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U.S. wheat farm families grow six distinct classes of wheat across the diverse landscape of the United States. Those farmers take great care in producing the highest quality wheat in the most sustainable ways possible to honor their family legacies and to ensure greater value for their customers at home and abroad. Behind the world’s most reliable supply of wheat are the world’s most dependable people.


The Peters Family: Peters Farms is a family-owned operation that was started when Michael Peters’ great-great grandfather homesteaded a piece of land in central Oklahoma in the 1880s. Today, Michael farms with his father, Fred Peters, and his son Tyler. They grow hard red winter (HRW) wheat and graze cattle on some of that crop over the late fall and winter. Linda Peters, Michael’s wife, is a teacher and church musician who remains an active participant in the farm operations.

Location: Okarche, Okla.
Classes of Wheat Grown:  Hard Red Winter (HRW)
Leadership: Michael Peters: 2020/21 Secretary/Treasurer, U.S. Wheat Associates; Commissioner, Oklahoma Wheat Commission (OWC); Chair, USW Audit Committee; Past Chair, USW Wheat Quality Committee; member of the USW and National Association of Wheat Growers Joint International Trade Committee; Past President, St. John’s Lutheran Church; Past President, CHS Western Oklahoma Cooperative; member of Okarche Rural Fire Fighters’ Association Board.


View other videos and stories in this series:
Stories from the Wheat Farm – The Next Generation in Kansas
Stories from the Wheat Farm – Loving the Work in Ohio
Stories from the Wheat Farm – Committed to Stewardship in Washington
Stories from the Wheat Farm – Living with Purpose in North Dakota
Stories from the Wheat Farm – Committed to Wheat Quality in Oregon

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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: South Dakota Wheat Commission
Member of USW since 1980

Location: Pierre, S.Dak.
Classes of wheat grown: Hard Red Winter (HRW) and Hard Red Spring (HRS)
USW Leadership: Milo Schanzenbach, 1983/84; Stanley Porch, 1994/95; Darrell Davis, 2012/13.

The South Dakota Wheat Commission (SDWC) was established in 1961 when the legislature passed the South Dakota Wheat Resources Act declaring it “the public policy of the state of South Dakota, by protecting and stabilizing the wheat industry and the economy of the areas producing wheat.” Its mission “to stabilize and improve South Dakota’s wheat industry through research, market development and education,” has grown the footprint of South Dakota wheat to over 100 countries around the world. Research has allowed farmers to produce high-quality, high yielding wheat that has enhanced the overall appeal of wheat grown in the Great Plains state.

Darrell Davis, 2012/13 USW Chairman and South Dakota wheat farmer at the 2012 USW Summer Board Meeting.

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

South Dakota is historically the sixth largest U.S. wheat producing state. Production is nearly equally split between U.S. HRW and HRS wheat. Unfortunately, despite its production size, there are no flour mills in South Dakota, so every bushel of wheat produced must leave the state. The final destination of the wheat varies between domestic and global markets. Without a strong global market for high quality milling wheat, South Dakota wheat farmers would lack the competition that is necessary to also enhance the value of domestic sales. Collaboration with other wheat producing states, through a USW membership, greatly strengthens South Dakota’s global promotion and export opportunities.

2015 USW Nigerian Trade Delegation visit to South Dakota.

 

2019 Taiwan Goodwill Mission visiting South Dakota.

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

South Dakota wheat farmers enjoyed hosting the Taiwan Flour Mills Association Goodwill Mission in 2019. It was a pleasure to once again jointly sign a Letter of Intent that confirms their desire for the procurement of high milling quality, U.S. wheat. A special fellowship develops in the opportunity to connect outstanding wheat farmers with outstanding global wheat customers. When health precautions prevented the visit of a Sub-Saharan Africa trade delegation to South Dakota in 2020, that opportunity for information exchange and a face-to-face experience was repackaged into a virtual visit. The virtual format provided exposure to an even larger group of customers than might be included in a normal trade delegation visit.

Ralph Bean, Agricultural Counselor, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Embassy Manila (far right), met with farmers from South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana during their trip to South Asia as a part of the 2017 USW Board team. Pictured second from the right is Clint Vanneman, South Dakota wheat farmer. 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.

 

1994/95 USW Chairman and South Dakota wheat farmer Stanley Porch (far left) hosted the 2015 USW Nigerian Trade Delegation on his farm and is pictured here with past USW Cape Town and Lagos staff, Gerald Theus (middle left) and Muyiwa Talabi (middle right), as well as 2012/13 USW Chairman and South Dakota wheat farmer Darrell Davis (far right).

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

Recent wet climatic conditions have reduced the wheat acres seeded across South Dakota in recent years. Although acres were reduced, the 2020 harvest was phenomenal! A new state record was established for HRW wheat. Harvest results consistently revealed high yielding fields with desirable test weight and protein. Throughout the season, the wheat had strong straw strength with extremely limited disease challenges. Results from the 2020 HRS wheat harvest also showed strong yields, test weight and protein with limited disease challenges. The exceptional wheat harvested in South Dakota in 2020 will produce equally exceptional milling potential for our customers!

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

 

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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: Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee
Member of USW since 1980

Location: Fort Collins, Colo.
Classes of wheat grown: Hard Red Winter (HRW) and Hard White (HW)
USW Leadership: Harrell Ridley, 1982/83; Ray Selbe, 1991/92

The Centennial State has a proud history of wheat farming that goes back to the state’s formation in 1876. Despite the rough topography and arid climate that Colorado is famous for, wheat is grown in more than 40 of its 64 counties, with more than two million acres of wheat on average planted in Colorado each year. The Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee (CWAC) is a producer-elected board whose goal is to help wheat farmers in the state produce, develop, maintain and increase domestic and export sales, consumption and utilization of Colorado Wheat, while also supporting education, research and promotional programs.

The Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee Board takes a picture before taking a tour of the National Laboratory for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, CO.

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

Roughly 80 percent of Colorado’s wheat crop is exported, and as one of Colorado’s top ranked exports, it averages $234 million in value each year, second only to beef exports. Hard red winter (HRW) and hard white (HW) wheat produced in Colorado is sought after in many of the world’s major wheat markets, including Mexico, Japan, Southeast Asia and Africa. This makes developing overseas markets a top priority. Colorado wheat farmers are devoted to producing a high-quality product for millers and bakers around the world. They recognize the value brought by USW staff living and working in these areas, promoting the quality of Colorado and U.S. wheat to these competitive markets.

Steve Beedy (R) on a USW board team trip to Asia in 2012.

How have Colorado wheat farmers recently connected with overseas customers?

Over the years, Colorado has hosted several USW trade delegations and has also sent several of its board members overseas. In the last nine years, Colorado has focused more on funding improved quality characteristics in public varieties than on trade missions, but we have continued to connect with overseas customers through representation by the USW overseas offices and continued board member involvement at national meetings. Most recently, CWAC Executive Director Brad Erker, took part in a virtual crop quality seminar with Chilean flour millers. During the seminar, he discussed the production conditions and quality of the U.S. HRW crop.

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

Colorado wheat farmers help fund the public wheat breeding program at Colorado State University (CSU) through a two cent per bushel assessment. Thanks to the help from Colorado farmers, the CSU wheat breeding program has built a reputation for success. The program has focused on developing varieties that not only are adapted to Colorado’s unique growing conditions, but also have excellent end use quality to meet the needs of millers and bakers. Varieties developed help with common issues the Colorado wheat farmer often faces. The Colorado Wheat Research Foundation (CWRF) and CWAC funded development of the CoAXium Wheat Production System, which helps farmers control winter annual grassy weeds in their fields and reduce dockage factors. The CWRF is licensing the technology to other breeding partners to help the entire production system be more efficient. The foundation also helped develop HW varieties with low polyphenol oxidase (PPO), which reduces browning in baked goods, a benefit in whole grain applications. A lot of attention is now turning to development of semi-solid varieties that resist the wheat stem sawfly, an emerging and devastating pest. Better genetic resistance to wheat stem sawfly will help Colorado farmers continue producing some of the highest quality wheat for customers around the world.

Learn more about the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee on its website here and on Facebook and Twitter.

The CSU Wheat Breading team planting plots at the Agricultural Research, Development and Education Center (ARDEC) outside of Fort Collins, CO.

 

 

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Chinese trading concern COFCO, as part of a commitment to purchase U.S. farm products, for the first time in recent history purchased hard red winter (HRW) wheat in marketing years 2019/20 and 2020/21. COFCO has purchased about 672,000 metric tons (MT) of HRW for immediate sale to Chinese flour mills.

On behalf of the farmers we represent, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) helps buyers and end users make the best use possible of U.S. wheat. Because HRW has not been commonly used in China, the USW team in China decided to sample and test the wheat purchased to demonstrate the usefulness of this versatile class.

A representative sample of HRW for the study came directly from a COFCO shipment taken at a port in southern China’s Guangdong Province.

Thoughtful Test Design

USW Technical Specialist Dr. Ting Liu thoughtfully designed the study. After referring to some customer inquiries and previous studies done on HRW for various regional markets, Dr. Liu and USW Country Director Shirley Lu selected several end use applications to test using different flour blends with HRW that could be measured for performance against locally produced control flours.

The USW team worked closely with local flour mills and the Sino-American Baking School (SABS) in Guangzhou to mill the HRW sample on a Buhler laboratory mill. They analysed the characteristics of single HRW flour and blends with flour from U.S. hard red spring (HRS) and soft white (SW) wheat. Nine end products were produced and tested, including pan and sweet breads, sweet rolls, hamburger buns, baguettes, croissants, pizza dough, noodles and steamed breads.

“After some very intensive work in the test bakery, the hard red winter single flour and blends cooperated so well our team decided to run some tests twice to confirm the stellar results they observed,” said USW Regional Vice President for China and Taiwan Jeff Coey.

Sharing Results

On Aug. 14, 2020, USW conducted an online presentation to share the test results with an estimated 200 contacts from China’s mills and wheat trading organizations. The presentation focused on measured HRW wheat and flour quality, along with results of the baking tests. USW also shared typical HRW quality data from the 2019/20 crop and initial information on conditions of the 2020/21 crop.

In opening remarks to the participants, Coey said “in terms of end use quality, I want to advise you to consider U.S. hard red winter a very reliable medium- to high-gluten strength wheat that should perform well for you in a variety of your most demanding applications.”

Sharing photos and data from end products produced with single and blended flours, USW Beijing colleagues informed Chinese customers about the excellent performance of U.S. HRW in an Aug. 14 webinar.

The USW Beijing team greatly appreciates the cooperation of: COFCO for the chance to sample an actual HRW shipment; the Wheat Marketing Center, Portland, Ore., for data from their previous work on pizza dough and noodle results; the SABS staff who helped USW conduct its tests before its regular course schedule started; and several Chinese flour mills who allowed USW to use their instrumentation to help complete the testing.

Additional specific results or the tests are available from the USW Beijing office and the regional USW office in Hong Kong.

 

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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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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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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: California Wheat Commission
Member of USW since 1994

Location: Woodland, Calif.
Classes of wheat grown: Hard Red Winter (HRW), Hard White (HW), Soft White (SW), Durum
USW Leadership:  Roy Motter, 2014/15 Chairman

Wheat is an important part of farming economics in California both as a valuable rotational crop and a primary crop. The California Wheat Commission’s (CWC) mission is “to support research that improves California wheat quality and marketability, and to develop and maintain domestic and international markets for California wheat.”

USW Past President Alan Tracy visited 2014/15 Chairman Roy Motter on his farm in California in 2015.

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

Since wheat is a global commodity, U.S. pricing is tied to the ups and downs of the global marketplace. A strong export market leads to a higher market value and potentially a higher premium for California wheat. While flour milled from California wheat has many coveted qualities for baking, pasta and tortilla manufacturers, any pricing premium will be a percentage over the U.S. market. Due to the competition of other high value crops in California, bolstered global wheat prices influence additional planted and harvested acres of wheat. U.S. Wheat Associates unites wheat growers to work together for our common good. As wheat growers, we have all benefited from our membership and USW’s staff working on trade policy, opening new markets and strengthening relationships both domestically and globally to grow our industry.

How have California wheat farmers recently connected with overseas customers?

California wheat farmers connect with overseas customers in USW meetings. California also hosts customers from various mills as part of California Wheat Commission’s training courses. This face to face interaction and learning is the best way for us to build strong relationships with our customers.

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

  • The California Wheat Lab offers milling, baking, pasta making and other flour-based product training. We partner with Andrea Saturno and Marco Fava to offer a pasta course in Spanish.
  • CWC is currently working on creating a targeted artisan baking product course for white and whole grain flours.
  • In collaboration with the University of California-Davis (UCD), CWC developed a new preferred variety list for hard white and hard red wheat and is developing a list for durum wheat. Also, in collaboration with UCD, we have released varieties with high fiber, high yellow pigment and increased protein content. Breeding for high nutrient density wheat crops continues to be a priority for the breeding program, in addition to quality and yield improvements.

Learn more about the California Wheat Commission on its website here and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Linkedin.

Past Chairman Roy Motter and his family’s California wheat farm were featured in a USW profile series on sustainability practices. View the profile here.

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

CWC Executive Director Claudia Carter at the California Wheat Lab.

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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: Kansas Wheat Commission
Member of USW since 1980

Location: Manhattan, Kan.
Classes of wheat grown: Hard Red Winter (HRW); Hard White (HW)
USW Leadership: Adrian J. Polansky, 1985/86 Chairman; Joe Berry, 1996/97 Chairman; Ron Suppes, 2007/08 Chairman

The Kansas Wheat Commission represents “farmers investing in their future.” The grower-funded and governed advocacy organization works to secure a future for Kansas wheat in the global market. International trade, research, export system studies and continually improving wheat varieties are how Kansas wheat remains competitive in the world market. Through a voluntary two cent check-off on every bushel of wheat produced, Kansas wheat growers enhance their productivity and profitability.

USW 2007/08 Chairman Ron Suppes (L), a wheat farmer from Kansas, passes the gavel to Michael Edgar, a wheat farmer from Arizona.

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

Kansas wheat farmers support USW because of the technical expertise and trade assistance they provide to export customers, whose purchases account for about half of the wheat grown in Kansas each year. Much of this wheat is transported by rail to Mexico or to the Gulf of Mexico for export. Mexico is a growing market for Kansas wheat because of free trade policies, population and economic growth and a comparative advantage in transportation logistics.

Gary Millershaski, a USW director and Kansas wheat farmer, was featured along with his family recently in this video, “Stories from the Wheat Farm – The Next Generation in Kansas.”

How have Kansas wheat farmers recently connected with overseas customers?

Each year, international customers travel to Kansas to learn more about the crop, the U.S. wheat grain production and marketing system and the farmers that grow the wheat they buy. These trade teams usually consist of procurement agents, flour millers and executives. They come to Kansas to get a first-hand look at each new crop as it nears the end of its growing season. They discuss the U.S. grading and inspection system to learn how to write their specifications to receive the best product at the most efficient price.

In addition, Kansas wheat farmers and members of the Kansas Wheat staff travel with USW to participate in buyers’ conferences and on USW board teams. We speak at events for international buyers and work with the IGP Institute to provide training to customers.

Kansas wheat farmer Jay Armstrong (R) participated on the 2018 USW Board Team that traveled to South Africa and Nigeria. He is pictured here in a South African wheat field. Read more about this trip here.

A USW Trade Delegation from Nigeria visited in Kansas in 2012. Kansas Wheat has a long history with the Nigerian milling industry and typically hosts customers from there each year.

A USW Sub Saharan Trade Delegation visiting Kansas in 2019.

This year, trade teams look different with current travel restrictions, so Kansas Wheat is reaching out to have virtual discussions with international customers. In June, we are hosting Zoom® meetings with customers from Brazil and Sub-Saharan Africa. While these buyers will not be able to set foot in a Kansas wheat field, they will get the latest information about the 2020 Kansas hard red winter (HRW) and hard white (HW) winter wheat crops, get an early report on grade and non-grade factors, get a live report from a Kansas wheat field, talk to a farmer, and visit with a grain trade representative. There will be a question and answer session for all participants.

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

Wheat harvest in Kansas is just beginning. This year’s crop has had some struggles, from drought conditions last fall, to continued spring drought in the southwest and north central parts of the state, to a damaging April freeze. While the quantity of the crop will likely be slightly lower than normal, the test weight and protein of this year’s crop will likely be above average. There will be enough wheat to meet our customers’ needs.

Kansas Wheat CEO Justin Gilpin (center) gives guests a tour of the Wheat Genetics Resource Center. Learn more about wheat research and breeding here.

The Kansas Wheat Innovation Center (KWIC) was built by the Kansas Wheat Commission, through the Kansas wheat check-off, to get improved wheat varieties into the hands of farmers faster. It represents the single largest research investment by Kansas wheat farmers in history. The KWIC was built on land owned by Kansas State University and is leased to the Kansas Wheat Commission for 50 years. Construction was completed in November 2012. Four new greenhouse bays were completed in spring 2018. Construction of a wheat quality lab housed in the KWIC will be completed this summer.

The KWIC is also home of the world-renowned Wheat Genetics Resource Center (WGRC). The WGRC has established a national and international network to conduct and coordinate genetic studies in wheat. The WGRC has also been recently designated as a National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center. This is the first I/UCRC focusing on plant sciences. The NSF Center is a collaboration between private wheat genetics companies and public universities including Kansas State University, Colorado State University and Washington State University. The goal is to leverage the wide genetic diversity of wheat to improve modern varieties.

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

In 2019, Kansas wheat farmer Brian Linin testified on behalf of U.S. wheat farmers on the importance of the grain inspection system for U.S. export markets. Read more.

Past USW Chairman and Kansas wheat farmer Ron Suppes spoke at an event for the U.S. Agriculture Coalition for Cuba.

Kansas wheat farmer Justin Knopf is featured in USW’s sustainability profiles here.

Past USW Chairman and Kansas wheat farmer Ron Suppes (green shirt), joined USW on its “Food Aid Learning Journey” to Tanzania in 2017. Read more about this trip here.

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U.S. wheat farm families grow six distinct classes of wheat across the diverse landscape of the United States. Those farmers take great care in producing the highest quality wheat in the most sustainable ways possible to honor their family legacies and to ensure greater value for their customers at home and abroad. Behind the world’s most reliable supply of wheat are the world’s most dependable people.


The Kleeman/Millershaski Family: Gary Millershaski started farming with his father-in-law Earl Kleeman in 1992 and his sons Jeremy and Kyler joined the operation four years ago. Sadly, Earl passed away in 2019, but not before he proudly helped harvest what was one of the family’s best wheat crops in years. Kyler Millershaski is excited to build on his family’s legacy as the next generation on the farm.

Location: Lakin, Kansas
Classes of Wheat Grown:  Hard Red Winter (HRW) and Hard White (HW)
Leadership:
Gary Millershaski: Past President, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers; Kansas Wheat Commissioner; USW Director
Kyler Millershaski: Vice President, Kansas Association of Wheat Growers