplies, known as “Bakery Fair 2017,” hosted by the Filipino-Chinese Bakery Association Inc.

By agreeing to contribute a portion of checkoff funds to USW for export market development, state wheat commissions choose to become members of USW. The annual USW membership assessment is about $0.004 per bushel, multiplied by the average production in the state over the past five years. Currently 17 state wheat commissions are USW members.

The contributions from state wheat commissions, including special project funds as well as the personal time and talent invested by farmers and U.S. wheat supply chain participants, supports the USW mission to develop, maintain and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers. In addition, state commission contributions qualify USW to apply for federal export market development funds administered by FAS.

Linking U.S. Agriculture to the World

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has primary responsibility for overseas programs including market development, international trade agreements and negotiations, and the collection of statistics and market information. It also administers the USDA’s export credit guarantee and food aid programs and helps increase income and food availability in developing nations by mobilizing expertise for agriculturally led economic growth. The FAS mission is to link U.S. agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities and global food security.

Jim Higgiston (left), who was then USDA/FAS Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs, met with Regional Director Chad Weigand (right) and farmer members of a USW Board Team in September 2018 in the capital city of Pretoria, South Africa. The FAS team in Pretoria included Kyle Bonsu, Agricultural Attache, Laura Geller, Senior Agricultural Attache, and Dirk Esterhuizen, Senior Agricultural Specialist.

FAS export market development programs available to USW as a cooperating organization include the Market Access Program (MAP), the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, the Agricultural Trade Promotion program and the Quality Samples Program. USW is required to conduct an extensive, annual strategic planning process that carefully examines every market, identifying opportunities for export growth and recognizing trends or policies that could threaten existing or prospective markets. FAS reviews this annual plan, the Unified Export Strategy (UES), results from previous years and private commitments to determine how USW will invest program funds. In 2022/23, federal funding provided $2.20 for every $1.00 contributed by farmers through their state wheat commissions.

“It is important that [overseas] buyers and government officials develop direct personal relationships not only with us at USDA but also directly with American farmers and ranchers,” said former USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney in testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in June 2019.

In 2017, Jeffery Albanese (pictured back row with hat), who was then Agricultural Attaché, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Embassy Manila, joined aUSW Board Team, with farmers from South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana, and USW staff,  for a tour of San Miguel Mill, Inc. in the Philippines.

USDA in general and FAS specifically foster such relationships by acting as strategic partners with USW through the extensive FAS network of foreign service officers serving in 98 offices around the world and its civil service support in the United States. The foreign service officers provide vital liaison with government officials and are active in market development work. The civil service likewise plays a critical role in everything from supporting the foreign service, managing the relationships with organizations like USW, providing market information, analyzing trade policy barriers, and much more.

FAS programs make it possible for wheat farmers to have representatives from USW who work directly with overseas wheat buyers, flour millers and wheat food processors and translate customer needs directly back to the state wheat organizations, who are in turn helping direct research for wheat crop development in their states. This leads to improved varieties and helps farmers manage their crops with the end user in mind, who would otherwise be thousands of miles and multiple steps apart in the supply chain.

A team of U.S. wheat farmers from Kansas, Oklahoma and Arizona bound for trade visits to customers in Nigeria and South Africa met in September 2016 with then USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney (center) and other FAS staff in Washington, D.C.

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The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Seoul, South Korea, office commemorated its 50th year of service May 15, 2023, with honored guests from the flour milling, baking, and logistics industries, U.S. government officials, U.S. wheat farmer leaders and colleagues.

Speakers during the event focused on the remarkable growth of the South Korean wheat foods supply system as well as the “ironclad” industrial and national partnership with the United States and USW.

Celebrating the Partnership

USW Country Director Dong-Chan (Channy) Bae kicked off the anniversary program by noting USW’s long-term commitment to helping the South Korean milling and baking industry advance and grow. He affirmed the success of the partnership, saying “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together – and together we have accomplished much.”

In his remarks, USW President Vince Peterson first looked back at the U.S.-South Korea wheat industry relationship. Referencing a 1984 article, Peterson said the author called out South Korea’s growth in U.S. wheat imports as an example of the very successful economic and security linkage between our two countries.

He said South Korea’s first commercial purchase of U.S. wheat in 1972 (following many years of donations under the PL-480 Food for Peace program) created the opportunity to open a U.S. wheat promotion office and more.

Since then, the South Korean milling and baking industry has seen “astounding growth until today when you import an average of 1.4 million metric tons of U.S. wheat and now export ramen products valued at more than $750 million,” Peterson said. “We thank you all and want you to know we remain dedicated to the partnership that helped fuel that growth.”

Chairman Won-Ki Ryu represented the Korea Flour Mills Industrial Association (KOFMIA) and said members of the organization greatly valued the relationship with U.S. farmers and USW.

“Together we have made major accomplishments that have significantly contributed to the advancement of flour milling in our country,” he said.

Executives from the South Korean flour milling and baking industries, USDA FAS, and USW cut a ceremonial cake celebrating the 50th anniversary of USW's Seoul office.

USW and representatives from Korea’s flour milling and baking industries, and USDA FAS cut a commemorative cake made with U.S. wheat flour by the Korean Baking School to celebrate the 50th anniversary of USW’s office in Seoul, South Korea. Left to Right: Channy Bae, USW Country Director; Darren Padget, USW Past Chairman; In Seok Song, CEO Daehan Flour Mills Co., Ltd.; Won-Ki Ryu, Chairman, KOFMIA; Vince Peterson, USW President; Mark Dries, Ag Minister Counselor, USDA-FAS; Michael Peters, USW Vice Chairman.

A Flagship Commodity

Mark Dries, Agricultural Minister Counselor, with USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, offered heartfelt congratulations to USW on its anniversary. He said milling wheat is now the fifth largest U.S. commodity imported by South Korea.

“We are very pleased to help celebrate this accomplishment. Wheat is one of the flagship export products to South Korea and has helped fuel the amazing innovations we see in bakery products here,” Dries said.

USW was fortunate to have three of its wheat farmer leaders participate in the event in Seoul: Past Chairman Darren Padget of Grass Valley, Oregon; Vice Chairman Michael Peters of Okarche, Oklahoma; and Secretary-Treasurer Clark Hamilton of Ririe, Idaho.

USW Vice President of Overseas Operations Mike Spier also provided an overview of the global and U.S. wheat supply and demand situation. He showed that the now four-year downward trend in ending stocks will likely support world and U.S. wheat prices. He said while U.S. hard red winter wheat supplies will remain tight, the potential for more normal soft white and hard red spring (DNS) wheat crops for 2023 is good. At the same time, Spier said to expect continued volatility given the uncertainty of the Black Sea situation.

Thanks to Colleagues

USW wants to recognize the dedicated work of its Seoul-based colleagues Channy Bae, Country Director, Shin-Hak (David) Oh, Food & Bakery Technologist, and Jin Young Lee, Marketing and Program Coordinator. USW was also pleased that Dr. Won Bang Koh, who served as Country Director for more than 30 years, was able to participate in this special anniversary celebration.

Photo of a panel discussion at the USW South and Southeast Asia Marketing Conference.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) in cooperation with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service welcomed close to 200 guests to a South and Southeast Asian Marketing Conference May 9 to 11 in Phuket, Thailand. This was the first such conference in that region since 2012 and comes at a challenging time for the milling and wheat foods business.

Demonstrating Partnership

“It was great to have everyone back together again,” said Joe Sowers, USW Regional Vice President. “Our regional milling and baking customers are dealing with a lot of uncertainty and market volatility and the pandemic limited our direct service work for a long time, so this is another way for us to demonstrate our commitment to them and why U.S. wheat remains important to their businesses.”

The conference theme, “Building Prosperity Through Partnership,” and presentations reminded customers that USW is committed to being a steadfast partner in both challenging and stable times. The program provided perspective on geopolitical and market forces shaping the regional wheat food industry, an early look at the 2023 U.S. wheat crop, and reports from millers in several South and Southeast Asian countries, including Antonina Sio, Assistant Vice President and General Manager of San Miguel Flour Mills in Batangas, Philippines.

Value in Networking

“I am attending the conference to learn more about the industry, the trends and what’s happening all over the world and, at the same time, to collaborate and network with my counterparts around the region,” Sio said.

Those millers expressed hope that flour demand will grow in the future based on population growth and changing economic factors. To give millers and bakers additional tools to help achieve that growth, USW included technical presentations on using solvent retention capacity analysis to select specific flours that perform best for specific end uses.

“The experience that we gain by learning from Mr. Roy Chung and from conferences like this gives us a lot of knowledge so we can improve our baking skills and improve products for our customers,” said Daniel Tay, Founder of Foodnostics in Singapore.

Darren Padget stands in front of a panel with a photo of his hand with his calculation of how much bread can be made from wheat grown on his farm at the South And Southeast Asian Marketing Conference.

Growing Wheat is Dirty Work. Presenting to the South and Southeast Asian Marketing Conference May 10, USW Past Chairman Darren Padget, a wheat farmer from Grass Valley, Ore., shared how he calculated (in his own way), how many loaves of bread can be made from the wheat he produces every year on his farm.

Thanks to Sponsors

Several USW farmer board members travelled to Phuket to participate in the conference, as did representatives from sponsoring organizations including the Idaho Wheat Commission, Nebraska Wheat Board, North Dakota Wheat Commission, Oregon Wheat Commission, and Washington Grain Commission. Additional funding was provided by Agrex, Inc., Bunge, Cargill, CHS, CoBank, Columbia Grain, Pacificor, LLC, United Grain Corp., and Viterra.

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Flour from U.S. soft white wheat was an ingredient in the 'Science of Souffle' course at the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong.

Flour from U.S. soft white wheat was an ingredient in the ‘Science of Souffle’ course at the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong.

U.S. wheat shared the spotlight with U.S. eggs, U.S. dairy and a Netflix celebrity at a Hong Kong event designed to help student chefs understand some of the science behind baking.

A special course titled the “Science of Souffle” was presented March 14 by the Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) and the U.S. Consulate’s Public Affairs Section (PAS). Student chefs at the Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi) participated in the course, which featured visiting speaker Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, a U.S. astrophysicist and co-host of the Netflix series “Baking Impossible.”

Oluseyi spoke about the science of baking, along with his own personal story. Local chef Phyllis Lam led students in preparing their own souffles using U.S. wheat flour, milk and cheese – in combination with local flavors like citrus and black sesame.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Regional Vice President Jeff Coey said USW’s Hong Kong Office contributed U.S. soft white (SW) flour for the course and shared information about the classes of U.S. wheat and how the quality of U.S. wheat benefits bakers and other end users.

“It was a small but fun event that served as an opportunity to create awareness for U.S. wheat among future bakers and chefs in the market,” said Coey.

Along with USW, the U.S. Poultry and Egg Export Council and the U.S. Dairy Export Council contributed to the “Science of Souffle” event.

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The People’s Republic of China is the United States’ largest food and agricultural product export market with sales that reached a record $41 billion in calendar 2022. Under suspension of import duties agreed to in the Phase One trade accord, China has imported more than 827,000 metric tons of U.S. wheat with an estimated value of more than $270 million as of early February in marketing year 2022/23. That pace is down from the previous two marketing years, but still significant.

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) are reporting that as China pulls back from zero-COVID policies, there is “great optimism about the economy” in general and specifically the dynamic Chinese baking industry.

Return to Personal Contact

After a resumption of normal public activity, USW Beijing colleagues are finally enjoying a return to interactions with milling and baking customers and visiting retail and restaurant venues throughout the country. USW Regional Vice President Jeff Coey said restrictions have been totally lifted, allowing the team to conduct an informal survey of four bakery companies both in north and south China, namely Toly, Fujian Fumao, Guangdong Chuandao, and Dongguan Food.

Three of the four stated that sales volume had recovered to pre-COVID levels, and the same ratio predicted further increases in 2023. Both innovative product development and exploring new sales channels are cited as avenues for growth in China’s baking market. The photo at the top of this page confirms it was busy recently at a Baker & Spice store, a popular chain of over 60 coffee and snack shops in Beijing and other cities in China.

Investing for Growth

The largest of the group, Toly Bread Company Ltd., expected to raise investment and increase staff in 2023. The company hopes for a higher value mix of offerings allowing them to increase unit price. They expect cake products will take the lead in the company’s product matrix.

A busy China retail bakery.On Feb. 17, 2023, USDA FAS Agricultural Attaché Alan Hallman and colleagues published a Global Agricultural Information Network (GAIN) report on China’s “Post-COVID Food and Agricultural Situation” that provides insight into relevant aspects of end-use wheat demand in this important swing market for U.S. wheat.

While there were closures early in the pandemic, “some bakeries were able to turn the crisis into an opportunity for growth,” the report stated. “Community bakeries increased sales due to strong demand for convenience foods and third party delivery services. Bakeries with strength in group-buying and sales to institutions also benefited. Many businesses and other organizations gave bakery shopping benefits to their employees. Bakeries with brick- and-mortar stores, online order platforms, and delivery services generally remained strong and grew their business during the pandemic.”

Increased Hiring

Mr. Guo Jiguang, chairman of Fujian Fumao, told USW the company is actively opening more stores and hiring more employees in Southeast China to expand its business in 2023. Bread, cakes and desserts remain the main products with fastest growing sales. Mr. Guo added that even if cake and pastry products are becoming more popular among young generations, consumer preferences are changing and both opportunities and threats coexist in the future bakery market.

Photo of busy retail Fujian Fumao bakery in China

A bakery operated by Fujian Fumao in China remains busy and the company plans to open more stores in Southeast China as the country recovers from zero-COVID policies.

Mr. Philip Zhou, chairman of Guangdong Chuandao, is also bullish on baked goods.

“For us, Chinese pastry and western style bread are the two main product categories showing the greatest sales momentum,” he said. “Our company’s plan is to explore new distribution channels and cover more supermarkets and distributors to realize reasonable sales growth goals.”

Optimism with Constraints

Concluding its report, the China FAS team repeated the optimism that recreation, travel and tourism in the country are expected to grow as zero-COVID policies end. “Some businesses have become stronger, and companies have an opportunity to rebuild…” Yet consumer spending will remain somewhat constrained.

USW and dozens of other non-profit organizations in the United States are partners with FAS in agricultural export market development. Through the support of U.S. wheat farmers and FAS programs, USW conducts wheat export market development activities in China through offices in Beijing and Hong Kong.

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As U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) President Vince Peterson often says, at any given hour of the day someone, somewhere, is talking about the quality, reliability and value of U.S. wheat. Wheat Letter wants to share just some of the ways USW has been working recently to build a preference for U.S. wheat in an ever more complex world wheat market.

Lauding Nutritious, Delicious U.S. Baking Ingredients in China

USW Beijing participated in the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) “Discover U.S. Baking Ingredients and Trends” hybrid virtual promotion in August 2022 (activity banner in the photo above). The purpose of this activity was to raise Chinese bakers’ awareness of the nutrition, health benefits, taste, and versatility of U.S. baking ingredients. The FAS Agricultural Trade Office (ATO) in Beijing and 10 USDA Cooperators with products ranging from wheat, dried fruit and nuts to dairy sponsored the activity partnering with the China Association of Bakery and Confectionery Industry.

USW Beijing staff with ATO Beijing at a U.S. Baking Ingredients event.

In-store promotion product 2 using U.S. dried blueberry and California almond slices and U.S. wheat flour

In-store promotion products using U.S. dried blueberry and California almond slices and U.S. wheat flour.

ATO Beijing reported the activity reached an audience of over 2.5 million netizens in China through social media platforms and

over 200,000 real-time viewers through livestreaming. There was also in-store promotions at leading bakery houses in Beijing where “consumers warmly welcomed the new products featuring U.S. baking ingredients,” ATO Beijing reported. Additionally, ATO Beijing strengthened connections with baking associations and businesses and generated trade leads with this activity. Read more here.

USW Beijing Technical Specialist Ting Liu and Marketing Specialist Kaiwen Wu played direct roles representing the essential quality of flour from U.S. wheat in the events. In the three full marketing years since the trade war ended, China has imported a total of more than 168 million bushels (4.58 million metric tons) of U.S. hard red winter (HRW), hard red spring (HRS), soft white (SW) and soft red winter (SRW) wheat, and have already imported almost 23 million bushels of U.S. wheat in the current marketing year that ends May 31, 2023.

Helping a Mexican Baker Expand Sales

In a technical support activity demonstrating to Mexican bakers how to extend their product lines using U.S. wheat flour, USW Mexico City enlisted Baking

U.S. Wheat consultant Didier Rosada

Didier Rosada

Consultant Didier Rosada to conduct an in-depth, multi-day workshop for one of the top three baking groups in Mexico. The commercial baker selected their best 25 master bakers to learn how to produce internationally recognized sourdough, functional breads, and savory breads for retail bakery sales. Rosada also demonstrated how to standardize pre-fermentation and natural sourdough processes to optimize production efficiency, products consistency, and quality in every store.

Baking is changing in a good way,” Rosada said. “At my bakery, my process is as natural as possible, with long fermentation time, like it used to be done, to bring back the flavor profile of a good bread, its shelf life and texture, etc. And U.S. wheat classes are perfect for that. I am using a flour that is almost 100 percent hard red winter or sometimes combined with hard red spring wheat.”

Mexico is the leading importer of U.S. wheat in the world.

Healthier Wheat Foods for Older Taiwanese Consumers

Chinese wheat foods seminar

Well-known Taiwanese chefs demonstrated healthy Chinese wheat food products .

USW Taipei collaborated with the Department of Food and Beverage Management of Shih Chien University (USC) to conduct workshops on Chinese Wheat Food for the Elderly in October 2022. Chinese wheat foods are popular but a survey by the university indicated that more than 60% of elderly Taiwanese are not satisfied with the healthiness of the products.

USW Taipei Country Director Boyuan Chen and Technologist Wei-lin Chou invited well-known Taiwanese chefs to teach methods for making healthy handmade noodles, pan-fried stuffed buns, silk thread rolls, and pan-fried sweet potato pastry as well as steamed breads using U.S. wheat white flour and whole wheat flour. The 40 participants included teachers, students, and long-term elderly care community volunteers who made pan-fried stuffed buns for the elderly just after the workshop.

U.S. wheat imports by Taiwan have averaged 43.2 million bushels (1.18 million metric tons) of HRS, HRW and SW per year since 2017/18.

Continuing Milling Education Interrupted by COVID in Korea

USW Seoul had started to educate Food Technology undergraduate students at Won Kwang University about the fundamentals of U.S. wheat and flour milling technology in 2018. USW Seoul Food/Bakery Technologist Shin Hak (David) Oh resumed that effort this year. The goal is to give these future industry professionals a better understanding of why flour products from U.S. wheat make superior quality ingredients for Korean wheat foods. The early exposure to U.S. wheat and the value-added technical support from USW also builds future productive relationships.

On average the past five marketing years, South Korean millers have imported about 56.7 million bushels (1.54 million metric tons) of U.S. HRW, HRS, SW and SRW wheat per year.

USW Baking Technogist Shin Hak Oh lecturing to Korean food industry students on U.S. wheat and milling technology

USW Baking Technogist Shin Hak Oh lecturing to Korean food industry students on U.S. wheat and milling technology

U.S. Soft Wheat Best for Cookies, Cakes

USW Cape Town sent six participants from a large South African food company to a specialty soft wheat flour course at the Wheat Marketing Center in Portland, Ore., earlier in 2022. The course focused on cookies, crackers, and cakes made with flour from SRW and SW compared to flour from local and imported hard wheat that is used in South Africa. The participants also visited local grocery stores to gain insight into the many, varied U.S. products made from soft wheat flours.

USW Cape Town Regional Director Chad Weigand accompanied the food industry professionals to the course. He said participants were very impressed with the course results and comparative product quality, and he expected the company to begin testing products made with U.S. soft wheat flour.

Read more here about the South African wheat market.

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Recent news and highlights from around the U.S. wheat industry.

Speaking of Wheat

“The Russian naval blockade of Ukrainian ports has already shredded global chains of food supply. Adding insult to injury, Russia steals Ukrainian grain and bombs Ukrainian granaries. Russia is essentially playing hunger games with the world by keeping the naval blockade of Ukrainian ports with one hand and shifting the blame for it on Ukraine with the other hand.” –Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. Read more here.

Best Wishes to Director of Communications Amanda Spoo

All of us at U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and across the U.S. wheat industry want to thank Amanda Spoo (above) for her work on behalf of wheat farmers over more than 7 years on the USW Communications Team. Among the many highlights of her time with USW, Amanda managed a major overhaul of www.uswheat.org and built USW’s social media into a highly effective channel to overseas customers and friends at home. More importantly, she has been a respected colleague who made our work more fun. Vice President of Communications Steve Mercer and all Amanda’s colleagues wish her well as she moves on to new opportunities back in her eastern Oregon home.

Director of Communications Position Open

USW has an opening for a Director of Communications in a hybrid work environment based in its Arlington, Virginia, Headquarters Office. The Director of Communications reports to the Vice President of Communications and helps USW fulfill its mission by working collaboratively to plan and implement producer-focused and market development communications across a range of media; by managing all digital communication touchpoints, including content creation, deployment across the website, social media, email marketing, and other media channels, and performance analysis; and other critical domestic and international communications activities. The job description and application process are posted here.

USDA/FAS Welcomes New Foreign Service Officers

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh recently administered the oath of office to 14 USDA employees who will serve American agriculture internationally as members of the Foreign Service. The diplomats begin their careers as agricultural attachés at U.S. embassies and diplomatic missions on five continents, where they will monitor and report on global agricultural production and trade, identify export opportunities, enhance food security and support U.S. foreign policy objectives. Read more here.

Middle East, North Africa Trade Team in the U.S.

Matthew Weaver of Capital Press reported trade team of flour millers from Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Oman began their tour of the U.S. last week in Idaho. “These are young flour millers, a young generation (representing) their family businesses,” said Tarik Gahi, assistant technical director for U.S. Wheat Associates in the Middle East and North Africa region, based in Casablanca, Morocco. “They are 22, 24, 25 years old, just out of the university and they are supposed to take the lead in the coming years.” The tour will allow the millers to become familiar with U.S. wheat classes, marketing and the entire wheat system compared to wheat from other origins, Gahi said. Read more here.

2022 Hard Spring Wheat and Durum Tour

The annual Wheat Quality Council Hard Spring Wheat Tour is scheduled for July 25 to 28, 2022. The tour will provide the first production estimate for the 2022 U.S. hard red spring and durum crops. Tour information and registration are posted here. Customers can follow the tour in real-time by following #wheattour22 on Twitter and keep up to date on the entire U.S. wheat harvest with the weekly USW Harvest Report.

Subscribe to USW Reports

USW publishes various reports and content available to subscribe to, including a bi-weekly newsletter highlighting recent Wheat Letter blog posts and wheat industry news, the weekly Price Report, and the weekly Harvest Report (available May to October). Subscribe here.

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