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Originally published by Kansas Wheat. Excerpts reprinted with permission.

About 45 people from 13 U.S. states traveled on six routes across Kansas May 18 to 20, stopping at wheat fields along the routes to assess crop conditions and yield potential, as part of the 2021 Hard Winter Wheat Tour sponsored by the Wheat Quality Council.

What they found is perhaps a more productive crop than many had anticipated. The tour estimated an average yield potential of 58.1 bushels per acre, equal to 76.49 kilograms per hectoliter or 3.91 metric tons per hectare.

While an estimated 7.3 million acres of wheat were planted in the fall, the Kansas wheat crop varies in condition based on planting date and amount of moisture received. What Mother Nature has planned for the rest of the wheat crop year remains to be seen (harvest is likely 4 to 7 weeks away), but the tour captures a moment in time for the yield potential for fields across the state.

Calculating Yield in Muddy Boots

Every tour participant makes yield calculations at each stop based on three different area samplings per field. These individual estimates are averaged with the rest of their route mates and eventually added to a formula that produces a final yield estimate for the areas along the routes. The WQC held the hard winter wheat tour about 3 weeks later in May this year and more than half the fields were headed out. That allowed use of a different yield potential calculation than if the fields had not yet headed.

Recent rains across the central and southern Plains that gave tour scouts muddy boots helped improve crop conditions, especially for early seeded crops, and in northern and central Kansas that had not been stressed by dry conditions.

Day 1

On May 18, tour scouts made ­­­171 stops at wheat fields across north central, central and northwest Kansas, and into southern counties in Nebraska. The calculated yield average that day was 59.2 bushels per acre, which was 12.3 bushels higher than the yield of 46.9 bushels per acre from the same routes in 2019.

Calculating yield potential at the 2021 hard winter wheat tour

A scout in the 2021 Hard Winter Wheat Tour takes a measurement that will be used to help calculate the yield potential of this Kansas wheat field.

Day 2

The hard winter wheat tour continued May 19 with six routes covering western, southwest and south-central Kansas as well as some northern Oklahoma counties. The scouts made 164 stops in wet fields from rain received over the past several days. The wheat in southwest Kansas still looks rough, but crop conditions improved as the tour moved east.

The calculated yield from all cars this day was 56.7 bushels per acre. Tour participants remarked that those yields seemed high because the formula used to calculate yield potential does not take disease, weed nor pest pressure into consideration. Scouts saw some instances of wheat streak mosaic virus, stripe rust and Russian wheat aphid. Many of the fields with rust had been sprayed with a fungicide.

Day 3

The official hard winter wheat tour projection for total production in Kansas is 365 million bushels or 9.94 million metric tons (MMT). This number is the average of estimated predictions from tour participants who gathered information from 350 fields across the state. Based on May 1 conditions, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) predicted the Kansas crop to be 331 million bushels, with a yield of 48 bushels per acre, or 9.1 MMT. The NASS estimate is 18% more than its 2020 estimate at the same time.

The NASS estimate for the Nebraska wheat crop is 36.7 million bushels, or just under 1.0 MMT, up 8% from last year. The Colorado crop is estimated at 64.5 million bushels (1.76 MMT). Oklahoma’s production is estimated at 110.74 million bushels (3.1 MMT).

Tour participant discussions from each day of the 2021 hard winter wheat tour are posted at https://www.youtube.com/c/KansasWheat.

Read more about the 2020 virtual tour and the 2019 tour from U.S. Wheat Associates (USW).

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The new U.S. winter wheat crop is rapidly developing and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) will publish its first “Harvest Report” for marketing year 2021/22 on Friday, May 14.

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. Several USW offices publish the reports in the local language. Additional links to Harvest Report are available on USW’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages.

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

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Each of the six U.S. wheat classes brings unique advantages to the increasingly competitive global wheat market.

First, and perhaps the most important, is consistency in quality and supply. Although each new crop year brings different challenges and opportunities, high-quality U.S. wheat is always available to the global market.

Second, each class of wheat provides the ingredients needed to produce so much of the world’s food. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Vice President of Global Technical Services Mark Fowler makes the point this way: “Our six U.S. wheat classes give our customers the opportunity to optimize taste, texture and appearance of thousands of food products made with flour or semolina.”

Every region, country and culture have wheat-based food products that are uniquely their own. The United States has the right wheat class and quality to make every one of those products more appealing and valuable.

In the video below, Mark Fowler talks about each of the six wheat classes grown in the United States, their definition, uses and their functional characteristics.

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.

Interested in more USW video content? Visit our video library at https://vimeo.com/uswheatassociates.


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

Hard Red Winter
Hard Red Spring
Hard White
Soft White
Soft Red Winter
Durum

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Even in the face of a global pandemic, dependable U.S. wheat farmers persisted in their essential effort to produce the highest quality wheat in the world, while the reliable U.S. export supply system continued operating to move that wheat to the world.

As a key part of its commitment to transparency and trade service, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has produced its annual Crop Quality Report that includes grade, flour and baking data for all six U.S. wheat classes. The report compiles comprehensive data from analysis of hundreds of samples conducted during and after harvest by our partner organizations and laboratories. The report provides essential, objective information to help buyers get the wheat they need at the best value possible.

The 2020 USW Crop Quality Report is now available for download in EnglishSpanishFrench and Italian. Arabic, Chinese and, for the first time, Portuguese, translations will be available soon. USW also shares more detailed, regional reports for all six U.S. wheat classes on its website, as well as additional information on its sample and collection methods, solvent retention capacity (SRC) recommendations, standard deviation tables and more. Download these reports and resources from the www.uswheat.org here.

The pandemic has changed other traditional parts of the USW Crop Quality outreach effort. Unfortunately, face-to-face Crop Quality Seminars are not possible in 2020. Instead, USW is preparing a unique way for our customers to experience and gain more knowledge about the 2020 U.S. wheat crops. For more information, please contact your local USW office.

Continue to look for updates from the 2020 USW Crop Quality Seminars on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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Samples from the 2020 hard white (HW) wheat crop show good quality performance in milling, dough properties and finished products, including pan breads, Asian noodles and steamed breads. The Southern Plains, Pacific Northwest (PNW) and California composites all show good bread baking potential. Exportable supplies are limited.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has posted a full 2020 California Hard White Regional Report on its website here.

The 2020 HW crop was grown primarily in Idaho, Kansas, Colorado, California and Nebraska. Other states including Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota had limited production. U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) estimates 2020 HW production at 894,483 metric tons (MT), down from 2019’s 979,321 MT reported by USDA.

Here are a few highlights from the 2020 HW wheat crop.

Wheat and Grade Data:

  • Grade – Five composites graded U.S. No. 1. The medium protein Southern Plains graded U.S. No. 3 due to 2.1% wheat of contrasting classes.
  • Test Weight ranged from 61.0 to 64.1 lb/bu (80.2 to 84.2 kg/hl).
  • Wheat Moisture ranged from 8.9 to 11.0%.
  • Wheat Protein ranged from 11.3 to 13.2% (12% mb).
  • Wheat Ash ranged from 1.43 to 1.62% (14% mb).
  • Kernel Hardness ranged from 59.0 to 81.5.
  • Kernel Diameters ranged from 2.47 to 2.86 mm.
  • 1000 Kernel Weight values of the Southern Plains medium- and high-protein composites are 29.3 and 27.5 g, respectively. All others are greater than or equal to 31.9 g.
  • Wheat Falling Number values are 396 sec or higher for all composites.

Flour, Dough and Baking Data:

  • Laboratory Mill Flour Extractions range from 70.6 to 74.2%, L* values (whiteness) 90.7 to 92.0, flour protein 10.8 to 12.7% (14% mb), and flour ash 0.45 to 0.50% (14% mb). These values are within the historical ranges of HW flour considering the wide production area.
  • Flour Wet Gluten Contents range 24.8 to 40.8% depending on flour protein content.
  • Amylograph peak viscosities are between 714 and 1039 BU for all composites.
  • Damaged Starch values are in the range of 3.1 to 5.5%.
  • Lactic Acid SRC values range 144 to 157%, indicating medium to strong gluten strength.
  • Farinograph water absorptions range 55.0 to 62.4% and stability times 9.0 to 37.0 minutes, exhibiting medium to strong dough characteristics.
  • Alveograph value ranges are: P (59 to 108 mm); L (99 to 135 mm); and W (240 to 395 (10-4 J)).
  • Extensograph data at a 135-minute rest shows maximum resistance in the range of 740 to 1013 BU, extensibility 15.6 to 23.2 cm and area 153 to 246 cm2.

All composites show good baking performance relative to protein content, with bake absorptions in the range of 59.9 to 67.4%, loaf volumes of 796 to 942 cc, and crumb grain and texture scores of 7.0 to 8.0 points.

Noodle Evaluation: HW flours and a control flour were evaluated for both Chinese raw noodles (white salted) and Chinese wet noodles (yellow alkaline). Overall, this year’s HW samples will produce noodles with acceptable color and texture if low ash patent flour is used.

  • Chinese Raw Noodles – The L* values at 0 hours of production and after 24 hours of storage at room temperature are acceptable for all samples (72 is the minimum value at 24 hours). The sensory color stability scores for PNW and Southern Plains samples are similar to or better than the control noodle of 7.0. Cooked noodle texture is softer for California composites.
  • Chinese Wet Noodles – Sensory color stability scores are acceptable for parboiled noodles from all composites. The cooked noodle texture is softer for PNW composites.

Steamed Bread Evaluation: HW flours were evaluated for Asian steamed breads in comparison with a control flour. Results show all composites are acceptable for steamed bread with total scores equivalent to or better than the control flour. Blending 25% SW flour with high protein HW flour would improve overall steamed bread quality.

Buyers are encouraged to review their quality specifications to ensure that their purchases meet their expectations.


View other summaries of the 2020 U.S. wheat crop:
Hard Red Winter 
Hard Red Spring
Soft White
Soft Red Winter
Durum

View the full 2020 U.S. Crop Quality Report and other related resources here.

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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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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: 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.