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U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) sees a robust growth opportunity for U.S. wheat exports to South America. To meet rising demand for bread, snacks and other wheat foods, regional flour millers are hungry for information they need to purchase a wider range of high-quality wheat classes.

U.S. wheat must compete in Colombia, Peru, Chile, Brazil and other South American countries with imported Canadian and Argentinian wheat. Technical training and comparative analysis to demonstrate the advantages of U.S. wheat classes are important parts of USW’s work in the region. However, those efforts are somewhat constrained because a substantial portion of the funding for activities was needed for travel costs to conduct activities in sometimes limited facilities in each country or at U.S. educational institutions.

ATP Funding Yields Innovative Idea

A potential answer to this challenge arrived in 2019 when the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program, administered by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), was created to help U.S. agriculture build new export markets. Under ATP, USW’s regional South American office staff in Santiago, Chile, proposed an innovative promotional concept to establish a regional flour milling, cereal chemistry and baking laboratory in cooperation with a respected university.

Through pandemic-related delays and customs challenges, USW and its project partner, Universidad Mayor, worked steadily to build a facility on the university’s Santiago campus and equip the lab with a test flour mill, wheat and flour analysis instruments and bread ovens. On Dec. 3, 2021, USW and the university dedicated Laboratorio De Analisis De Granos Harinas Y Panifcacion at an event attended by Chile’s Minister of Agriculture, U.S. State Department and FAS officials, the university rector and executives with several Chilean flour mills.

Photos show honored guests at the dedication of the new lab.

Honored Guests. Learning more about the new lab are, (L to R): Bret Tate, Agricultural Attaché, USDA/FAS; Lisa Swenarski, Counselor for Public Affairs, U.S. State Department; Pedro Pablo Lagos, Purchasing Manager, Luchetti Pasta, Santiago, Chile; Andrés Saturno, Technical Manager, USW/Santiago; Miguel Galdós, Regional Director, USW/Santiago; Lisa Swenarski; María Emilia Undurraga, Chilean Minister of Agriculture; Dr. Patricio Manque, Rector, Universidad Mayor. Photos courtesy of Universidad Mayor.

“We are very pleased to open the first lab of its kind in this region with Universidad Mayor,” said Miguel Galdós, USW Regional Director, South America. “We know that technical managers at South American flour mills have more influence today on the types of wheat their mills need to purchase. USW will be able to help more of those managers understand the differential advantages of U.S. wheat classes by conducting programs at this regional lab. At the same time, having access to consistent and reliable testing and analysis will lead to improvements in production processes and help improve the quality of regional wheat-based end products.”

More Efficient, More Effective

“Before now, South American millers would have to send wheat samples to a commercial company in Guatemala for analysis, so this lab adds much more efficiency in its support for regional customers,” said Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Global Technical Services, who participated in the dedication event.

As a partner in the new lab, USW purchased and installed all the equipment using ATP funds, while Universidad Mayor built the lab and will cover fixed costs. USW Santiago in return will share equal access with the university to the lab for technical support activities supporting U.S. wheat exports to South America and remain the lab’s only private partner for 15 years.

Photo shows instruments in a new laboratory for measuring wheat quality that will support wheat exports to South America.

Fully Equipped. USW donated the instruments needed to analyze and compare wheat, flour and baking performance at the new lab. Funding for the equipment came from the Agricultural Trade Promotion program administered by USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service. Photo courtesy of Universidad Mayor.

Golden Opportunity

After attending the dedication event, USW Vice President of Overseas Operations Mike Spier called the new lab “a golden opportunity” to demonstrate the competitive baking advantage of U.S. wheat classes compared to wheat from other origins.

“With the ever-changing travel restrictions and quarantines, USW hasn’t been able to organize in-person technical activities for several months,” Spier said. “The lab provides everything USW Technical Specialist Andrés Saturno needs to get back to demonstrating the superior end-use baking performance of U.S. wheat classes to partners in Chile and other customers in USW’s South America region.”

Impressive Team and Project

For USW Chairman Darren Padget, a wheat farmer from Grass Valley, Ore., the dedication event was his first overseas trip to meet with customers in more than two years and his first visit to South America.

“I was very impressed by the enthusiasm of the regional USW team and among the guests at the dedication for this new lab,” Padget said. “I understand why, partly because we visited a supermarket in Santiago and saw the types of bread consumers purchase and how they shop. In Chile, consumption is very high, and they buy most of their bread for the day by the piece. Consumers there and across South America are looking for excellent quality products with a ‘clean label’ – very few additives. I think this lab will help USW demonstrate how flour from our wheat helps millers and bakers meet that demand.”

The evidence of that was on display at the dedication event as artfully crafted bread products and pizza refreshments baked by Master Baker Didier Rosada and his wife Kathy Cruz using flour milled from U.S. wheat. USW frequently works with Rosada’s Red Brick Consulting company to conduct baking seminars in Spanish-speaking countries. The week of the dedication, Rosada and USW held a workshop using U.S. wheat flour for customers representing 75% of Chile’s milling industry.

 

Impressive artisan bread products display.

An Artful Display. Master Baker Didier Rosada and Katherine Cruz, Red Brick Consulting, produced this impressive display of bread products admired by and shared with guests at the dedication of the new lab, Dec. 3, in Santiago, Chile. Photo courtesy of Universidad Mayor.

Traditional preferences and the landed price of imported wheat will remain a competitive challenge for U.S. wheat in South America. But the complete value of U.S. wheat becomes more obvious to customers through demonstration and training. Now there is a dedicated facility for that work, giving USW the opportunity to interact with regional customers more frequently and invest more of its funding to show them the unique advantages of U.S. wheat.

USW Colleagues at the Lab Dedication that will support Wheat Exports to South America.

Proud Colleagues. The USW/Santiago team who worked tirelessly to build the new laboratory to promote U.S. wheat exports to South America shared their enthusiasm for the project with USW guests. L to R: Mark Fowler, Vice President of Global Technical Services; Maria Martinez, Administrative Assistant; Andres Saturno, Claudia Gomez, Senior Marketing Specialist; Mike Spier, Vice President of Overseas Operations; Paola Valdivia, Finance & Administrative Manager; Miguel Galdos; Osvaldo Seco, Assistant Regional Director; and Darren Padget, USW Chairman.

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The effects of weather on the 2021/22 global wheat crop have sparked a run-up in prices even as harvest progresses in the Northern Hemisphere. Given the market’s supply concerns, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) gathered information from major wheat exporting countries to see what may affect USDA’s next estimates of world supply and demand due on Aug. 12.

Both USDA and the International Grain Council (IGC) still expect 2021/22 global wheat crop production to reach a record level. USDA’s July estimate of 792.4 million metric tons (MMT) was down 2.0 MMT from June. IGC trimmed its latest forecasts by about 1.0 MMT to 788 MMT.

Hot, dry weather in the northern and Pacific Northwest (PNW) regions of the United States and, recently, in Canada, has attracted much of the market’s attention.

United States

The Wheat Quality Council Hard Spring and Durum Tour estimated this year’s hard red spring (HRS/DNS) yield average at 29.1 bushels per acre, compared to 43.1 bushels per acre in 2019. Even so, the tour’s consensus is HRW/DNS protein and kernel size will be very good. U.S. northern durum and soft white (SW) wheat yields are also expected to be down significantly. On the other hand, hard red winter (HRW) and soft red winter (SRW) average yields and production are expected to be higher for 2021/22. In addition, Kansas-based HRW grower Brian Linin, noted, “We put a lot into this crop. Protein [levels] have been awesome.” Follow USW’s weekly Harvest Report for more information.

HRS wheat rows showing effect of drought in North Dakota

Drought in the Northern U.S. Plains could cut the 2021/22 HRS/DNS yield average by one-third, but industry experts expect protein and kernel quality will be good.

Canada

Canada, the largest spring wheat producer, has experienced record temperature and drought in portions of its Prairie Provinces. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) cut its most recent forecast of spring wheat production by 11% to 25.6 MMT, down sharply from previous estimates. That agency also reduced spring wheat export forecasts to 17.7 MMT, down 16% from last year.

South America

In Argentina, dry weather is also a concern, depleting soil moisture for the winter wheat crop and creating a logistics headache. The Buenos Aires Grains Exchange (BAGE) reported potential leaf damage and developmental delays caused by a severe cold front in July. Neighboring Brazil and Paraguay have also experienced potentially damaging cold weather. Brazil experienced some of the lowest temperatures in years throughout July. One local newspaper in Paraguay, “La Nación,” reported there may be a need to import wheat this year instead of marketing excess domestic production.

EU

The European Union’s top wheat-producing states, France and Germany, received persistent rain leading to flooding in some areas, which slowed harvest and created quality concerns. On Aug. 3, France’s farm ministry lowered the estimate for wheat production there by 410 thousand metric tons (TMT), but total production is still expected to be at least 25% more than in 2020/21. In a report following the flooding, a German farmers group suggested there may be crop failures in many areas. Despite this, total German production is expected to be 23.1 MMT, up almost 5% compared to last year. Further east, Romania and Bulgaria each expect to harvest record crops, although official reports said rains could downgrade a portion of Bulgaria’s harvest to feed.

Black Sea

USDA’s May Russian wheat production forecast of 85.0 MMT was seen as bullish by many at the time. Two private Russia-based analysts cited lower-than-expected yields in the Central and Volga regions when they cut their production estimates recently. IKAR cut its forecast for the 2021 wheat crop by 3.0 MT to 78.5 MMT and SovEcon cut its forecast 6.6% to 76.8 MMT. Rosstat, the Russian state statistics agency, reduced winter wheat planted area by 7.5% compared to last year, blaming dry weather. Export prices, as a result, increased at least $7 per MT following the news. The current Russian government export tax scheme is also adding part of that increased export cost.

Ukraine’s wheat harvest lags last year’s pace but yields are up 12% compared to 2020. In reaction to reduced wheat production in Russia, prices for Ukrainian wheat gained $3 to $5 per MT settling between $240 to $243 per MT. The USDA estimates Ukraine’s wheat production to rise 15% this year to 30.0 MMT.

According to one Ukrainian-based broker, farmers in Kazakhstan are expecting a 30% drop in wheat production this year from hot, dry weather in the early summer. The Kazak government is considering banning feed wheat exports while also considering a tax on milling wheat exports following a meeting of the foreign affairs and trade commission last month.

Australia

Wheat growing areas of Australia, especially Western Australia, are “looking extremely good” said one analyst with the Australian Export Grain Innovation Centre. Production estimates are expected to fall 17% compared to 2020/21 when Australia produced a record crop. This year’s crop is expected to be 15% above the 10-year average to 28.5 MMT following a 1% increase to the planted area. Some areas are reporting water logging and would benefit from a couple of weeks of sunny dry weather to dry out the fields.

screenshot from Australian Export Grain Innovation Centre

The Australian Export Grain Innovation Centre reports a second year of good wheat production potential after breaking a severe drought in 2020.

In-Born Optimism

Back in the drought areas of the United States, many wheat farmers are looking ahead to the next crop with winter wheat seeding likely to start in some areas by early September. In an interview with the Pacific Northwest Ag Network, Casey Chumrau, Executive Director of the Idaho Wheat Commission, described the farming community’s outlook this way: “The overall sentiment is not great, but they are farmers, so they are thinking next year is going to be better.”

By Michael Anderson, USW Market Analyst

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By Michael Anderson, USW Market Analyst

The first predictions for global wheat supplies and demand in the new U.S. marketing year (June 1, 2021, to May 31, 2022) are in. Most estimates call for relatively stable world supplies in 2021/22. Only time will tell the real story, but U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) will be watching several market factors closely over the next few months.

USDA published its initial supply and demand forecast for the new 2021/22 U.S. marketing year this month. According to the May World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE), estimated world beginning stocks will be 295 million metric tons (MMT), down 2% from 2020/21, with ending stocks also projected at 295 MMT. While global wheat production is expected to reach a record 789 MMT, global consumption is also forecast at a record 789 MMT.

U.S. Stocks Decline

In the United States, except for soft red winter (SRW) wheat, the stocks-to-use ratio for the other wheat classes all declined in 2020/21. For example, soft white (SW) wheat stocks-to-use ratio went from 35% in 2019/20 to 15% in 2020/21.

Along with USW, buyers of soft white (SW) and hard red spring (HRS) wheat will want to monitor the weather across the PNW and Northern Plains, where conditions have been very dry for growing winter crops and newly seeded spring crops. Recent rain has been helpful but spotty. Timely rains will be needed to avoid a fall-off in production for those wheat classes and northern durum.

Late rain in the primary hard red winter (HRW) states has helped the new crop, but it is too soon to know if that precipitation came too late for wheat in sections of Colorado, Kansas and Oklahoma. USW’s Harvest Report is a helpful way to track crop conditions.

Supplies in Other Exporting Countries

Beginning stocks for the five major historic exporters, the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, and the European Union (EU), are forecast to be 45 MMT, down from 50 MMT in 2020/21. Ending stocks for 2021/22 U.S. marketing year are forecast to be 42 MMT, a decline of 3 MMT compared to 2020/21.

Ending stocks for the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, and the EU reached their highest on record in 2017/18 with 60.0 MMT of global ending stocks. Since then, stocks have fallen. If realized, USDA now expects 2021/22 ending stocks for those five major exporters will be the lowest since 2007/08 at 42 MMT, down 19% from the 10-year average. However, beginning stocks for 2021/22 for Black Sea exporters Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan are forecast at 15 MMT, up 67% from 2020/21. The ending stocks forecast for the Black Sea exporters was also raised compared to 2020/21 and double 2019/20 to 18 MMT.

Canada is experiencing dry weather in its key growing regions, adding to anxiety there, beginning stocks and production are all projected down.

Australia is poised for a second consecutive bumper wheat crop. Near perfect conditions ahead of planting season in April and May and favorable crop weather forecasts from the Australian weather bureau have traders there confident. One broker called for a 29.5 MMT crop compared to the WASDE forecast of 27 MMT.

The Rosario Grain Exchange (BCR), an Argentine association, projects a record 20.0 MMT crop for the lead South American wheat producer following a 3% increase in planted area.

Coceral, an EU-based association representing the cereals trade, revised its EU wheat output upward by 4.3 MMT after “excellent yield prospects in the Balkan countries and Spain.” Germany also increased winter wheat sown area by 3%. The European Commission increased its forecast for common wheat production to 126.2 MMT, 6% less than the most recent WASDE report forecast for 2021/22.

Russia Weighs In

It will be interesting to see how USDA adjusts its forecast for Russian wheat production in 2021/22 in its June WASDE report. The May WASDE forecasted 2021/22 production in Russia, the leading world wheat exporter, at 85 MMT, down slightly from the record 2020/21 crop. However, a separate report from the USDA Foreign Agriculture Service Attaché based in Moscow forecast Russian wheat production at a much lower volume. SovEcon, a Russia-based analyst, forecast in May that the Russian wheat crop will be 81.7 MMT.

China Demands Attention

Monitoring China’s actions in global grain trade will be important over the next few months.

Record corn imports have slashed world corn stocks. China has purchased 11.38 MMT of U.S. corn in the current marketing year, and an additional 11.98 MMT is still awaiting shipment. China purchased $400 million of U.S. corn in May 2021 alone.

The effect of China’s unprecedented corn demand on the wheat market should draw any wheat buyer’s attention. China’s unusually large wheat imports beginning in early 2020 through most of 2020/21, including 3.2 MMT of U.S. wheat, helped pull up global wheat prices. Then, as China’s government buyers ramped up corn imports, the price relationship between corn and wheat narrowed and even reversed at times.

Market watchers know that USDA expects wheat feeding in China to reach 40 MMT in 2021/22 but also expects its notoriously large volume of wheat stocks to decline by only 3.0 MMT. And China, notoriously, holds half the world’s wheat stocks, but USDA’s forecast expects ending stocks to be 3.0 MMT less than 2020/21.

IGC Expects Higher Prices

In its May Grain Market Report, the International Grains Council (IGC) noted that despite an increase in wheat production, a rise in consumption and tightened ending stocks in 2020/21 will lead to a drawdown in global grain stocks for 2021/22. The IGC said that ending stocks will be at a seven-year low.

As the 2021 U.S. wheat harvest moves north, USW colleagues, our state wheat commission members and farmers across the country will continue monitoring the critical market factors that affect our overseas customers.

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A spike in ocean freight rates is creating some heartburn for dry bulk commodity buyers who may be uncovered over the next few months as strong global demand for grain and coal stresses vessel supply. Fortunately, lower freight futures prices in the second half of 2021 could hold if commodity demand eases, as expected.

“We believe most of our wheat buying customers have booked freight already for April or May deliveries,” said USW Vice President of Overseas Operations Mike Spier. “We hope this spike in freight prices is short term because it obviously increases the landed cost of wheat from the United States and all other suppliers.”

“The ocean freight rates story is all about demand and supply for dry bulk vessels,” said a former U.S. grain trader. “There’s just too much dry bulk movement right now and not enough vessels to cover it.”

“There’s an absolute frenzy now to secure Panamax and smaller vessels to ship coal and grains,” said one U.S.-based freight trader. Usually, bigger ships are more expensive to run than smaller ships and the cost to operate a vessel increases with its size. But the current situation is anything but usual. Because medium-sized, Panamax vessels are more versatile in their loading and unloading capabilities, they are trading at a premium to even capesize vessels, which can ship more than 125,000 MT of dry bulk commodities in one voyage.

Between March 1 and March 2, Panamax quotes for nearby delivery jumped 17% to trade at $21,350 per day — a $6,700 premium to the capesize vessel operating cost. According to independent transportation consultant Jay O’Neil, PNW to Japan Panamax rates for nearby delivery increased 18% between early and late February to $32.00 per MT.

Ocean freight rates for shipping wheat and other grain in Panamax dry bulk vessels are spiking as global demand grows.

Ocean freight rates for shipping wheat and other grain in Panamax dry bulk vessels are spiking as global demand grows.

Chinese Demand Factor

China’s current outsized demand for global commodities is adding the most pressure on the whole dry bulk shipping system. In a unique situation, dozens of vessels loaded with coal are idle off Chinese shores because of the ongoing trade dispute with Australia. Heightened Chinese purchases of corn, soybeans, wheat and even grain sorghum from North and South America also reduces vessel supply around the world.

Looking ahead, “It all comes down to what China will do in Q2, Q3 and Q4,” said another grain exporter. The trade believes if China continues to buy North and South American agricultural commodities at a substantial pace, like in Q3 and Q4 of 2020, Panamax availability could remain tight through 2021 and the landed price of U.S. wheat could remain high.

Bright Spot

As of March 3, however, Panamax futures for Q4 delivery traded at $15,200 per day, substantially lower than the $21,350 per day Panamax futures quoted for nearby delivery. Perspective also comes from looking back to dramatically higher ocean freight rates more than ten years ago when wheat buyers were paying close to $100 per MT and, only one year ago, when rates were near all-time lows.

Suppose global Panamax demand and supply factors reach more equilibrium throughout the year if, for example, Chinese demand for imported coal and agricultural products does ease. In that case, customers could take advantage of the inverted Panamax futures curve to price more competitive freight options for future delivery.

Time will tell. Stay update to date on future U.S. wheat market analysis here.

By Claire Hutchins, USW Market Analyst

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After spending 2020 celebrating its 40th anniversary, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) ended the year saying a fond farewell to a colleague who was with the organization almost from the beginning. Ms. Sonia Muñoz retired from her Regional Program Director position at the USW Santiago Office after 39 years.

“Sonia has managed the South American regional programs efficiently and in a professional manner,” said Miguel Galdos, Regional Director, USW Santiago Office. “Starting 39 years ago with USW as a Secretary/Receptionist, she assumed greater responsibilities over the years due to her abilities and outstanding performance. Her good nature and dedication to her job was present always.”

Sonia Muñoz and Luisa Tornero

Sonia Muñoz in 1989 with Luisa Tornero, former USW Executive Secretary, enjoying our working time.

During her time with USW, Muñoz was responsible for planning and executing various market development programs, seminars and other activities, arranging travel logistics, collaborating with colleagues on reports, and more. During her long career, Muñoz says the most notable change she saw was in the way people communicated and utilized technology.

1981 USW Crop Quality Seminar

1981 – My first year at USW at a Crop Quality Seminar.

“I started when the typewriter and the Telex were in vogue, so to be a secretary in that time was a challenge. We sent large amounts of mail through the post office and email wasn’t even in our imagination,” said Muñoz. “The first computer we had was the ICOM, which we used to send direct messages to the USW Headquarters Office. Through the years, I saw how distances were closer thanks to technological advances in communication.”

Past USW Regional Vice President, Alvaro de la Fuente worked closely with Sonia until his retirement in 2018.

“Sonia was always willing to go the extra mile for the organization’s benefit and had no problem in taking on added responsibilities. Her spirit of loyalty and hard work was recognized over the years and her good nature and friendliness contributed substantially to making the USW Santiago Office environment one that was extremely pleasant to work in,” said de la Fuente. “I can vouch for that, having worked with Sonia for thirty-eight years. I wish her a very happy and much deserved retirement.”

USW Santiago colleagues in 1994

At a farewell dinner for Luisa Tornero, former USW Executive Secretary (left), with Alvaro De La Fuente, former USW Regional Vice President, (middle) and Sonia Muñoz (right) in 1994.

Muñoz says what she enjoyed most about working at USW was the opportunity to grow and develop as a professional and the wonderful people she worked with over the years.

“I am proud and happy that I was privileged to work for this great organization. This experience was one the best things I’ve had in my life. I have worked with excellent professionals and wonderful people and many of them have become good friends. I will keep very good memories of these years,” said Muñoz. “My special thanks to Mr. Alvaro de la Fuente, my former boss for his guidance, trusting me and giving me the opportunity to show my abilities. I would also like to thank my colleagues over the years who enriched me in so many ways. Miguel Galdos, Casey Chumrau, Andres Saturno, Claudia Gomez and Osvaldo Seco, I will miss working with you and the experiences we shared, and specially to my dear friend Paola Valdivia, with whom I shared so much with over the years. To María Fernanda Martinez who will replace me, I wish all the best.”

USW program staff visiting headquarters in 2005

Several USW program staff from overseas visit the USW Headquarters Office in Washington, D.C., in 2005.

In her retirement, Muñoz says she plans to seize and enjoy the things she now has time for, and that now that her kids are also grown, she plans to dedicate time for herself.

All of us at U.S. Wheat Associates thank Sonia for her work and friendship and wish her and her family a long and happy retirement.

Sonia Muñoz with several members of her family.

Sonia Muñoz with several members of her family.

Header Photo: Current USW Santiago Office staff (left to right); Osvaldo Seco (Assistant Regional Director), Paola Valdivia (Finance Manager), Sonia Muñoz (Retiring Regional Program Director), Andres Saturno (Technical specialist), Claudia Gomez (Marketing Manager) and Miguel Galdos (Regional Director).

 

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By Claire Hutchins, USW Market Analyst

USDA currently estimates the United States will export 26.5 million metric tons (MMT) of wheat in 2020/21, 1 percent ahead of last year’s pace, if realized. Five months into marketing year (MY) 2020/21, total U.S. wheat commercial sales are 12 percent ahead of last year’s pace at 16.8 MMT and are 15 percent ahead of the 5-year average.

To date, export sales of hard red winter (HRW), hard red spring (HRS) and white wheat (soft and hard) are significantly ahead of last year’s pace. Sales of soft red winter (SRW) and durum lag 2019/20. Success in individual markets such as China and Brazil due to policy changes and follow-on trade and technical service by U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) are supporting overall sales. As in other markets, competitive pricing for U.S. wheat early in MY 2020/21 helped fuel a faster import pace even by traditionally strong U.S. wheat buyers like the Philippines and South Korea.

HRW. Total HRW sales are 12 percent ahead of last year at 6.12 MMT. Stable exports to Mexico, Nigeria and Japan, the top three markets for HRW, and significantly stronger export programs to China and Brazil are supporting HRW sales in the first third of MY 2020/21.

As of Oct. 29, China has purchased 981,000 metric tons (MT) of HRW after no purchases in 2019/20. Strong HRW export sales so far in 2020/21 can be attributed to the Phase One agreement between the United States and China, as well as competitive HRW prices early in the marketing year. So far in MY 2020/21, China is the second largest market for HRW behind Mexico.

HRW export sales to Brazil are nearly two times more than this time last year at 513,000 MT and are 49 percent ahead of the 5-year average. According to Miguel Galdos, USW Regional Director, South America, the opportunity to advance sales to Brazil came with the Brazilian government opening a tariff rate quota (TRQ) allowing up to 750,000 MT of non-Mercosur (South America’s free trade bloc) wheat to enter the country tariff-free. Strong USW educational programs in Brazil are encouraging millers to take advantage of the high quality and competitive prices of U.S. wheat. To date, Brazil is the fifth largest market for HRW.

“USW provides the best trade and technical service to our customers and we are here for Brazilian mills for any need they have,” said Galdos.

Source: USDA FAS export sales data as of Oct. 29, 2020

HRS. Total HRS export sales of 4.72 MMT are 15 percent ahead of this time last year and are 8 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Sales to the Philippines, the top market for HRS, are 22 percent ahead of last year at 1.30 MMT and are 34 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Rising per capita consumption combined with population growth and competitive HRS prices early in the marketing year supported strong sales to the Philippines at the start of 2020/21.

In Japan, the second largest market for HRS, sales of 569,000 MT are up 20 percent on the year.

“We had good start this year in the Japanese market following the U.S. and Japan trade agreement implemented on January 1,” said Rick Nakano, USW Country Director, Japan. “This gives U.S. wheat a better opportunity to be traded on equal footing with similar classes of wheat from Canada. This results is a great outcome for U.S. wheat to compete equally again with Canadian wheat to meet the needs of Japan’s flour millers.”

Source: USDA FAS export sales data as of Oct. 29, 2020

White. Total U.S. white wheat sales are 41 percent ahead of this time in 2019/20 at 4.02 MMT and are 36 percent ahead of the 5-year average. In the Philippines, the largest market for U.S. soft white wheat, export sales are up 42 percent on the year and are 40 percent ahead of the 5-year average.

The increased demand by Philippine millers is partially due to early customer buying in response to tight export elevation capacity in the Pacific Northwest (PNW). Strong USW educational programs in the Philippines helped customers stay informed and make timely buying decisions in the first third of MY 2020/21.

Sales to South Korea, the second largest market for U.S. soft white wheat, are 79 percent ahead of last year’s pace and are 53 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Soft white wheat on a C&F (FOB and freight) landed basis to South Korea has been priced very competitively.

Looking ahead, Australia’s larger 2020 crop is coming to market and its prices are coming down. USDA predicts the 2020/21 Australian wheat crop will reach 28.5 MMT this year, 87% ahead of last year as beneficial rains pull the country out of a three-year drought.

Source: USDA FAS export sales data as of Oct. 29, 2020

SRW export sales are a different story. Total SRW export sales are down 26 percent on the year at 1.36 MMT, 21 percent behind the 5-year average. SRW export sales to all of the country’s top 10 overseas markets are behind last year’s pace.

“SRW prices are just too high right now,” said one grain trader, “the United States is priced out of the world market, especially to our buyers in Latin America and Nigeria.”

Between early June and late October, the average export price for SRW was $233/MT, 12 percent higher than the same period last year. Limited exportable supplies of SRW along the Mississippi River due to lower planted area in key states and extremely tight export elevation capacity in the Center Gulf due to increased export demand for soybeans and corn continue to support SRW export prices early in MY 2020/21.

Durum. Year-to-date durum sales in 2020/21 are 19 percent behind last year’s pace at 541,000 MT but are 30 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Total sales to Italy, the largest market for U.S. durum, are only 3 percent behind last year’s pace, but are 66 percent ahead of the 5-year average.

 

 

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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: Wyoming Wheat Marketing Commission
Member of USW since 1980

Location: Cheyenne, Wyo.
Classes of wheat grown: Hard Red Winter (HRW) and Hard Red Spring (HRS)

The Wyoming Wheat Marketing Commission (WYWMC) was established in 1975 with the goal to develop and maintain wheat markets around the globe. The WYWMC is also active in providing support and funding for wheat research, education and market development. The five-person board operates on a $1.75 cent-per-bushel checkoff which funds the activities promoted by the WYWMC, including its work with U.S. Wheat Associates. 

WYWMC Director Casey Madsen (right), Nebraska wheat farmer Kent Lorens (center) and Montana wheat farmer Al Klempel (left) admired milling equipment at Kenz Maroc in Casablanca, Morocco, as participants in a USW Board Team in 2019.

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

Based on available information, about 60 percent of the wheat produced in Wyoming is exported. Being near rail crossroads, high-quality Wyoming HRW can move either south to Gulf ports and Mexico, or west to the Pacific Northwest ports. As global wheat production has changed, the opportunity to work with USW to increase sales in Asia and the west coast of South America is of vital importance to the continued success of wheat farmers in Wyoming and across the United States. 

WYWMC Director Casey Madsen (far right) and the 2019 USW Board Team participants visited family owned Harinas Polo flour mills in Barcelona, Spain. The mill produces more than 300 different flour and seed products.

How have Wyoming wheat farmers recently connected with overseas customers?

For several years, WYWMC members have taken part in overseas trade mission trips and have also participated in overseas buyers’ conferences. The opportunity to make connections with overseas customers by meeting with them face-to-face is invaluable. While current events have limited these opportunities, we joined USW and other state commissions in a virtual meeting with Colombian wheat customers earlier this summer. 

WYWMC Director Ken Tremain (right) visited  Groupe HM-owned Caribbean Milling in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as a participant in a USW Board Team in 2017. Caribbean Milling is the newest mill in Haiti, and started importing U.S. hard red winter (HRW) in 2016.

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

While Wyoming has a relatively small wheat production area compared to most other USW member states, our unique production issues compel us to conduct research for our high-altitude and short growing season. Wyoming is often the first to plant HRW, and often among the last to harvest. We look at experimental varieties from three neighboring states to produce wheat with higher end-use qualities for customers, while minimizing input costs so that Wyoming wheat farmers can remain profitable. We recently licensed a new variety from Colorado which will allow farmers in Wyoming to better address a new type of stripe rust, which periodically affects Wyoming wheat production.

The commission is also active in trade and domestic policy. We have actively engaged with U.S. government officials, including the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), to promote expansion of trade access and avoid market disruption due to tariff implementation, while remaining in close contact with our Congressional delegation to influence domestic production issues.

Learn more about the Wyoming Wheat Marketing Commission on its web page here.

WYWMC Director Ken Tremain and fellow USW Board Team participants visited a food market in Santiago, Chile, to see local wheat foods in 2017.

 

 

 

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By Claire Hutchins, USW Market Analyst

USDA estimates the United States will export 25.9 million metric tons (MMT) of wheat in 2020/21, 2 percent behind last year’s pace if realized. However, two months into marketing year (MY) 2020/21, total U.S. wheat commercial sales are 8 percent ahead of last year’s pace at 9.62 MMT and are 12 percent ahead of the 5-year average.

To date, export sales of hard red spring (HRS) wheat, white wheat and durum are significantly ahead of last year’s pace. Sales of hard red winter (HRW) wheat are nearly in line with last year, while sales of soft red winter (SRW) lag 2019/20. Success in individual markets such as China and Brazil due to policy changes and strong education programs by U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) are supporting overall sales. As in other markets, competitive pricing for U.S. wheat is helping fuel a faster import pace by traditionally strong U.S. wheat buyers like the Philippines, Japan and South Korea.

Here is more detail about the current factors underlying U.S. wheat export sales.

HRS. Total HRS export sales of 2.85 MMT are 28 percent ahead of this time last year and are 12 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Sales to the Philippines, the top market for HRS, are 23 percent ahead of last year at 768,000 MT and are 52 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Rising per capita consumption combined with population growth and competitive HRS prices are supporting strong sales to the Philippines early in MY 2020/21.

In Japan, the second largest market for HRS, sales of 379,000 MT are up 52 percent on the year.

“We had good start this year in the Japanese market following the U.S. and Japan trade agreement implemented on January 1,” said Rick Nakano, USW Country Director in Japan. “This gives U.S. wheat a better opportunity to be traded on equal footing with similar classes of wheat from Canada. This results in a great outcome for U.S. wheat to satisfy the needs of Japanese millers that now pay the same price mark-up as for Canadian wheat. Additionally, the relative price increase for Canadian spring wheat has also supported HRS demand in the Japanese market.”

Source: USDA ERS export sales data as of July 23, 2020

White. Total U.S. white wheat sales are 23 percent ahead of last year at 1.93 MMT, 12 percent ahead of the 5-year average. In South Korea, the second largest market for U.S. soft white wheat, export sales are up 27 percent on the year and are 4 percent ahead of the 5-year average.

“The price of U.S. white wheat has been much more competitive than comparable Australian classes during the first and second quarter of 2020,” said C.Y. Kang, USW Country Director in South Korea. Kang added that HRS and U.S. white wheat sales to South Korea are up on the year in part because South Korean instant noodle production is up on increased demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sales to Japan, the third largest market for U.S. white wheat are 3 percent ahead of this time last year at 235,000 MT.

“The demand for U.S. Western White (WW) wheat, a blend of U.S. soft white wheat and U.S. club wheat, has been stable in Japan with strong consumption for confectionery products including sponge cake and biscuits. U.S. WW is a unique product and cannot be substituted by Australian, Canadian or domestically grown Japanese wheat,” said Nakano.

Source: USDA ERS export sales data as of July 23, 2020; about 99% of white wheat sales are soft white and soft white sub-classes

HRW. Total HRW sales are slightly below last year at 3.52 MMT, but 21 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Strong export programs to China and Brazil are supporting HRW sales in the first few months of 2020/21.

As of July 23, China has purchased 669,000 metric tons (MT) of HRW after no purchases in 2019/20. Strong HRW export sales so far in 2020/21 can be attributed to the Phase One agreement between the United States and China and HRW’s competitive prices compared to other classes of U.S. wheat. So far in marketing year 2020/21, China is the largest market for HRW.

HRW export sales to Brazil are more than double this time last year at 257,000 MT and are 85 percent ahead of the 5-year average. According to Miguel Galdos, USW Regional Director in South America, increased sales to Brazil can be attributed to the Brazilian government opening a tariff rate quota (TRQ) which allows up to 750,000 MT of non-Mercosur (South America’s free trade bloc) wheat to enter the country tariff-free. Strong educational programs in Brazil by USW are encouraging millers to take advantage of the high quality and competitive prices of U.S. wheat. To date, Brazil is the fifth largest market for HRW.

“USW provides the best trade and technical service to our customers and we are here for Brazilian mills for any need they have,” said Galdos.

Source: USDA ERS export sales data as of July 23, 2020

Durum. Total durum export sales are 6 percent ahead of this time last year at 385,000 MT and are 57 percent ahead of the 5-year average. Export sales to Italy, the largest market for U.S. durum, are more than double this time last year and are significantly higher than the 5-year average.

“Italy needs the high protein content of durum from North America, because it does not produce enough high protein durum locally,” said Rutger Koekoek, USW Regional Marketing Director for the European Region.

It is expected that Italy will produce an average volume of durum this year and will need to import large volumes of North American durum wheat again in MY 2020/21.

“I am still expecting an above average export volume of U.S. durum to Italy this marketing year,” said Koekoek.

SRW export sales are a different story. Total SRW export sales are down 21 percent on the year to 927,000 MT, 17 percent behind the 5-year average.

“It is a price story,” said one grain trader, “we’re priced out of the world market, especially to our buyers in Latin America and Nigeria.” Between early January and late July, the average export price for SRW was $234/MT, 8 percent higher than the same period last year and 12 percent higher than the 5-year average.

In Colombia, the second largest market for SRW, export sale of 73,000 MT are 18 percent behind last year’s pace and 22 percent behind the 5-year average.

“Colombian mills bought more wheat than they needed between March and May due to demand uncertainty around COVID-19. They are now covered for the next couple of months. Higher prices are also impacting 2020/21 SRW sales to Colombia,” said Galdos.

High SRW export prices early in 2020, which continued into late July, are also having a significant impact on SRW demand in Nigeria, which has imported no SRW yet in 2020/21.

Source: USDA ERS export sales data as of July 23, 2020

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Name: Andrés Saturno

Title: Technical Specialist

Office: USW South American Regional Office, Santiago

Providing Service to: Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru


Though raised in Carialinda, Venezuela, located in the mountains of Naguanagua, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Technical Specialist Andrés Saturno and his two brothers grew up with Italian and Spanish influences from his parents and grandmother. Bread was a big part of their table, and Saturno learned how to make many different kinds.

“Our daily consumption of wheat breads included close to twenty bollitos, which are French-style rolls, and two pan campesinos, a Spanish-style artisan bread,” Saturno said. “I also have made my favorite dish, gnocchi, from my grandmother’s recipe.”

Throughout his younger years, Saturno and his father, Andrea, a professional miller, worked on presentations related to wheat flour for his school science fairs. Saturno said their best presentation compared the properties of wheat gluten with other cereals. For this, they produced and displayed rice flour bread “that looked like a stone” and “beautiful wheat flour bread.”

Like Father, Like Son

In Saturno’s childhood, the group of mills where his father worked as the general manager and as the first Director of the Latin American School of Milling, known as ESLAMO, also made quite an impression.

“I was always fascinated to see the trains loaded with wheat entering the mill where my father worked,” Saturno said, “and with the analysis equipment in the ESLAMO milling school that USW had originally donated.”

After high school, Saturno was undecided if he wanted to be a mechanical engineer or a chef, but his father’s career influenced him to major in milling engineering. Saturno decided to attend Universidad Panamericana Del Puerto, where his father had started the milling engineering major, and he took great interest in the specific food processes and engineering behind milling.

Andrés (far right) with his father, Andrea (middle right), and his brothers in 2004.

“My dad has always been an example for me as a person and as a professional,” Saturno said. “Everyone said good things about him, and that influenced me even at school.”

Building a Career

During his time at the university, he honed his skills at ESLAMO and gained more experience with wheat, flour, baking, and pasta analysis. Saturno said that his time at the university and ESLAMO gave him the theoretical and practical tools to understand and solve problems in the milling process.

Andrés and his classmates at the ESLAMO milling school.

After graduation, Saturno’s first job was at a durum mill owned by a pasta factory. Saturno learned about milling semolina, pasta production, and how to operate a mill built in the 1950s. Saturno then worked at a food consulting company installing milling equipment and accessories and various other agro-industry equipment in animal handling facilities and feed plants. While working for the food consulting company, he had the opportunity to return to his university to teach milling.

“It was the most beautiful job I had,” Saturno said. “I still have communication with my students. Nothing is more rewarding than teaching.”

Building on his work at an older, established mill, Saturno moved to Honduras to work as the head of milling production in a brand-new flour mill. While there, Saturno learned how to grind U.S. soft red winter (SRW) wheat and produce flour for products like tortillas by blending different wheat classes.

Here, Saturno is providing in-plant technical service for a customer in Brazil.

The Right Fit

During Saturno’s time in Honduras, USW worked with its state wheat commission member organizations in the Pacific Northwest to develop and fund a new technical specialist position based in its South American regional office in Santiago, Chile. Changes in regional markets significantly influenced the need to add technical expertise in flour milling and blending. Someone with that experience and good communication skills would be needed.

During the search in early 2018, Casey Chumrau, who at the time was serving as USW Marketing Manager in the South American region, and is now executive director for the Idaho Wheat Commission, reached out to Andrea Saturno, who had been working with USW as a milling consultant since 2013, to ask about potential candidates.

“Turns out, his son, Andrés, was looking for a new job,” Chumrau said. “Since we had been working with Andrea, I knew we would have to be extra diligent in vetting his son to avoid any bias,” Chumrau said. “From the first contact, however, Andrés was extremely professional and showed a lot of potential. We knew he had the passion and personality to do the job,” Chumrau added. “Once Mark Fowler (USW Vice President of Global Technical Services) confirmed Andrés had the technical knowledge, we offered him the job.”

“I loved the idea of working with many different mills and processes where wheat is involved,” Saturno said. “I received the call for the job with USW, and at that moment, I said, ‘I can’t lose this chance.’”

With USW/Santiago, Saturno’s role is to work closely with customers and technical staff in South America to provide training, technical advice, and ongoing support to millers. To accomplish this, Saturno creates seminars and technical classes for the South American region to build relationships while providing valuable information and skills to USW customers.

“Andrés has extensive soft skills and excellent relationships with regional customers and his team,” Claudia Gomez, USW Senior Marketing Specialist in the USW Santiago Office, said. “He also provides important technical knowledge in milling and very good speaking skills to [present] various technical information to our clients.”

USW Brazilian Technical Trade Delegation to the United States on a visit to ADM Milling.

“Andrés’ expertise has allowed our customers to get the best out of our wheat during the cleaning, conditioning, and milling processes,” Miguel Galdós, USW Regional Director, South America, said. “Through post-sale activities, Andrés has collaborated with different mills in the region, creating confidence and loyalty with the technical staff of our customers.”

Technical Service

Saturno’s work helps USW Santiago provide services and training on all six U.S. wheat classes to customers in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru. Financial support for his activities comes from state wheat commissions in Washington, Idaho, and Oregon and USDA/Foreign Agricultural Service export market development programs.

Some examples of his work include utilizing the Quality Samples Program (QSP) to introduce hard red winter (HRW) and hard red spring (HRS) wheat to a Chilean mill and soft white (SW) wheat to a mill in Colombia, leading a USW-sponsored team of Brazilian flour managers on a visit to the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service Soft Wheat Laboratory in Wooster, Ohio, and on tours of wheat research facilities at Kansas State University and Texas A&M University.

Andrés co-led a QSP and milling seminar at Molino La Estampa in Chile with his father, Andrea Saturno, and USW colleague Casey Chumrau (now Idaho Wheat Commission Executive Director). The La Estampa QSP activity encouraged the mill to import 4,500 metric tons (MT) of HRW and 1,000 MT of SRW. 

“In previous years, USW was an institution that, although it had an office [in Santiago], there was no local contact to turn to in case of technical doubts,” said Maria Ines Velarde, Lab Manager, Molino La Estampa, Santiago, Chile. “The change in strategy that we have seen the last years, which included the arrival of Andrés Saturno, has meant that USW and La Estampa got closer, and that created ties and trust that allow us to have key and reliable information to make decisions at the right time.”

With Saturno as a technical specialist, USW can now give customers in the South American region more complete customer service.

Traveling with USW Santiago colleagues. (L to R) Andrés Saturno, Osvaldo Seco, Casey Chumrau and Miguel Galdos.

“This helped us widen our service area spectrum for our clients,” Saturno said. “Now we give constant technical attention to the personnel of laboratories, bakeries, milling, marketing, post-sale technicians, buyers, and owners of the mills.”

Saturno’s passion for the industry, experience in technical training, and ability to communicate with his customers has earned the respect not only of his customers but also of his colleagues.

“Andrés has contributed strong technical knowledge in the milling process, which has been a great value for all our regional customers, giving them the necessary technical support to obtain the best return from our wheat,” Galdós said.

“In addition to being a professional milling expert, Andrés is one of the best people in the world,” Chumrau said. “He truly wants each mill to be successful and doesn’t need any of the credit. He is a team player, a dedicated employee, and a great colleague. Andrés is and undoubtedly will further the mission of USW representing U.S. wheat farmers and their products.”

Andrés and his wife, Berenice, at an ALIM conference in Mexico.

Andrés and his son, Alessio Massimiliano Saturno Ramos, born on February 19, 2020.


By Dylan Davidson, USW Communications Intern

Editor’s Note: This is the ninth in a series of posts profiling U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) technical experts in flour milling and wheat foods production. USW Vice President of Global Technical Services Mark Fowler says technical support to overseas customers is an essential part of export market development for U.S. wheat. “Technical support adds differential value to the reliable supply of U.S. wheat,” Fowler says. “Our customers must constantly improve their products in an increasingly competitive environment. We can help them compete by demonstrating the advantages of using the right U.S. wheat class or blend of classes to produce the wide variety of wheat-based foods the world’s consumers demand.”

Header Photo Caption: Andrés (far right) at a USW milling seminar in Fortaleza, Brazil with fellow USW staff, Peter Lloyd (second from left) and Miguel Galdos (second to right).


Meet the other USW Technical Experts in this blog series:

Ting Liu – Opening Doors in a Naturally Winning Way
Shin Hak “David” Oh – Expertise Fermented in Korean Food Culture
Tarik Gahi – ‘For a Piece of Bread, Son’
Gerry Mendoza – Born to Teach and Share His Love for Baking
Marcelo Mitre – A Love of Food and Technology that Bakes in Value and Loyalty
Peter Lloyd – International Man of Milling
Ivan Goh – An Energetic Individual Born to the Food Industry
 Adrian Redondo – Inspired to Help by Hard Work and a Hero
Wei-lin Chou – Finding Harmony in the Wheat Industry

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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.