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For 40 years, U.S. wheat farmers have supported U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) efforts to work directly with buyers and promote their six classes of wheat. Their contributions to state wheat commissions, who in turn contribute a portion of those funds to USW, qualifies USW to apply for export market development funds managed by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Currently, 17 state wheat commissions are USW members and this series highlights those partnerships and the work being done state-by-state to provide unmatched service. Behind the world’s most reliable supply of wheat are the world’s most dependable people – and that includes our state wheat commissions.


Member: Nebraska Wheat Board
USW Member since 1980

Location: Lincoln, Neb.
Classes of wheat grown: 
Hard Red Winter (HRW), Hard White (HW), Hard Red Spring (HRS)
USW Leadership: Ervain J. Friehe, 1986/97 Chairman; Daniel Gerdes 1997/98 Chairman; Dan Hughes, 2013/14 Chairman.

The mission of the Nebraska Wheat Board is to increase both domestic and foreign consumption of wheat and wheat food products through marketing and research, as well as to help develop and maintain both domestic and international export markets for the Nebraska wheat producer. The Nebraska Wheat Board will accomplish this by investing the wheat check-off in research, international and domestic marketing, policy development, publicity and education. The Nebraska Wheat Board was one of the first state wheat commissions in existence. The Board has paved the way for trade delegations, international baking schools, national policy reform and the establishment of USW. Today, Nebraska Wheat continues to improve research, influence international and domestic trade policy and promote the wheat crop through education and consumer outreach. This year, the Nebraska Wheat Board celebrates 65 years and would like to thank all of our domestic and international customers for their continued support.

2014/15 USW Officers, including Past Chairman Dan Hughes, seated left.

Why is export market development important to Nebraska wheat farmers and why do they continue to support USW?

Of the wheat produced in Nebraska each year, 50 percent is exported through the Pacific Northwest or the Gulf of Mexico or by rail to Mexico. Nebraska hosts one to two USW trade delegations each year from all over the world. Through these trade delegations, U.S. wheat customers can see how the crop is produced in a healthy, sustainable way. Likewise, the farmers learn what their customers want and how they can adopt practices to meet the growing demand. USW is at the forefront of overseas development. The network of people that promote USW is vast and their enthusiasm for promoting U.S.wheat continues to develop markets for our farmers’ product. With so much of our wheat reaching overseas customers, it is extremely important for Nebraska’s wheat farmers to support USW’s export market development.

How have Nebraska wheat farmers recently interacted with overseas customers?

Even though these unprecedented times have limited travel and canceled conferences, Nebraska Wheat has put international relations as our top priority. In place of hosting trade delegations, the Nebraska Wheat team is producing video of locations in the state that each delegation would typically visit. From highlighting the research done at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL), witnessing how grain is inspected at the elevators, and capturing the beauty of wheat harvest across the state. Nebraska Wheat Board members look forward to sharing these videos around the world and then visiting with customers to answer questions after they have “visited” each tour stop. Along with these videos, each week the Nebraska Wheat office sends reports to international offices and past trade delegation visitors to keep them updated on Nebraska wheat progress.

A 2017 USW Regional African Trade Delegation visited Bob Delsing’s farm in Nebraska. Delsing is currently a director on USW’s board.

What is happening lately in Nebraska that overseas customers should know about?

  • UNL wheat breeder Dr. Stephen Baenziger was recently awarded a $650,000 grant for hybrid wheat research.
  • USDA recently announced that it is hiring an additional small grains geneticist to be located at UNL to focus on Fusarium head blight research.
  • Harkamal Walia, UNL Associate Professor, discovered a gene from wild wheat that has the potential to improve drought tolerance in cultivated wheat.
  • There has been a resurgence of HRS wheat being grown in Nebraska. Currently, producers in the state grow HRW, HW and HRS.

Learn more about the Nebraska Wheat Board on its website here and on Facebook and Twitter.

Kent Lorens, a wheat farmer from Nebraska (middle) participated on the 2019 board team to Spain, Portugal and Morocco. He’s pictured here with farmers from Montana and Wyoming at Institut de Formation de l’Indstrie Meunière (IFIM) in Morocco, while touring the training mill, where the team saw equipment sponsored by U.S. Wheat Associates. Read more about his experience here.

Nebraska Wheat Board Executive Director Royce Schaneman at the 2020 USW Winter Board Meeting in Washington, D.C.

Four generations of Nodlinski’s (from 3 years old to 102) stand for a picture during the 2020 wheat harvest on the 4th of July on their family farm in Perkins County. The Nebraska Wheat Board publishes weekly crop updates here.

2013/14 Chairman Dan Hughes, a wheat farmer from Nebraska (L) congrats 2014/15 Chairman Roy Motter, a wheat farmer from California (R) on his year of service.

2013/14 Chairman, Dan Hughes and his wife Josie.

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The North Dakota Wheat Commission (NDWC) and the North Dakota Grain Growers Association (NDGGA) brought the 2020 U.S. hard red spring (HRS/DNS) wheat crop to domestic and international stakeholders on July 28 via a “Virtual Hard Red Spring Wheat Pre-Harvest Update” on the Zoom platform.

Presentations from NDWC, farmers and university experts painted a picture of a variable crop across Montana, North and South Dakota and Minnesota that is about three weeks away from the height of harvest. Crop conditions run the gamut from excellent yield and quality potential to thin drought and heat stressed pockets and even water-logged fields in eastern production areas. The experts who reported on the crop generally agree that USDA’s current HRS yield forecast of 46.6 bushels per acre (bu/a) is “optimistic,” but should end up close to the long-term average yield of 45 bu/a.

Dr. Joel Ransom, North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension Agronomist, told an estimated 211 participants on the virtual update that  farmers will see many good fields this year, but few will have “their best crop ever.” NDSU’s spring wheat breeder Dr. Andrew Green explained that farmers in the state are paying close attention to end-use qualities as well as yield potential when selecting varieties – and in their management.

“Functional quality and yields in North Dakota’s spring wheat production have both increased overall the past several years,” Dr. Green said. “We are seeing that higher yields and better quality are not mutually exclusive.”

In the Virtual HRS Pre-Harvest Update, Dr. Andrew Friskop, Extension Plant Pathologist, NDSU, described symptoms of a wheat disease called bacterial leaf streak to help farmer participants identify the disease. NDWC Market Development and Research Manager Erica Olson did a great job managing the challenges inherent in today’s virtual meetings.

Dennis Haugen farms in east central North Dakota and showed the participants a field with an estimated yield potential of around 75 bu/a.

“The problem in this area is that it has been so wet since last year, many fields were never planted,” he said, describing conditions that also prevail along the Red River in North Dakota and across the river into Minnesota.

“Northwest Minnesota has received up to three times our normal annual rainfall since 2019, so it was very challenging to get spring wheat seeded,” said Dr. Jochum Wiersma, Extension Small Grains Specialist at the University of Minnesota’s Crookston station. “In the fields that were planted, we are going to see yield loss and lower protein levels – if they can be harvested. We are asking for dry weather until November in our area.”

Planting conditions were better in South Dakota and farmers were able to seed 815,000 acres of spring wheat, which is 35 percent more than in 2019, said Reid Christopherson, Executive Director of the South Dakota Wheat Commission. The HRS harvest there is already about 10 percent complete.

Relatively cool conditions with good moisture has the Montana HRS crop in very good shape overall with the potential for high yields and good quality protein. Sam Anderson, Industry Analyst & Outreach Coordinator for the Montana Wheat & Barley Committee, reported that among spring wheat states, Montana has the highest rated crop conditions at 80 percent good to excellent.

NDWC Administrator Neal Fisher, NDGGA Executive Director Dan Wogsland and Wheat Quality Council Executive Vice President Dave Green each expressed thanks to all the participants and the folks who planned and managed the virtual pre-harvest update, and offered sincere hope that participants in the 2021 Wheat Quality Council’s spring wheat tour will be back in their vehicles checking fields along the traditional routes.

 

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For 40 years, U.S. wheat farmers have supported U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) efforts to work directly with buyers and promote their six classes of wheat. Their contributions to state wheat commissions, who in turn contribute a portion of those funds to USW, qualifies USW to apply for export market development funds managed by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Currently, 17 state wheat commissions are USW members and this series highlights those partnerships and the work being done state-by-state to provide unmatched service. Behind the world’s most reliable supply of wheat are the world’s most dependable people – and that includes our state wheat commissions.


Member: Montana Wheat and Barley Committee
Member of USW since 1980

Location: Great Falls, Mont.
Classes of wheat grown: Hard Red Winter (HRW), Hard Red Spring (HRS), Durum
USW Leadership:  James E. Jenks, 1984/85 Chairman; Richard Sampsen, 1995/96 Chairman; Leonard Schock, 2006/07 Chairman; Janice Mattson, 2009/10 Chairperson; Chris Kolstad, 2018/19 Chairman.

The mission of the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee (MWBC) is to protect and foster the health and prosperity of the Montana wheat and barley industry by encouraging scientific research to improve production and quality; maintaining current markets; promoting new market development; and serving as an educational and informational resource.

2018/19 Chairman Chris Kolstad from Montana (R) passes the gavel to 2019/20 Chairman Doug Goyings from Ohio.

Why is export market development important to Montana wheat farmers and why do they continue to support USW and its activities?

Montana exports most of its wheat to partners around the world. Wheat production in the state is logistically advantaged to efficiently fill shuttle trains with hard red spring (HRS) and hard red winter (HRW) bound for the Pacific Northwest (PNW) ports. Montana’s wheat is often considered as improver classes because it offers strong functional characteristics. The extreme summer heat and extreme winter cold together are conducive to growing excellent small grains with high protein. Montana wheat is desired by quality-conscious customers, making the Pacific Rim our largest market. Market development efforts are very important to Montana farmers and USW plays a key role in identifying potential markets and maintaining existing markets. Our farmers have invested in these efforts since 1967 when our committee was formed, and our very low checkoff refund rate shows Montana farmers understand the value of these efforts.

Montana wheat farmer and USW Director Denise Conover traveled with USW to Tanzania and Kenya in November 2019 to learn more about food aid programs and wheat monetization. Read more.

How have Montana wheat farmers recently connected with overseas customers?

MWBC hosts upwards of 100 overseas trade team visitors each year. Our farmers love hosting trade delegations and are quick to open their homes to our guests. Showcasing a way of life that often spans many generations is a great point of pride for Montana farmers, and discussions on best practices and planting decisions often lead to 3-hour dinners and forming long-term connections. Montana farmers view our overseas customers as an extended family.

Current circumstances are transforming the way we reach customers, including taking part in weekly updates and virtual meetings hosted by USW. MWBC is being proactive in our efforts as the uncertainty associated with the pandemic has brought challenges. However, our farmers are not slowing down. They are working their hardest to continue to supply the market with the highest quality wheat in the world.

A USW 2019 trade delegation from Japan visiting a farm in Montana.

What is happening lately in Montana that overseas customers should know about?

  • We are developing a video series that creates a virtual trade delegation experience and focuses on what a visitor would learn and experience if they were visiting Montana in person. The series will tour the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) certified State Grain Lab with a look at the grading process and factors that set Montana wheat apart, and feature a farm tour to present crop rotation, precision agriculture and other sustainable practices.
  • Montana State University (MSU) has done an excellent job keeping research projects moving forward during the pandemic and is hiring a new endowed chair and HRS wheat breeder. Montana farmers invest over $2 million every year in wheat and barley research.
  • MSU wheat breeding programs continue to focus on quality, traits like low PPO and increased stability and developing durum varieties.

Montana farmers would like to thank USW for their continued efforts in developing and maintaining overseas markets. Without these efforts a lot of us would not be able to do what we love out in “Big Sky Country.” Many Montana farmers have hosted overseas visitors traveling with USW and have made lifelong friendships and memories because of it. Those experiences have outlasted cultural, political and historical differences over the last 50+ years for MWBC.

Learn more about the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee on its website here and on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

 

A trade delegation of Japanese executive millers visited 2018/19 USW Chairman and Montana wheat farmer Chris Kolstad on his farm in 2019.

Janice Mattson, a wheat farmer from Montana, was USW’s first female chair in 2009/10. She was also featured in a 4-part series about the U.S. wheat supply chain system in 2014. View that series here.

 

Al Klempel (L), a wheat farmer from Montana, traveled with USW to Spain, Portugal and Morocco on a board team trip in 2019. The team is pictured here with equipment sponsored by U.S. Wheat Associates at the IFIM milling school in Casablanca. Read more.

Leonard Schock, 2006/07 USW Chairman and a Montana wheat farmer presented at the 2016 North Asia Marketing Conference in Guam.

 

2018/19 USW Chairman Chris Kolstad, a wheat farmer from Montana, and NAWG President, Ben Scholz, a wheat farmer from Texas, represented the U.S. wheat industry at the 2017 National Association of Farm Broadcasting Trade Talk event.

 

 

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As harvest time approaches for the 2020 U.S. hard red spring (HRS/DNS) wheat crop, domestic and international customers are anxious to get the latest crop information.  With many in-person meetings and events put on hold this year, including the Wheat Quality Council’s Annual Spring Wheat Tour, many of our friends and customers will miss the opportunity to see the crop’s potential first-hand.

But as everyone has done in this new COVID-19 world, the North Dakota Wheat Commission (NDWC) and the North Dakota Grain Growers Association (NDGGA) are bringing the crop to stakeholders by hosting a virtual HRS/DNS update on Tuesday, July 28, at 9:00 a.m. Central Daylight Time. The meeting will be hosted on the Zoom application. To register, visit https://ndwheat.com/events/2020VirtualHardRedSpringWheatPreHarvestUpdate/.

With Wheat Quality Council Tours like this one from North Dakota in 2016 cancelled, North Dakota wheat grower groups are hosting a virtual HRS/DNS pre-harvest update July 28.

Representatives from NDWC, NDGGA, farmers and wheat commissioners from Minnesota, Montana and and South Dakota will report on crop conditions, production and quality potential and other important issues that have affected this HRS/DNS crop. Extension experts will provide agronomic and disease updates, and producers will provide video and personal observations of crop conditions and maturity levels throughout the spring wheat region.

Here is the updated agenda:

Welcome

  • NDWC and NDGGA

Wheat Quality Council Update

  • Dave Green, Wheat Quality Council

Spring Wheat Overview

  • NDWC

North Dakota Update

  • Joel Ransom, North Dakota State University (NDSU) Extension
  • Andrew Green, NDSU Spring Wheat Breeder
  • Field Reports from ND Producers

Montana Update

  • Cassidy Marn, Montana Wheat & Barley Committee
  • Field Reports from Montana producers

South Dakota Update

  • Reid Christopherson, South Dakota Wheat Commission
  • Field Reports from South Dakota producers

Minnesota Update

  • Charlie Vogel, Minnesota Wheat Research and Promotion Council
  • Jim Anderson, University of Minnesota
  • Jochum Wiersma, University of Minnesota
  • Field Reports from Minnesota producers

2020 Disease Outlook

  • Andrew Friskop, NDSU Extension

Wrap up and Questions

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For 40 years, U.S. wheat farmers have supported U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) efforts to work directly with buyers and promote their six classes of wheat. Their contributions to state wheat commissions, who in turn contribute a portion of those funds to USW, qualifies USW to apply for export market development funds managed by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Currently, 17 state wheat commissions are USW members and this series highlights those partnerships and the work being done state-by-state to provide unmatched service. Behind the world’s most reliable supply of wheat are the world’s most dependable people – and that includes our state wheat commissions.


Member: Idaho Wheat Commission
Member of USW since 1980

Location: Boise, Idaho
Classes of wheat grown: Hard Red Winter (HRW), Hard Red Spring (HRS), Hard White (HW), Soft White (SW), Durum
USW Leadership: Boyd Schwieder, 2005/06 Chairman; Jim McDonald, 2002/03 Chairman; Jerry Kress, 1998/99 Chairman; Dallin Reese, 1987/88 Chairman

Wheat is grown in 42 of Idaho’s 44 counties and ranks as the state’s second largest crop, behind potatoes. About half of Idaho’s crop goes to domestic mills and the other half is exported, primarily through Pacific Northwest (PNW) ports to Asian and Latin American customers. Idaho typically ranks in the top seven U.S. states for wheat production. An average of 1.2 million acres of wheat is planted each year and yields per acre are among the highest in the nation.

IWC Commissioner and wheat farmer Clark Hamilton was a member of the 2016 USW Board team that traveled to Japan and Korea.

Why is export market development important to Idaho wheat farmers and why do they continue to support USW and its activities?

Idaho exports about half of its wheat, but strong global demand contributes to the profitability of all Idaho growers by increasing farmgate wheat prices. Through its partnership with USW, the Idaho Wheat Commission (IWC) leverages the market intelligence and valuable customer relationships established around the world, in order to find new markets and sustain demand in established markets. USW programs bring the customers and growers together, facilitating a personal connection that is key to the continued success of the Idaho and U.S. wheat industries. We are grateful to USW for the work their team does to develop and maintain relationships for our growers with buyers in other countries and we wish for many more prosperous years to come.

IWC Commissioner and wheat farmer Joe Anderson (second from left) participated on the 2019 USW South Asia Board Team trip to the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia.

How have Idaho wheat farmers recently connected with overseas customers?

Idaho hosts multiple international trade delegations each year from many different countries. Participants follow the entire supply chain to see how wheat gets from the ground to its destination in the mill. These customers visit quality control labs and wheat breeding programs, visit farms and see how growers take care to produce high-quality wheat and then go on to visit the local grain handlers who move the wheat by rail, barge and container. Idaho is unique in that it has an inland “ocean port.” At the Lewis-Clark Terminal in Lewiston, Idaho, wheat is loaded onto barges that travel down the Columbia-Snake River System to the export facilities near Portland, Ore.

Additionally, IWC commissioners and staff regularly participate in events overseas. Recently, for example, Commissioner Clark Hamilton joined Idaho Governor Brad Little in a goodwill mission to Taiwan, a country with which IWC has a long and fruitful relationship. Commissioner Bill Flory also visited Japan with USW to meet with longtime friends of IWC and major buyers of SW, HRS and HRW wheat.

With the current travel restrictions, IWC is working to connect virtually with customers through USW online programs.

IWC Commissioner Bill Flory hosted the 2019 Philippine Trade Team on his farm.

What is happening lately in Idaho that overseas customers should know about?

  • Wheat growers in Idaho are diligently tending to their crops and working like any other year, despite the global pandemic. Favorable weather throughout the growing season has the crop in excellent condition just a few weeks from the start of harvest. The transportation system is running smoothly, and customers can expect mostly normal operations. The Columbia-Snake River System is critical for reliably and affordably shipping grains from the PNW to overseas markets.
  • Our new executive director, Casey Chumrau, has extensive international wheat marketing experience gained as a marketing manager for USW’s South American region, based in Santiago, Chile, and as a USW market analyst.*
  • IWC invests one-third of its annual budget into research that will help Idaho growers produce high-quality wheat that customers demand. Research ranges from production practices to end-use quality.

Learn more about the Idaho Wheat Commission on its website here and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and YouTube.

*USW wants to thank Blaine Jacobson, who recently retired after many years as IWC’s executive director, for his dedicated service to wheat farmers and support for export market development.

Longtime IWC Executive Director Blaine Jacobson (L) retired in June 2020 after 18 years of service. He’s show here being congratulated by IWC Chairman Ned Moon.

IWC Commissioner and wheat farmer Jerry Brown represented Idaho at the 2017 USW Crop Quality Seminars in Asia.

IWC Commissioner Clark Hamilton (directly behind photo in white), a farmer from Idaho, participated on the 2018 USW Board Team that traveled to China and Taiwan.

IWC Commissioner and Idaho wheat farmer Bill Flory traveled to Japan with USW to participate in the 2019 Japan Buyers Conference.

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For 40 years, U.S. wheat farmers have supported U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) efforts to work directly with buyers and promote their six classes of wheat. Their contributions to state wheat commissions, who in turn contribute a portion of those funds to USW, qualifies USW to apply for export market development funds managed by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Currently, 17 state wheat commissions are USW members and this series highlights those partnerships and the work being done state-by-state to provide unmatched service. Behind the world’s most reliable supply of wheat are the world’s most dependable people – and that includes our state wheat commissions.


Member: North Dakota Wheat Commission
Member of USW since 1980

Location: Mandan, N.D.
Classes of wheat grown: Hard Red Spring (HRS); Durum
USW Leadership: James Ole Sampson, 1980/81, USW’s first Chairman; Cecil Watson, 1992/93 Chairman; Alan Lee, 2003/04 Chairman; Brian O’Toole, 2015/16 Chairman.

The North Dakota Wheat Commission (NDWC) works to sustain and expand use of wheat grown by North Dakota farmers by creating worldwide market opportunities through efforts including opening overseas markets, reinforcing consumption of grain foods, developing new wheat varieties and influencing international import and export policies. Wheat producers fund these programs with a checkoff of a penny and a half on each bushel sold.

NDWC Commissioner David Clough congratulates 2015/16 USW Chairman Brian O’Toole, a wheat farmer from North Dakota, at the 2016 Summer Board Meeting in Fargo, N.D.

Why is export market development important to North Dakota wheat farmers and why do they continue to support USW and its activities?

Many variables drive wheat prices globally and export market share. Some of these variables, such as global production, quality impacts from adverse weather, political and economic trends, or “black swan” events like COVID-19 can dramatically affect trade flows and prices. USW provides the network to help react to those larger forces, drive needed policy changes in trade or market tangibles, and tweak the little things that can add up to a big difference in the final sale. Every wheat producer wants to build the optimum market share and the highest local price within the global competitive environment, but we cannot do market development as a single state. USW helps ensure we are reaching out to current and potential customers on an individual basis, by promoting the wheat grown on individual farms through the synergies only achieved from a collective marketing force across multiple states and producers.

Our board members consider USW to be the “boots on the ground” to promote our high quality HRS, durum and other U.S. wheat classes.

In recent years, the value of USW marketing programs and staff, have become even more important, in our perspective, due to the consolidation and shift in major export companies. Most now source their wheat from multiple origins and promote their sales on that basis. USW helps customers find the best source and class of U.S. wheat for their needs. They help provide the real picture of what U.S. produced wheat can provide to customers, and help trouble shoot any challenges customers may have in accessing or utilizing wheat from the United States.

Without the government programs that once existed to support U.S. wheat exports more effort is needed to educate customers on the higher value and reliability of U.S. wheat, in the face of intense price competition. The reputation that the U.S. has as a premium source of wheat, is largely due to the day-to-day activities of USW. Investment in export market development will always be a priority for North Dakota wheat producers since we rely on export markets for slightly more than half of our annual production of HRS and roughly 40 percent of our durum.

USW Director of Communications Amanda Spoo (middle) with past NDWC Commissioner David Clough and his wife Aileen on their farm during the 2018 Spring Wheat Tour.

How have North Dakota wheat farmers recently connected with overseas customers?

Traditionally, North Dakota hosts trade delegations from various countries every summer. Our producers enjoy these teams as an opportunity to visit with customers face-to-face. Our customer educational program involves an extensive overview of our wheat breeding and quality research programs, current crop prospects or harvest quality, risk management strategies, and visits to a local elevator and wheat farm family. We strive to showcase the unique qualities of our wheat, and build a trust and a relationship with customers, assuring them that North Dakota producers are committed to raising some of the best wheat in the world, designed with the customer in mind.

Last fall, Commissioners Greg Svenningsen and Philip Volk attended the Japan Buyers Conference and various other commissioners have participated in USW board travel, meeting key customers around the world and USW staff. Producers return from board travel with a new understanding of key customer markets and a keen appreciation for USW staff working overseas on their behalf.

The Northern Crops Institute (NCI) Grain Procurement course, held since 1983, has also been a great opportunity for producers to interact with customers with USW sending key participants.

Currently, NDWC is exploring and enacting efforts, along with USW, to interact with customers on a virtual platform. This is needed with the current travel restrictions worldwide and may offer additional opportunities to reach more customers within a country or region.

NDWC Commissioner Phil Volk and his family were featured in a USW video shoot during their 2019 spring wheat harvest.

What’s happening lately in North Dakota that overseas customers should know about?

Producing a quality product is a source of pride for North Dakota wheat farm families. NDWC contributes about 40 percent of its budget to research, prioritizing investment on customer needs – specifically end-use quality. Our board understands the need to maintain HRS and durum quality to continue to meet customer demands. Wheat is grown all over the world, and many customers can source general quality wheat from closer points of origin. Our wheat needs to provide special, inherent quality attributes that cannot be sourced elsewhere. The consistent, and strong track record of export sales to many traditional customers attests to the benefits this focus on quality has brought to our producers. Our board members and other producers involved in Commission activities have genuine enthusiasm for growing quality wheat for customers, once they learn more about customer needs and meet customers in person.

Learn more about the North Dakota Wheat Commission on its website here and on Facebook.

Current and past NDWC commissioners at the 2016 USW Summer Board Meeting in Fargo, N.D.

 

NDWC Administrator Neal Fisher at the 2017 USW World Staff Conference in Estes Park, Colo.

 

 

 

NDWC Commissioner Phil Volk and North Dakota wheat farmer (far left) participated on the 2019 USW South Asia Board Team trip to the Philippines, Singapore and Indonesia.

 

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The new crop U.S. wheat harvest is underway in south Texas and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) will publish its first “Harvest Report” for marketing year 2020/21 on Friday, May 29.

USW Harvest Reports are published every Friday afternoon, Eastern Daylight Time, throughout the season with updates and comments on harvest progress, crop conditions and current crop quality for hard red winter (HRW), soft red winter (SRW), hard red spring (HRS), soft white (SW) and durum wheat.

Anyone may subscribe to an email version of the “Harvest Report” at this link. USW includes links in the email to additional wheat condition and grading information, including the U.S. Drought Monitor, USDA/NASS Crop Progress and National Wheat Statistics, the official FGIS wheat grade standards and USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. Harvest Reports are also posted online on the USW website here.

The weekly Harvest Report is a key component of USW’s international technical and marketing programs. It is a resource that helps customers understand how the crop situation may affect basis values and export prices.

USW’s overseas offices share the report with their market contacts and use it as a key resource for answering inquiries and meeting with customers. USW/Mexico City also publishes the report in Spanish.

USW wants to thank and acknowledge the organizations that make “Harvest Reports” possible, including:

  • California Wheat Commission Laboratory;
  • Durum Wheat Quality and Pasta Processing Laboratory, North Dakota State University (NDSU)
  • Great Plains Analytical Laboratory;
  • Plains Grains, Inc.;
  • State Wheat Commissions;
  • USDA/Federal Grain Inspection Service;
  • USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service;
  • USDA/Agricultural Research Service Hard Winter Wheat Quality Laboratory;
  • USDA/National Agricultural Statistics Service;
  • Wheat Marketing Center;
  • Wheat Quality & Carbohydrate Research, Department of Plant Sciences, NDSU;
  • Wheat Quality Council.

 

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For 40 years, U.S. wheat farmers have supported U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) efforts to work directly with buyers and promote their six classes of wheat. Their contributions to state wheat commissions, who in turn contribute a portion of those funds to USW, qualifies USW to apply for export market development funds managed by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Currently, 17 state wheat commissions are USW members and this series highlights those partnerships and the work being done state-by-state to provide unmatched service. Behind the world’s most reliable supply of wheat are the world’s most dependable people – and that includes our state wheat commissions.


Member: Washington Grain Commission
USW Member since 1980  

Location: Spokane, Washington
Classes of Wheat Grown: Soft White (SW) and White Club, Hard Red Winter (HRW), Hard Red Spring (HRS) and Hard White (HW)
USW Leadership: Wayne Klindworth, 1990/91 Chairman; Christopher Shaffer, 1999/00 Chairman; Randy Suess 2011/12; Mike Miller 2017/18 Chairman

The goal of the Washington Wheat Commission (WGC) when it was chartered in 1958 was “to do as a group what cannot be done alone.” Now, more than half a century later, the organization, known as the Washington Grain Commission since 2009, is none the less committed to developing and improving existing markets for Eastern Washington farmers. The WGC is committed to growing market share in existing, emerging, and new markets around the world. Through promotion, trade, transportation and policy activities, and research on end use qualities, the WGC can carry the wheat legacy first brought by the famed American explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, who, it’s said, planted the first Washington wheat in 1805.

2017-18 USW Officers, including Washington wheat farmer Mike Miler as the new installed 2017/18 Chairman.

Why is export market development important to Washington wheat farmers and why do they continue to support USW?

While around 46 percent of the nation’s wheat crop is exported, upwards of 90 percent of Eastern Washington’s wheat crop heads overseas. About 80 percent of Washington’s production is in soft white wheat, used in sponge cakes, cookies and crackers.

Although we constantly emphasize quality, consistency is just as important as end product manufacturers need a wheat that will perform each and every time in the high throughput environment of modern food manufacturing facilities as well as in more artisan type uses. Having USW’s technical staff overseas is incredibly important. Their ability to troubleshoot problems and provide solutions is one aspect. The other is simply their enthusiasm for wheat sourced from the United States and how they communicate that commitment to customers.

How have Washington wheat farmers recently interacted with overseas customers?

Washington hosts upwards to a dozen trade teams a year from customers located in the Pacific Rim and Latin America. These opportunities not only allow us to educate buyers about the quality and performance of Eastern Washington wheat, they provide a venue for them to see wheat growing in a field in one of the most beautiful growing regions in the world.

With the WGC based out of Spokane, we also can introduce customers to wheat breeders at Washington State University and the Western Wheat Quality Lab in Pullman, where wheat samples are milled and evaluations of their quality tested. We also regularly take them to our nearby shuttle train loading facilities and to barge loading facilities on the Snake/Columbia River System. Due to restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have more recently been keeping touch with our customers with the help of USW, through phone calls, emails, videos, virtual meetings and even through the WGC podcast which has listeners overseas.

WGC CEO Glen Squires (R) with a U.S. wheat customer from Southeast Asia during the 2019 wheat harvest in Eastern Washington.

What is happening lately in Washington that overseas customers should know about?

Club wheat, which is a sub class of soft white wheat, has received increased attention thanks to an initiative with the Japanese. Technical exchange between breeders and Japanese milling representatives has helped identify specific end-product quality needs. This kind of cooperation is crucial in terms of getting customers what they want. We also have dialogue with private breeding companies of the absolute necessity of releasing high quality varieties. Our Preferred Wheat Variety brochure helps in that process.

Washington wheat farmers are actively tending to the wheat crop as they do every year to ensure the highest quality wheat is available for our customers. Field work is underway, equipment is being maintained and the crop is being tended in this moment of COVID-19 distancing protocols. Wheat breeders are actively working on new varieties and wheat variety quality testing efforts remain a key focus. The grain handling systems, including the railroads and river barge system, are fully operational as well. There are no delays in providing our overseas customers with high quality grain to meet their needs.

Learn more about the Washington Grain Commission on its website and on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

A 2018 USW Trade Delegation from the Philippines visited the Washington Grain Commission and met with several farmers.

Randy Suess, retired Washington wheat farmer and 2011/12 USW Chairman, traveled to several countries with USW including Yemen where this picture was taken. Read more about Randy’s experiences here.

Tsung-Yuan (John) Lin (R) a U.S. wheat customer from Taiwan in Washington with Washington Grain Commission staff in a soft white wheat field.

Washington wheat farmer Mike Carstensen was a member of the 2018 USW Board team that traveled to North Asia, including to this visit to a Chinese bakery.

 

Washington wheat farmer Gary Bailey was a member of the 2016 USW Board team that traveled to Japan and Korea.

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By Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Global Technical Services

In the increasingly competitive global wheat market, it is important to review the advantages that U.S. wheat delivers to millers and bakers. In a series of six articles, we will review the advantages that each unique class of U.S. wheat brings to the market.


In this post, we discuss the value U.S. hard red spring (HRS) wheat brings to the global market. With an annual average production over the last five years of 14.1 million metric tons (MMT), or about 518 million bushels, HRS is the second largest wheat class and accounts for about 26 percent of the total wheat produced in the United States.

Milling Advantages

U.S. HRS wheat poses some unique opportunities and challenges to the miller. HRS is the hardest of all the non-durum classes of wheat but also has the smallest average kernel size. Millers experienced with HRS in their grist know excellent results can be achieved with some adjustments.

First, adjustments to the screen sizes of separating equipment in the cleaning house will reduce the risk of losing good quality, but smaller  kernels. Longer conditioning time is needed to assure the tempering water has fully penetrated the harder HRS wheat kernels. Optimal conditioning time is dependent on several factors, but in most cases, HRS will require a minimum 20 hours for optimal conditioning time. The miller’s reward for these adjustments will be seen in a higher than average flour yield from the harder, more compact HRS endosperm. The hard endosperm creates excellent granulation through the break system to provide an abundance of stock to the purifiers. This gives the miller the opportunity to maximize flour with low ash and excellent color throughout the head end of the mill.

Baking Advantages

Because of the high protein content and strong dough characteristic of U.S. HRS wheat flour, it is commonly used in a blend to improve the performance of a lower protein, base flour. Only a few end products such as artisan style bread, whole wheat products and bagels may be made with 100 percent HRS flour to achieve optimal performance. For nearly any type of bread or leavened bread product such as thick pizza crust, the greatest value of HRS flour comes from blending it with a lower protein, lower cost flour to create optimal ingredients for individual products. In markets where consumers are demanding a “clean label,” HRS flour blended with HRW or other wheat flour can create better water absorption and loaf volume while using less or no chemical dough improvers. And many pasta makers around the world know that when traditional durum wheat semolina is not needed, HRS wheat flour or semolina is a very acceptable alternative.

U.S. Wheat Advantages

As we highlight each class in this series, let us not forget the advantages that all U.S. wheat classes bring to the market. First, and perhaps the most important, is consistency in quality and consistency of supply. Although each new crop year brings different challenges and opportunities, U.S. wheat is always available to the global market. Second, U.S. wheat delivers variety. Wheat is a raw material manufactured into a bakery ingredient, flour. The flour made from each unique class of U.S. wheat brings value to market in the unique quality characteristics to make a variety of baked goods and noodles. It is also important to understand the value of blending flour from one or more types of wheat to optimize the flour performance at the minimal cost. Each region, country and culture have wheat-based food products that are uniquely their own. With six unique classes of wheat, the United States has the right wheat class to deliver the optimal quality and value for every variety of product on the market.

Learn more about the six classes of U.S. wheat here or leave a question in the U.S. Wheat Associates’ “Ask The Expert” section.


Read more about other U.S. wheat classes in this series.

Hard Red Winter
Hard White
Soft White
Soft Red Winter
Durum

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For 40 years, U.S. wheat farmers have supported U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) efforts to work directly with buyers and promote their six classes of wheat. Their contributions to state wheat commissions, who in turn contribute a portion of those funds to USW, qualifies USW to apply for export market development funds managed by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Currently, 17 state wheat commissions are USW members and this series highlights those partnerships and the work being done state-by-state to provide unmatched service. Behind the world’s most reliable supply of wheat are the world’s most dependable people – and that includes our state wheat commissions.


Member: Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council
USW Member since 1980

Location: Red Lakes Falls, Minnesota
Classes of Wheat Grown: Hard Red Spring (HRS), Hard Red Winter (HRW)
USW Leadership: Don Loeslie, 1989/90 Chairman; Bruce Hamnes, 2000/01 Chairman; Rhonda K. Larson, 2019/20 Secretary-Treasurer (slated for 2021/22 Chairman)

The Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council builds opportunities for farmer profitability working to enhance wheat research and promote wheat in the marketplace.

(L to R): Michael Peters, Oklahoma; Rhonda Larson, Minnesota; Darren Padget, Oregon; Doug Goyings, Ohio; Vince Peterson, USW.

Why is export market development important to Minnesota wheat farmers and why do they continue to support USW?

Like most of the country, more than half the wheat grown in Minnesota is exported. Developing and maintaining wheat export markets is vital to improving farm profitability.

“We produce more wheat in Minnesota than can be consumed by Minnesota, so overseas customers are essential customers for our wheat farmers,” said Charlie Vogel, Chief Executive Officer.

Scott Swenson (second from left), a farmer from Minnesota, participated on the 2018 USW Board Team that traveled to China and Taiwan.

How have Minnesota wheat farmers recently interacted with overseas customers?

Minnesota has proudly hosted many trade teams over the years and are excited to continue to elevate this effort in the future. Most recently, Minnesota hosted a team from Africa that visited the Duluth Seaway Port Authority, toured the CHS Export Terminal, met with Riverland Ag regarding storage in Duluth, wheat farms and elevators throughout Northern Minnesota.

“Most of our interaction with overseas customers has been possible because of U.S. Wheat Associates and the Northern Crops Institute,” said Vogel. “This face to face interaction is where we have a chance to tell our story and demonstrate the value and quality of Minnesota Wheat to our customers.”

In 2017, a USW Regional African trade delegation visited farmers in Minnesota.

What is happening lately in Minnesota that overseas customers should know about?

University of Minnesota wheat breeders and private breeders are increasing their emphasis on improving wheat quality in our varieties. They are making strides in improving yield that helps farmers, but at the same time, elevating the level of quality wheat we’re able to provide. Historically, HRS wheat in Minnesota produces a high protein product and a high-quality baking experience.

“Minnesota growers are by far the most progressive people I’ve ever worked with in terms of weighing economic, environmental and consumers demands,” said Vogel. “They look beyond the farm gates, to a bigger picture of the customers we serve around the world.”

Learn more about the Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council on its website and on Facebook and Twitter.

 

 

Greg LeBlanc (fourth from right), a farmer from Minnesota, participated on the 2016 USW Board Team that traveled to Japan and Korea.

Minnesota representatives Mark Jossund (second from left) and Kevin Leiser (third from left) at the 2016 USW Board of Directors Summer Meeting.

Minnesota Wheat CEO Charlie Vogel with USW Market Analyst Claire Hutchins and South Dakota Wheat CEO Reid Christopherson at the Northern Commodity Transportation Conference in Bloomington, MN, in March 2020.