In March 2024, the annual AG Supply Chain Asia (ASCA) Conference took place in Bangkok, Thailand, highlighting sustainability and innovation as integral components shaping the future of agriculture. The conference provided a significant platform for discussions centered on the theme “Integrating Sustainability and Innovation for Future Agricultural Excellence.”

Organized by the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), and U.S. Grains Council, and, this notable event drew more than 370 attendees from 20 countries, representing over 170 companies. The conference organizers are grateful for the support from U.S. farmer organizations and industry sponsors.

“This conference is an excellent opportunity to reinforce the value of the reliable U.S. agricultural export supply system with our colleagues representing U.S. grain and soybean growers,” said Joe Bippert, USW Assistant Regional Director, South and Southeast Asia. “There were several flour millers from Thailand at the conference. USW Noodle Technologist Ivan Goh and I also made a trade service call on a Thai flour mill after the conference.”

According to participant feedback, the AG Supply Chain Asia conference facilitated transactions and negotiations estimated at 1.5 million metric tons of U.S. agricultural products including 220,000 metric tons (MT) of wheat, 335,000 MT of soybeans, 385,000 MT of soybean meal, 180,000 MT of corn, 340,000 MT of Dried Distiller Grains with Solubles (DDGS). This positions the event as a key gathering within the agricultural sector in Southeast Asia.

Advancing Global Food Security Through Sustainability

U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, Robert F. Godec, emphasized the pivotal role of ASEAN in the global agricultural landscape. He underscored the need for sustainable food systems to address evolving challenges like climate change and to ensure global food security. Amb. Godec highlighted the ASEAN region’s significance as the United States’ fourth largest agriculture export market.

In a presentation to the AG Supply Chain Asia conference, Bippert highlighted the current wheat supply landscape and the demand outlook, noting that various factors such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine, droughts, and geopolitics have influenced market dynamics and prices. Despite these uncertainties, he emphasized the dynamic nature and the strong commitment to environmental and economic sustainability within the U.S. wheat industry. See “Stories of Stewardship” online for more information.

The annual AG Supply Chain Asia conference has firmly established itself as a robust venue for networking, fostering trade discussions, and business prospects for U.S. agricultural products. By facilitating pivotal discussions and offering insightful perspectives, the event provided a holistic view of the future landscape of U.S. agriculture, underlining the indispensable role of sustainable practices and technological advancements in attaining agricultural excellence.

The photo at the top of this page from the conference includes U.S. agricultural export cooperator leadership (USW’s Joe Bippert is 3rd from left) together with Robert F. Godec, U.S. Ambassador to Thailand, U.S. Embassy (7th from left) and Ms. Kelly Stange, Agricultural Counselor for Thailand, Myanmar and Laos, USDA’s Foreign Agriculture Services, Thailand (6th from left).

USW thanks the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service for its support of the conference and administration of export market development programs. This article was also funded in part by the soy checkoff.




U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) continued a tradition of promoting the value of U.S. agricultural products together with other USDA Foreign Agricultural Service cooperator organizations by co-hosting the annual U.S. Agricultural Cooperators Conference Sept. 12 to 14, 2023, in Da Nang, Vietnam. This conference is designed as a value-added service for Southeast Asian buyers served by USW, and co-hosts U.S. Grains Council (USGC) and U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC).

USW Regional Vice President Joe Sowers on a panel at the 2023 U.S. Agricultural Cooperators Conference

USW Regional Vice President Joe Sowers participated in a panel discussion of U.S. cooperator leaders at the 2023 U.S. Agricultural Cooperators Conference.

“Our collaboration with these organizations on conferences in South and Southeast Asia not only increases opportunities to connect with our milling customers in the region, but also with grain trade and other industry representatives,” said Regional Vice President Joe Sowers who represented USW and the conference. “Many flour millers in the region also have feed milling operations, so this conference leverages the investments of all three host organizations to educate and increase positive contact with regional stakeholders.”

Building Bridges, Sharing Knowledge

Titled “Globalization 2.0: Building Bridges for Food Security, Sustainability, and Innovation,” the conference in Da Nang covered the global challenges identified in its name and, according to USGC, emphasized “the need to build bridges that facilitate collaboration, sharing knowledge, and acting on common issues.”

“It is very important that customers hear the message that U.S. farmers are producing safe, reliable and abundant supplies of wheat, feed grains and oilseeds,” Sowers said. “Vietnam, for example, is a quickly growing market with an exploding middle class eager to consume more and better-quality wheat-based foods.”

Vietnam’s annual milling wheat imports are more than 2 million metric tons and growing at a similar rate in the South and Southeast region.

Visit the USGC website for more information about the 2023 Southeast Asia U.S. Agricultural Cooperators Conference.

USW's . The 2023 South and Southeast Asian Marketing Conference will be held May 9-11 in Phuket, Thailand.

The 2023 South and Southeast Asian Marketing Conference will be held May 9-11 in Phuket, Thailand.

After more than a decade of absence, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is restarting an event that brings together customers and partners in an important region of the world. The 2023 South and Southeast Asian Marketing Conference will be held May 9-11 in Phuket, Thailand.

“Building Prosperity Through Partnership” is the theme of the conference, which will focus on the value of U.S. wheat and people who produce, supply and support it in the global marketplace. Asian millers, buyers and importers in the region will have the opportunity to meet with U.S. wheat farmers, state wheat associations, USDA representatives and USW technical and marketing staff. Likewise, those from the U.S. wheat industry will be able to interact with customers and potential customers.

The conference will include input from major flour mills in the region, with a panel discussion focused on the perspective of millers in Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines.

“We recognized that the time had come to revitalize the conference to engage the trade and visit with our dedicated customers in the region,” said Joe Sowers, USW Regional Vice President for South and Southeast Asia. “At the same time, there are opportunities to make new customers while also tackling challenges and identifying ideas for business growth. We have a top-notch lineup of speakers and presenters, along with a host of panel discussions that address critical issues in 2023 and beyond.”

USW’s Wheat Letter Blog will provide regular updates from the conference. Videos and blog posts will appear on the site throughout the event.


Appropriately, the celebration of the 60th anniversary of USW’s office in the Philippines included the U.S. Ambassador to the country, representatives from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and the Executive Director of the Philippine Association of Flour Miller’s (PAFMIL).

It also featured a cake contest starring U.S. soft white wheat.

The Nov. 18 event, which marked another milestone in an important relationship between U.S. wheat and one of its biggest and most dependable customers, came at the conclusion of the 2022 USW Crop Quality (CQ) Seminar in Manila – the first in-person CQ seminar since 2019.

The USW team poses with one of the photos gifted by Past President Darren Padget to Filipino flour millers during the 60th anniversary celebration of the USW office in the Philippines.

The USW team poses with one of the U.S. wheat harvest photos gifted by Past Chairman Darren Padget to Filipino flour millers during the 60th anniversary celebration of the USW office in the Philippines.

“It is fortunate and very fitting that we were able to get together with some familiar faces to celebrate the anniversary of our presence in the Philippines while also sharing information about the U.S. wheat crop,” said USW President Vince Peterson, who joined a large team of USW officers and staff at the Manila Marriott Hotel. “U.S. Wheat Associates and our legacy organizations have maintained an office here for six decades now for a very good reason. The flour millers in the Philippines rely on U.S. wheat to meet growing demand by consumers. And wheat farmers in the U.S. rely on Filipino flour millers who appreciate the high-quality wheat they grow.”

MaryKay Carlson, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, spoke about the significance of U.S. wheat in the region.

“Nothing symbolizes U.S. agriculture better than amber waves of grain,” Carlson told an audience. “We are pleased to make this important essential commodity available to our friends, partners and allies here in the Philippines.”

MaryKay Carlson, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, speaks during USW's 60th anniversary celebration. Carlson emphasized the importance of the relationship between U.S. wheat and consumers in the country.

MaryKay Carlson, U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, speaks during USW’s 60th anniversary celebration. Carlson emphasized the importance of the relationship between U.S. wheat and consumers in the country.

PAFMIL Executive Director Ric Pinca was among representatives of the Filipino milling industry on hand to congratulate USW. USW Chairman Rhonda Larson and Past Chairman Darren Padget participated, each sharing background on their farms and production practices. Padget presented local millers with framed photographs of a wheat field overlooking the Lower Monumental dam on the Snake River.

Three flour mills participated in the contest to design, bake and decorate a cake made with flour milled from U.S. soft white wheat and a variety of local fruits.

The Philippines is the second largest importer of U.S. wheat in the world. Over the past five years, Filipino flour millers have imported an average of more than 2.9 million metric tons of U.S. soft white, hard red spring and hard red winter wheat per year.


Name: Kong Song “Ivan” Goh

Title: Biscuit/Bakery and Noodle Technologist

Office: USW South Asia Regional Office, Singapore

Providing Service to: Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Republic of the Philippines, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam

Regional Profile: Rapidly rising disposable income and urbanization in South Asia are opening markets for baked goods, biscuits, cakes, and other foods that require more types of higher-quality flour. As the milling and wheat foods industries rush to increase capacity, USW is helping them improve and expand product lines using high-quality soft white (SW) for cake, biscuit, and confectionery flour, and U.S. hard red winter (HRW) and hard red spring (HRS) for bread flour. USW also conducts baking seminars to introduce new products with higher profit margins using flour milled from U.S. wheat.

Common Roots

From far southern Myanmar and southwest Thailand, the Asian continent continues south as the Malay Peninsula to include Western Malaysia and Singapore near its southern tip. Northwest of Kuala Lumpur is the Malaysian state of Malacca. This area has gained a certain notoriety among South Asian wheat food producers as the source of valuable technical support from long-time U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Baking Consultant Roy Chung and now USW Biscuit/Bakery and Noodle Technologist Ivan Goh.

“Roy and I were born in the same hometown in Malacca,” Goh said. “Roy’s father ran a bakery, and my story starts with my family, too. My mum earned a living by selling bite-size snacks called Kuih-muih and fried spring rolls called Popiah. I was nine years old when I started helping her make and sell her food. My interest in cooking and food preparation grew from there. In fact, most of my family members are in food-related work.”

Goh went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Technology from the University of Putra Malaysia, and his talent landed him two job offers even before he graduated in 2012. He said because he is “not a shy person who can do routine jobs,” he chose a technical service position with FFM Berhad in Port Klang, Malaysia, that would expose him to as many parts of the flour milling and baking industries as possible.

“The knowledge I gained there has been very valuable,” he said. “I especially enjoyed the opportunities in technical troubleshooting and handling customer complaints.”

He added that the company always taught its colleagues to appreciate the people who helped them in their work, an experience that would prove important to Goh’s next career opportunity.

An Introduction to USW

USW first crossed paths with Ivan Goh when Roy Chung conducted a USW baking workshop at FFM Berhad in 2014. In 2015, the company sent Ivan to one of the popular USW baking courses Chung developed and led with the UFM Baking & Cooking School in Bangkok, Thailand. USW Regional Vice President Matt Weimar was also there to identify potential candidates to fill a vacant technical position in USW’s South Asian Region.

“Ivan Goh was one of the individuals who stood out in terms of their work and leadership,” Weimar said. “He also impressed Roy, so we decided to follow his career path until it was the right time to invite him to work for our organization.”

That opportunity emerged early in 2018, and Goh has been representing U.S. wheat farmers in the South Asian region since last March.

“The wheat foods industry is rapidly expanding in the region, and we knew Ivan’s experience in quality assurance and control was ideal to help flour mills, bakeries, cookie/cracker, and confectionery processors better understand the quality, value, and use of U.S. wheat flour,” said Weimar. “We set up an active development schedule for Ivan. It started with Ivan shadowing Roy at the USW baking classes at UFM, then on an extended technical service visit with Roy to several flour mills and baking customers in Indonesia.”

On the Road

Goh, who is fluent in several languages spoken in the region, participated with millers from the Philippines, Indonesia, and Vietnam in a USW Contracting for Value workshop and joined Weimar as co-host of a regional trade team that visited Washington state, Idaho, and Montana last August. That schedule keeps Goh mostly away from a home office in Kuala Lumpur and the USW South Asia regional office in Singapore. But he is very excited about the opportunity.

“Roy Chung is a legend as a teacher and technical resource in this region,” Goh said. “I never imagined that one day I would be his colleague. Another thing that impressed me is that USW is the only wheat organization that invites overseas millers to evaluate the quality of every U.S. wheat crop and sincerely listens to their feedback. That must be part of the working culture because I am also free to voice my opinions.”

Late in 2018, there was additional, extensive training for Goh as a student in Class 193 of the 16-week Baking Science and Technology Course at the AIB Institute in Manhattan, Kan.

“Our goal is to help customers improve their product lines and manage cost risks, so the course further strengthened my confidence in helping large-scale bakeries,” Ivan said. “In addition, seeing the performance and benefits of using flour from U.S. wheat classes firsthand will help me demonstrate how customers can get the most value possible from those flour products in their own bakeries.”

“Ivan received a medal as the fourth-ranked student in the class and was recognized with one of the Bakery Equipment Manufacturers Association awards recognizing ‘Excellence in Laboratory Leadership Performance,” Weimar said. “The relationships he developed with his fellow students will also be very valuable in the future.”

Weimar noted that Ivan Goh has had a very productive first year with U.S. Wheat Associates, adding “we are proud of Ivan’s progress, and we look forward to many more successful technical support activities to come. That is a commitment to our South Asian customers and the U.S. wheat farmers we are proud to represent.”

By Steve Mercer, USW Vice President of Communications

Editor’s Note: This is the first 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.”

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
 Adrian Redondo – Inspired to Help by Hard Work and a Hero
Andrés Saturno – A Family Legacy of Milling Innovation
Wei-lin Chou – Finding Harmony in the Wheat Industry