Name: Shin Hak “David” Oh

Title: Food/Bakery Technologist

Office: USW North Asia Region, Seoul Office

Providing Service to: South Korea

The roots of Shin Hak “David” Oh’s food technology career were literally and figuratively fermented in his childhood home in Seoul, South Korea.

The Korean art of making “kimchi” fascinated Oh as a child. Everyone in the family pitched in to salt the vegetables and mix them with chili powder, garlic, ginger, red pepper, sugar, and fish sauce that fermented in earthenware jars, often buried in the ground. It is an ancient process that was first practiced to provide nutritious food through the cold winters and continues to represent the cultural soul of Korea today.

In the arms of his father, a clothing wholesaler, and mother, a homemaker, in 1979.

“I developed a natural interest in fermented food and microorganisms as I helped make our kimchi,” Oh said. “That interest stayed with me as a young person, so I chose to study food and biotechnology at Korea University in Seoul and earned a bachelor’s degree in 2003.”

Now armed with the scientific facts behind how kimchi fermentation removes harmful bacteria and enriches gut-healthy lactobacillus bacteria, Oh decided to pursue a graduate degree at the respected Seoul National University. His work focused on improving food safety and included research on a new regulatory system for inhibiting Salmonella and other pathogens in food. Along the way through university, Oh found time for other important life experiences, including marriage to his wife, Jiae.

Oh’s graduate work at Seoul National University focused on developing methods to inhibit Salmonella and other pathogens in food.

Celebrating Oh’s graduation with a master’s degree in food and biotechnology in 2005 with his wife, Jiae, in his university laboratory.

Professional Success

Oh’s route from food microbiology studies to his current position as Food/Bakery Technologist with U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) started in 2005 with his first professional job at SPC Group, the largest bakery company in Korea. As a food safety specialist for two years, Oh helped SPC comply with Korean government food and consumer safety regulations in bakery production, storage, and packaging. He also served on a team that implemented Hazard Analysis & Critical Control Points (HACCP) food safety management systems.

Based on the advice of SPC’s food safety center director, Oh successfully pursued a research and development position with the company.

“In that job, I developed several improvers to enhance the quality of pan breads, sweet buns, and frozen dough products,” Oh noted. “I also developed a special ‘sugar-free pan bread,’ which is still sold in some of SPC’s Paris Baguette retail bakeries in Korea.”

His work at SPC, as well as additional hands-on training at AIB International’s “Baking Science and Technology” and “Food Safety and Hygiene” courses, caught the attention of USW Country Director C.Y. Kang. He was looking for candidates to fill a technical support position to expand U.S. wheat export market development in the Korean market.

Oh completed baking technology and food safety courses at AIB International in Manhattan, Kansas, while working at SPC Group in Seoul, South Korea.


At SPC, Oh developed a sugar-free pan bread product. In 2013, he was on the factory line as the product was packaged for distribution to SPC’s retail stores.

“David’s great work over eight years at our country’s biggest and most popular commercial and retail bakery was quite impressive,” Kang said. “It also did not take long to see that he is very friendly and kind to everyone. We agreed he would be a great fit with U.S. Wheat Associates and very helpful to our customers in flour milling, baking, and wheat food processing.”

“I went for the position with USW without hesitation, partly because most of the high-quality flour SPC used for bread products was milled from imported U.S. wheat classes,” Oh said. “I had grown passionate about baking at SPC, and I thought the position would also help me expand my knowledge about producing biscuits (cookies), noodles, and other wheat foods.”

Seeking Broader Knowledge at USW

Oh said his expectations were more than met after he started with USW at the beginning of 2015.

“There are many milling, baking, and production experts across our offices and we often help and learn from each other,” he said. “I am a hands-on person, and a technical sales position like this gives me the opportunity to share all of our experience and skills with our customers to help them improve their processes, customer satisfaction, and income using flour made from U.S. wheat.”

That effort takes many forms. One recent example is a seminar held in Korea for bakers from commercial operations in the Philippines.

“Our market is fairly mature with sophisticated processes and very high standards for ingredient quality,” Kang said. “Our USW colleagues wanted to help introduce these processes and new products to customers in the Philippines, so David and I arranged sessions in Seoul at the Korean Baking School and visits to Korean companies for the bakers.”

In addition, Oh has now conducted several baking, biscuit, and noodle production courses at the Korean Baking School in Seoul and, in cooperation with the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) in Portland, Ore., for technical managers from flour mills and processors. Oh discusses and demonstrates blended flour from U.S. wheat classes to the participants, who then test the blends to identify optimal formulations for their commercial products. Drawing from his research experience at SPC, bakery applications developed at USW courses, and the Korean Baking School, Oh has introduced new products, including whole wheat baked goods made with U.S. wheat flour, in four seminars to approximately 300 commercial bakers.

At a Whole Wheat Flour Seminar hosted by Korean flour milling and commercial baking organizations in 2018, Oh presented ideal U.S. wheat flour formulations for bakery applications developed by USW and Korean customers at several activities.

USW is unique in having strong technical expertise available to customers in their mills and production facilities. This is a key part of Oh’s work.

“I am excited to be part of Korea’s thriving wheat food industry. I enjoy visiting our customers and helping them understand the specific milling and functional characteristics of the U.S. wheat classes available to them and how to apply that knowledge to get the most value from their own mills and end-product processes,” Oh explained. “If they have concerns or need troubleshooting, we can be there with them, and that builds a stronger partnership for the future.”

In cooperation with the Wheat Marketing Center, Portland, Ore., Oh (fourth from right) helped plan and conduct a Korea Baking Product Development course in 2019.

Sharing Knowledge

Oh’s individual efforts in the baking laboratory also come into play as he works to share the results of testing with Korean bakery customers. In 2017 at the Korean Baking School, Oh tested different blends of hard red spring (HRS) and hard red winter (HRW) flour to make sweet buns and blends of HRW and soft white flour to make Korean-style baguettes. He then provided data on the best formulations to customers.

Oh in the laboratory at the Korean Baking School, testing formulations of testing blends of HRW and SW flour for Korean-style baguettes and HRS and HRW flour for sweet buns in 2017.

Differentiating the performance of U.S. wheat in Korean noodles, however, has presented a unique challenge for Oh and for the U.S. farmers he represents.

“Compared to Australia, specifically, there is no single U.S. wheat class with optimal qualities for Korean style noodles,” he said. “So, we have approached that challenge by holding ‘Noodle Flour Blending and Quality’ seminars at the Wheat Marketing Center for as many industry participants as possible. Based on their reports about the seminars, our information has given them reasons to consider blending flour from U.S. wheat. Now, flour from U.S. soft white wheat makes up a 20 percent share of the Korean noodle market.”

An Excellent Balance

Undoubtedly, the level of trust Oh is developing across the diverse Korean industry is boosted by his professional training and experience.

“David has in-depth knowledge on the key facts of wheat flour that are very critical to end-product quality,” said the research and development manager from Korea’s largest instant noodle manufacturer. “I assume that comes from his graduate degree work and experience at SPC Group. He has provided all the results from short courses, seminars, and testing to us and helps us apply that information and U.S. wheat flour formulations effectively in our operation. We very much appreciate his efforts.”

It is said that the five flavors of kimchi (sour, bitter, salty, sweet, and spicy) and their balance permeates every facet of Korean life. Oh finds a similar balance between work and pleasure. His colleagues appreciate that in Oh, as those who have seen an exuberant rendition of the dance moves from K-Pop star PSY’s “Gangnam Style” or seen the pride he takes in his family can attest.

C.Y. Kang put it best: “David is a great asset to the entire USW organization.”

By Steve Mercer, USW Vice President of Communications

Editor’s Note: This is the sixth 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: David Oh conducting a fresh noodle evaluation using U.S. hard white wheat flour blended with Australian Standard White flour at Daehan Flour Mills in Incheon, South Korea.

Meet the other USW Technical Experts in this blog series:

Ting Liu – Opening Doors in a Naturally Winning Way
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
Andrés Saturno – A Family Legacy of Milling Innovation
Wei-lin Chou – Finding Harmony in the Wheat Industry


Name: Tarik Gahi

Title: Milling and Baking Technologist

Office: USW Middle Eastern, East and North African Region, Casablanca Office

Providing Service to: North Africa and the Middle East

2018 – Running a Bread test at Atlantic Flour Mills in Morocco using 50% SRW + 50% HRW flour.

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Milling and Baking Technologist Tarik Gahi has spent his entire career working with millers from around the world. But the first person to really make his career a passion was his mother.

“The main element on the breakfast, lunch, and dinner table in Morocco is bread. Growing up, my role at home was to follow my Mom’s instructions while helping her turn the wheat into bread. We would weigh 100 kilograms of the wheat stored in the roof, which was carefully hand cleaned, water washed, and spread under the day sun for two days to dry out,” said Gahi. “Then I would take it to a traditional flour mill – meters from our house – and pass on the message that Mom sent with me: ‘Please make the flour coarser and separated from the bran.’ Because if you didn’t ask for it, the worker at the mill would produce whole wheat flour, and my Mom didn’t want the additional job of separating the bran. Without being aware of it, she was a miller.”

(L) Tarik with his Dad in 1985; (R) Tarik with his Mom in 1987

Gahi grew up in Beni Mellal, a small city in Morocco at the base of Taseemit Mountain and near the plains of Tadla, a region known for its olive, wheat, and orange production. He and his two sisters were raised by their father, a philosophy teacher and later a school director, and mother, a homemaker. Growing up, Gahi’s favorite subject was math, so he pursued and received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Ibn Sinaa School in Beni Mellal, Morocco. When deciding what to pursue next, Gahi turned to his uncle, who had previously been the president of the first wheat importing group after the Moroccan wheat market liberalization in the late 1990s. His uncle introduced him to the Moroccan Milling Training Institute (IFIM) and shared with him something he would never forget.

He said, “Tarik, if you ask any Moroccan in the street why he wakes up every morning and goes to work, his answer is always going to be “for a piece of bread, son.” This means that wheat, flour, and bread are in our blood, and any business related to these three may lose at times but never dies.”

Following his uncle’s advice, Gahi studied milling engineering for two and a half years at IFIM, where he was introduced to USW, seeing its logo displayed throughout the school and meeting USW Regional Technical Director Peter Lloyd. After graduation, the top five students from the class, including Tarik, were offered a job in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with Al-Ghurair, one of the largest milling companies in the Middle East.

“At Al-Ghurair, I learned to be patient and never underestimate the people around you, no matter their position,” said Gahi.

After six years with Al-Ghurair, Gahi worked as a mill operation manager at Seaboard West Africa Limited in Sierra Leone for two years, which challenged his managerial skills and taught him the importance of building relationships with customers. Next, Gahi returned to his home country and served as a chief miller at a milling company in Casablanca for three years before finally joining USW in 2015.

2019 – Visiting Bakhresa Group in Tanzania for a trade servicing activity. Beside Tarik (far left) is Peter Muni, current Bakhresa group technical vice president and Gahi’s past colleague from their time together at Al Ghurair Group in UAE.

An Ambassador for U.S. Wheat

The first wheat Gahi ever milled was U.S. hard red winter (HRW) donated by USW through the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service’s Quality Samples Program (QSP).

“That marked my professional life a lot. The USW logo was engraved in my mind from my time at IFIM,” said Gahi. “I learned the basics of milling in a school built by USW, and to come back and work with the man who helped train me (Peter Lloyd), was something special. To technically convince people to use a product (wheat) that is a beautiful story for me is a job I want to do for the rest of my life. My story is with U.S. wheat.”

As a Milling and Baking Technologist, Gahi is involved in the development, service, and expansion of technical service for U.S. wheat and wheat products. He conducts cake and cookie courses in USW’s Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, inviting major regional soft wheat flour users to share with them the quality of U.S. soft wheat and demonstrate its functionality as an ingredient.

2019 – Touring the Bakhresa Mill in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and answering one of the chief miller’s questions about flour extraction and bran.

The MENA region is a wide geographic area comprised of widely differing milling and baking industries. From bakers in large cookie processing companies in Egypt to large flour mills in the UAE, North and West Africa, Gahi is equally at home carrying the message of what benefits U.S. wheat can provide customers.

“My job is to represent U.S. wheat growers in our region, and USW provides the necessary tools and conditions to help me pass on the farmer message to existing and potential customers,” said Gahi.

Through QSP, the same program that Gahi encountered in his first milling training, he now trains other young millers in processing U.S. wheat and helps introduce bakers and biscuit manufacturers to the right flour ingredient for their products.

“Tarik has a really good basic grounding in flour milling technology, upon which he has added layers of technical experience both overseas and in Morocco,” said Lloyd. “He has worked in both large and small mills, both new and older plants, and has furthermore added layers of mill management, quality control, and baking expertise to his basket of skills.”

Tarik Gahi explains variations in a QSP sample during a training at IFIM in 2018.

“Tarik is doing a great job providing technical support,” said a research and development regional manager with a large snack food company in Morocco. “He brings positive and great values to the baking industry through his regular visits and always supports us when needed. We have benefited from his bakery seminars and biscuit trainings.”

Gahi also spends time meeting with bakers and millers across the MENA region to get updates on each country’s market and help troubleshoot their technical problems. These meetings give him the opportunity to build stronger relationships among U.S. wheat customers and helps identify new needs and possible customers in each market.

“Gahi brings a lot of clarification and precious advice to cereals professionals along the supply chain by emphasizing the advantages of U.S. wheat compared to other origins and helps them adapt their practices to extract the most value. And he does that all in three languages,” said a supply chain manager with a grain agency in Algeria. “It is a great honor to work and collaborate with Tarik. His value is characterized by a great education, a great dedication to his work, and a developed professional sense, which all make him an excellent ambassador for U.S. wheat.”


As his mentor, Peter Lloyd has watched Gahi interact with customers and how his unique blend of skills as a “people person” and his ability to communicate in English, Arabic, and French has positively impacted many cultures and markets.

“A major part of the job is the ability to communicate effectively across a very wide range of people, from millionaire industry giants to cleaners in a mill – and here Tarik once again excels,” said Lloyd. “He has an innate ability to communicate with people in our region, putting all at ease and, most importantly – listening effectively. He is just a great guy to work with.”

A USW technical manager trip to the USDA-ARS Soft Wheat Quality Laboratory in Ohio in 2016. Pictured (L to R) Peter Lloyd, USW; Marcelo Mitre, USW; Byung-Kee Baik, USDA-ARS; Brad Moffitt, Ohio Corn & Wheat; and Tarik Gahi, USW.

Lloyd is very proud that his student, colleague, and understudy has become a part of the legacy Lloyd will eventually leave behind.

“As the person who has helped introduce Tarik to U.S. Wheat Associates and perhaps worked more closely with him than anyone – I can say that the future of technical support into the MENA region and across Africa is in excellent hands with Tarik.”

For Gahi, who enjoys playing chess and cycling in his free time (though he says he is tired of being beaten every time he plays chess), family is his most important interest. He is a husband and a father of two small children, but family will always be also woven into his passion for his career.

Tarik and his son.

“Every time I think about my career history, I think about my Mom, Uncle, U.S. Wheat Associates, and Peter Lloyd. If I were asked to give U.S. Wheat Associates a new name, I would simply add the word “family” – U.S. Wheat Associates Family,” said Gahi. “Since I joined USW, I have felt like a member of a family. People care, people respect each other, and people do what it takes to make the family happy.”

By Amanda J. Spoo, USW Director of Communications

Editor’s Note: This is the fifth 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: Tarik Gahi (far left) with USW colleagues Mark Fowler, Ian Flagg and Peter Lloyd at the IAOM MEENA meeting in 2017.

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
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
Andrés Saturno – A Family Legacy of Milling Innovation
Wei-lin Chou – Finding Harmony in the Wheat Industry


Colombia’s flour milling industry depends on imported wheat and is separated into regional clusters by the location of Colombian ports. Wheat arriving in Buenaventura on the Pacific coast is trucked to flour mills in Cali and Bogotá to serve the country’s largest regional baking industry. Much of the wheat unloaded at Buenaventura, however, is Canadian Western Red Spring (CWRS). That is because the price and discounting tactics of the now defunct Canadian Wheat Board helped built a traditional preference for CWRS. Bakers in Cali and Bogotá, in turn, learned to mellow this strong flour with additives; logistics kept them from seeing an alternative in U.S. hard red winter (HRW).

USW’s representatives in South America saw an opportunity to change that, at first by showing a large, influential bakery in Bogotá the value of using flour from excellent quality HRW. Through the second half of 2018, USW Regional Director for South America Miguel Galdos made in-person trade servicing calls to the bakery. In early 2019, the bakery agreed to USW’s proposal to bring in a baking consultant to demonstrate an alternative baking method, sponge and dough, using flour milled from HRW.

The consultant compared the alternate method to the bakery’s standard method using flour milled from Canadian spring wheat with additives. The results in the most popular Colombian bread products and new products (functional breads, sweet breads) were very good using flour blended from at least 40% HRW and 60% CWRS with no additives. The HRW flour blend improved mixing and fermentation, dough characteristics and machine processing without hurting finished product volume and appearance. The bakery’s management decided to adapt the HRW blended flour immediately.

Galdos reported that because there was no HRW blended flour available from their Bogotá suppliers, the bakery contacted a flour mill in Cartagena because U.S. HRW and other classes were moving into Colombia through its northern Caribbean ports. The mill’s representative flew to Bogotá and Galdos reports that the mill now has a new customer purchasing flour milled exclusively from U.S. HRW.

USW recently demonstrated a similar comparison at another bakery in Medellin, Colombia, to help build a larger data base of performance benefits with HRW flour. Looking ahead, USW is sharing the benefits of the HRW blend alternative with flour mills in Cali and Bogotá and their bakery customers. The long-term goal is to increase demand for U.S. HRW to be imported through Pacific ports. USW believes this will also help create new opportunities in the Bogotá market for U.S. soft white (SW) for blending and pastry flour, and hard red spring (HRS) delivered to Colombia’s Pacific ports now dominated by Canadian spring wheat.


Many years of work conducting trade service and technical support in South Asian countries like Myanmar (Burma) showed U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) there was a growing opportunity to compete with nearby Australian wheat supplies. Knowing two deep-water ports were opening in Myanmar in 2019, USW intensified its activities. In mid-May 2019, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service representatives were on hand to welcome the first bulk grain vessel to dock at one of the ports loaded with 22,000 metric tons (MT) of high-quality U.S. hard red spring (HRS) wheat purchased by a local flour mill.

With funding from the Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, USW has provided technical and trade servicing to mills and bakeries in Myanmar for more than 20 years.  With the ability only to take container loads, U.S. wheat had to compete with less expensive supplies shipped mainly from nearly Australia. Still, its political situation was changing and consumer purchasing power was growing.

To lay the groundwork for U.S. wheat bulk shipments to customers in Myanmar, USW hosted a workshop on FGIS inspection and certification in marketing year 2017/18 for three milling companies and government officials. USW separately brought in a private trading company and the FAS staff in Yangon to brief the Myanmar Plant Protection Department about the bulk U.S. wheat export supply system. The briefing provided information that helped increase the confidence in purchasing and handling U.S. bulk wheat shipments.

The vessel New Journey carrying 22,000 metric tons of U.S. HRS at berth in Thilawa port at Yangon, Myanmar, May 2019.

Technical training continued with seven individuals from Myanmar baking companies who participated at their companies’ expense in three USW-sponsored baking courses at the UFM Baking School in Bangkok, Thailand, between May and July 2018. In a survey about their participation, these customers said they planned to demand flour produced from U.S. HRS wheat in their processing plants. And in December 2018, USW Bakery Consultant Roy Chung made a technical service call on a milling and wheat food processor in Myanmar to provide additional information on the potential value in milling U.S. HRS for bread flour and blending for other products.

In 2019/20, USW will apply funding from the FMD program to bring purchasing managers from selected Myanmar flour mills to the United States for a course called “Contracting for Value.” Participation will help the milling executives quantify the economic value of U.S. wheat classes and will help them understand possible adjustments in contract specifications to enhance that value.

Myanmar-based customers are embracing the benefits of working with imported U.S. wheat. Exports of HRS and soft white (SW) wheat to Myanmar grew from 26,300 MT in 2017/18 to about 65,000 MT in 2018/19. USW will continue to provide valuable trade and technical support there and throughout the growing wheat markets in South Asia.

*Header Photo Caption: Myanmar International Terminal Thilawa (MITT)


U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) with the support of several export market development programs administered by the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS), has built a team of very effective end-product technical experts in Korea and Taiwan. These are very sophisticated markets with many different wheat foods. Now, USW is sharing that product and technical knowledge to help customers in the Republic of the Philippines introduce new products in a market that is hungry for innovation.

In 2018, for example, USW worked with a large flour mill in the Philippines to plan a customer appreciation learning visit to observe innovations in the Korean baking industry. USW’s representatives in Seoul set up meetings for the team of 19 customers at Korean bakeries where they saw new products and formulations made with flour from U.S. hard red spring (HRS) and hard red winter (HRW) wheat.

USW chose that milling customer for this activity knowing that Bakery World 2018, the first bakery trade show in the miller’s region, was scheduled for October 2018 where the organization would be very visible on behalf of U.S. wheat farmers. At the show with more than 6,000 bakers and allied industry representatives, USW’s Korea Country Director CY Kang presented a look at bakery trends in Korea. USW Korea Food and Bakery Technologist David Oh demonstrated production methods for five different types of breads currently popular in the Korean market. USW Manila Bakery Consultant Gerry Mendoza made a presentation on bakery operations.

With additional support from three state wheat commissions, USW also hosted 30 Philippine managers at a noodle production workshop presented by USW Taipei Asian Food Technologist Shu-Ying “Sofia” Yang in Taiwan. Yang demonstrated how milling U.S. soft white (SW) wheat yields both high quality cake flour and higher protein “clear” flour that is ideal for bright white noodles.

Participants at the 2019 Korean Bakery Workshop.

Using funding from FAS’ newly implemented Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program, USW’s Manila and Seoul offices collaborated on a Korean Bakery Workshop held in Seoul, South Korea in June 2019. USW designed the workshop as a service to 30 additional Philippine bakers and millers to familiarize them with Korean products, formulations and production methods.

Sharing product knowledge and technical expertise across regions is just one of the ways USW demonstrates its commitment of service to its customers on behalf of the wheat farmers it represents.

*Header Photo Caption: Participants at the 2018 Philippine Noodle Course in Taiwan


As U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) President Vince Peterson often says, at any given hour of the day there is someone, somewhere, talking about the quality, reliability and value of U.S. wheat. Wheat Letter wants to share some of the ways USW was working in June to promote all six classes of U.S. wheat in an ever more complex world wheat market.

Mexico. The USW Mexico City Office hosted the Mexico Wheat Trade Conference in Cancun, Mexico. Mexican millers, representing more than 85% of total Mexican milling capacity, attended the conference, as well as Mexican government officials, U.S. farmers from 13 states, U.S. grain trade representatives, and representatives from the four railroads serving the Mexican market including BNSF, Ferromex, Kansas City Southern-Mexico and Union Pacific. The program included messages from USW Chairman Chris Kolstad and USW President Vince Peterson, thanking the Mexican milling industry for their business and many years of close friendship, as well as presentations and discussions on the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), price risk management, rail transportation, ocean freight, contracting for wheat value and more. Read the full article about the conference here.

Jamaica. USW Technical Specialist Marcelo Mitre and Assistant Regional Director Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann accompanied Bakery Consultant Kirk O´Donnell to Jamaica to conduct two, 2-day seminars in partnership with a local mill. The seminars—attended by a combined 57 participants from four countries representing the baking, milling and distribution sectors—focused on the quality and versatility of U.S. wheat, baking technology, ingredient functionality, traditional fermentation methods, puff pastries and shelf life.

USW Bakery Consultant Kirk O´Donnell at a seminar in Jamaica. Photo Credit: JF Mills

A participant a the baking seminar in Jamaica. Photo Credit: JF Mills

Brazil. Accompanied by USW Marketing Manager, Casey Chumrau, and Technical Specialist, Andres Saturno, a delegation of Brazilian flour milling managers who are responsible for quality control in their wheat purchases, traveled to Kansas, Ohio and Texas. During its travels, the delegation met with the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS), milling companies, analysis laboratories, wheat breeding facilities and visited wheat farms.

The 2019 USW Brazilian Trade Delegation visits Texas A&M University. Photo Credit: Texas Wheat

The Philippines. The USW Manila and Seoul offices hosted a Korean Bakery Workshop in Seoul, South Korea, for Philippine bakers and millers to learn about Korean products, formulations and production methods to help the industry take advantage of growing opportunities and improving processes in the Philippines. The workshop took place at the Korean Baking School (KBS) under the direction of a Grand Master Baker and was facilitated by KBS program staff, along with USW Food Technologist, David Oh, and Country Director, CY Kang.

USW Korean Bakery Workshop in Seoul, South Korea.

Taiwan. USW collaborated with Chia Nan University (CNU) of Pharmacy and Science to host a full-day 2019 CNU Symposium on Chinese-style Steamed Breads for baking and catering professionals, souvenir development companies and culinary faculty and students. The symposium including hands-on training on how to make fermented steam bread and buns, as well as presentations on quality control of steamed bread, an introduction to wheat flours used for steamed breads and wheat flour inspection and milling.

2019 CNU Symposium on Chinese-style Steamed Breads

China. Together, USW and the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) hosted a Contracting for Wheat Value Workshop (CFWC) for Chinese buyers and technical officials. This workshop highlighted the strengths of U.S. wheat production and its reliability and high quality. Participants also had the opportunity to travel to visit Padget Ranches in Oregon’s Sherman County. Darren Padget is a wheat farmer and current USW Vice Chairman and invited the workshop participants for a farm tour and dinner barbeque with several local farmers and neighbors.

Contracting for Wheat Value Workshop participants visit Darren Padget’s farm in Oregon’s Sherman County.

*Header Photo Caption: Contracting for Wheat Value Workshop participants visit with a farmer in Oregon’s Sherman County.

Italy. USW Regional Marketing Director Rutger Koekoek spoke at the Romacereali Conference on the outlook for durum wheat for North America and North Africa. The conference is a popular event for the Italian cereal sector organized by the Rome Chamber of Commerce. Its 200 participants primarily work in the Italian durum milling, durum trading and pasta processing industries.

Sub-Saharan Africa. Accompanied by USW Assistant Regional Director, Chad Weigand, and Marketing Specialist, Olatunde Omotayo, a delegation of milling and procurement staff representing companies from Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire spent 10 days traveling to Washington D.C., North Dakota and Kansas to learning more about the excellent quality of hard red winter (HRW), hard red spring (HRS) and durum supplies available, as well as the promise of more exportable supply of hard white (HW) and the logistical advantages of purchasing from the United States

The 2019 USW Sub-Saharan Delegation at the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center. Photo credit: Kansas Wheat

Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. USW Vice President of Global Technical Services, Mark Fowler, and IGP Institute Associate Director, Shawn Thiele, conducted on-site milling consultations and hands-on technical training in four flour mills in Nigeria and three flour mills in South Africa. During their visits, Fowler and Thiele gave recommendations for improving milling operations and flour quality for HRW, HW and soft red winter (SRW) flour. They also spoke at the African Milling School (AMS) in Kenya about U.S. wheat classes and milling for U.S. wheat for the AMS Apprenticeship Program


Mark Fowler (L) and Shawn Thiele (R) inspect flour at a mill in Nigeria.

USW and IGP staff at a mill for training in Nigeria.


By Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Global Technical Services

[Editor’s Note: This is the second in a series of articles designed to help flour millers transition efficiently and effectively from old to new crop wheat.]

Delivering a homogeneous mix of wheat to the mill is critical to optimize mill performance and assure consistently high-quality flour products for end-user customers. Blending wheat prior to conditioning and milling is a necessary part of this process and is even more critical as the farmers who grow your grist are harvesting their new wheat crop.

To maximize product quality and cost, both the miller and the baker are rewarded by processing a consistent wheat blend. Consistency is the most critical flour quality characteristic for large bakeries.  Delivering a consistent product during harvest and new crop transition can be a challenge. However, a well-defined and implemented plan can assure a successful transition for both the miller and the baker.

Mark Fowler (L), USW Vice President of Global Technical Services, and Shawn Thiele (R), Associate Director; Flour Milling and Grain Processing Curriculum Manager at IGP Institute, recently conducted technical support in several Nigerian flour mills.

Flour extraction, or yield, is the main measure of efficiency of the milling process.  Differences in the physical attributes of wheat such as moisture, kernel size and density do change the mill balance and may lower extraction rates, flour output and ultimately lower profitability for the miller. Careful blending of new and old crop wheat is the best defense against these risks.

How much and how soon to incorporate new crop wheat into the mill grist is an important consideration during the harvest transition. In most cases, existing inventory constraints make this decision for the miller. In my experience, an optimal blending plan is to incorporate new crop into the mill grist at a rate of 10 percent in the beginning and gradually increase the blend, ideally over four to six weeks. The transition can be longer depending on the availability of new crop wheat and storage capacity in the mill. The most important thing is to lay out a blending plan as you tender for your first delivery of new crop wheat.

Blending old and new crop wheat always provides other benefits to the flour miller. Blending wheat based on quality characteristics such as protein content or water absorption allows the miller to provide the baker flour that meets their desired quality characteristics. And blending wheat of various classes or origins purchased at different prices also helps the miller meet customer demand at the best possible variable cost.

In the next post in this series, we will address the potential changes to flour quality characteristics due to new crop wheat and blending to meet flour quality characteristics expected by our customers. As always, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) technical experts are available to answer any question our customers may have by contacting their local USW office, or by sharing a question in our new “Ask the Expert” section of our website at


Originally printed in Dakota Gold, June 2019, Volume 35, No. 3; Reprinted with permission from the North Dakota Wheat Commission

In May, Dr. Senay Simsek, Professor and Wheat Quality Specialist with North Dakota State University (NDSU), traveled to the Philippines and Indonesia with U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) to meet with millers and end-users of U.S. wheat. The objective of the visits and seminars was to provide technical assistance to mills to improve their efficiency to produce flour that meets their local needs. USW staff included Peter Lloyd, Andres Saturno Eguren, Ivan Goh, Joe Sowers and Matt Weimar.

The seminars and technical visits to the mills were intense, and included presentations on Cereal Chemistry at the Mill, Biochemistry Behind Solvent Retention Capacity (SRC), and Food Safety in the Mill and Understanding Mycotoxins. These presentations are likely baffling to any that don’t have a cereal chemistry or cereal science degree, so it may be hard to understand how this type of activity helps U.S. wheat producers.

Wheat milling and baking with flour may seem like simple, straight forward tasks, but in reality, getting the correct flour from various classes and grades of wheat that corresponds into the end-use products consumers want is a complicated task.

“Dr. Simsek presents information to overseas millers and bakers that gives them an advantage in producing superior products,” says Joe Sowers, USW Regional Vice President for the Philippines and Korea. “The Philippine wheat foods industry is expanding very quickly, creating a huge demand for training and information. Dr. Simsek’s specialized expertise of HRS [hard red spring] is incredibly useful for the Philippine millers and bakers. She offers a depth of knowledge in cereal chemistry useful to the most experienced miller and baker while still accessible to newer entrants to the industry.”

All of the seminars, meetings and trainings were arranged by U.S. Wheat Associates.

Over a century of investment in HRS breeding has yielded an ideal raw material for Philippine baked goods while nearly 60 years of market development work has helped make it the largest foreign market in the world for the class. In 2018/19, the Philippines imported 68 million bushels of HRS, a historic record for any country in the world. Total U.S. sales of all wheat classes to the Philippines were almost double that at 120 million bushels.

Sales of HRS into Indonesia are not quite as robust due to a strong U.S. dollar and low flour prices. However, successes by USW in familiarizing the milling industry with the U.S. marketing system and gaining confidence in U.S. grain inspection protocols have led to average annual total wheat sales exceeding 35 million bushels, up nearly five-fold from the previous 5-year average. HRS sales last year were about 7 million bushels.

Matt Weimar, USW Regional Vice President for South Asia sees potential for growth of HRS sales. “We are optimistic that current economic and demographic trends will increase disposable income and consumer interest in higher quality end products, which often involve using HRS,” says Weimar. “Also, the Indonesian industry is quite different from others. The bread baking industry is dominated by thousands of small entrepreneurs, which represent about 65% of the bread market and their mixing equipment isn’t ideal for handling HRS.”

USW is working diligently through training programs such as this and targeted short courses to show customers the benefits of using U.S. wheat. Programs carried out by USW helps U.S. producers gain and maintain a foothold in some of the most competitive wheat markets in the world.

Header Photo Caption: Dr. Simsek (middle) discusses bread quality in Indonesia.


Name: Gerardo “Gerry” S. Mendoza

Title: Baking Consultant

Office: USW South Asian Regional Office, Manila

Providing Service to: Republic of the Philippines and Korea

Regional Profile: Southeast Asia, particularly the Philippines, has become one of the most important export markets in the world for U.S. wheat. The Philippines is the second-largest market for all classes of U.S. wheat and has been the largest importer of soft white (SW) and hard red spring (HRS) wheat since 2013. A robust population and income growth are driving increased demand for wheat-based foods. The growing middle class has an increased ability to pay for high-quality products, while end-product manufacturers and consumer preferences give U.S. wheat classes a strong advantage. U.S. wheat farmers have invested for nearly six decades in training Philippines millers and end-product manufacturers, helping the wheat foods industry achieve world-class sophistication and expertise. Given the quality and diversity of U.S. wheat supplies, USW’s focus on increased technical service and assistance is paying dividends as the region’s demand for wheat continues to grow.

There is one thing that everyone who crosses paths with Gerry Mendoza agrees on: he is just a really positive, nice guy.

“One of Gerry’s greatest assets is a positive attitude and sincere willingness to do whatever it takes to carry a project to completion,” said Joe Sowers, USW Regional Vice President for the Philippines and Korea, of his Filipino colleague.

While his attitude may come naturally, Mendoza’s interest in baking started in high school when his family got an oven with a gas range.

“I started messing around with the equipment by baking simple cakes (batter type) that were manually mixed,” said Mendoza. “Eventually, I moved on to kneading dough to make pizza and apple strudel.”

Gerry Mendoza was born into a large family in Baliuag, Bulacan, an agricultural town 50 kilometers north of Manila, known for growing rice, corn, and other vegetables. The town is also famous for its baked product “Pandesal,” a traditional Filipino breakfast bread typically consumed after rice. Once at Adamson University in Manila, he received a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering.

“My decision to take up industrial engineering was highly influenced by my peers rather than a first choice,” said Mendoza. “I became quite interested in the food processing industry to the point that my final engineering feasibility study was about a chicken processing plant.”

A Love for Baking

Upon finishing school in 1982, Mendoza started in real estate housing development and then as a medical sales representative for a pharmaceutical company, where he says is where he gained his sales and account servicing skills. For a short time, during economic unrest in the Philippines under martial law, Mendoza spent a few years with a small craft bakery that produced traditional Filipino breads and cakes. A few years later, Mendoza returned to the bakery industry and never looked back.

For the next 25 years, Mendoza used his baking, engineering, and sales backgrounds in the bakery industry to sell and promote baking ingredients, supplies, and equipment used to produce bakery goods. During his tenures with Bakels Philippines Inc. and AB Mauri Philippines, he identified new markets, helped expand product portfolios, and developed and executed technical services that included product development programs, baking seminars, product demonstrations, recipe application development, and technical sales training.

Ultimately, one could say his combined interest in playing badminton and baking led Mendoza to U.S. Wheat Associates (USW). Sowers first met him in 2012, when he (Gerry) was running a World Bread Day badminton tournament fundraiser for the Philippine Society of Baking.

“His enthusiastic personality, strong character, and high esteem within the baking community and other industry partners led us to invite Gerry to join USW in 2016, and ever since, he has been an absolute pleasure to work with,” said Sowers. “He came to USW with more than 30 years of experience in baking and allied industries, a background that gives him a profound ability to provide relevant advice and actionable solutions to Philippine mills and end-product manufacturers.”

Committed to Customers

As a USW Baking Consultant, Mendoza’s primary responsibility is providing technical assistance and training to commercial bakeries.

“I saw this (USW) as an opportunity for me to share my baking knowledge and skills that I have nurtured and developed for most of my professional life,” said Mendoza. “Ultimately, I saw it as an opportunity to continue my passion for baking.”

That passion and Mendoza’s wealth of knowledge are what resonates with customers.

“It has always been great working with ‘Sir Gerry,’ as part of our common goal of sharing baking knowledge,” said a bakery owner in the Philippines. “By sharing his expertise with our fellow bakers in the Philippines, we are now more equipped to face the different challenges of a more globalized and competitive baking industry.”

“He guided us through our SRC (solvent retention capacity) project,” said a milling quality control manager. “From the first time we did the streaming, he joined us, collecting flour samples from each stream in the mill. It’s a very tiring process, but he was there with us until we finished collecting almost 50 samples.”

Meant to Teach

After spending many years as a regular resource speaker at the Asian Baking Institute and Philippine Foremost Milling Corporation’s Basic Commercial Baking Course, conducting lectures on different ingredients such as yeast, bread improvers, and chemical leaveners; as well as continuing to regularly conduct baking science short courses for the Philippine Society of Baking—where he serves as an officer and instructor—Mendoza has developed his natural affinity for teaching and mentoring. 

“He teaches and discusses baking in a manner that even a newcomer can easily grasp. He answers all questions [precisely], showing patience and even baking his signature ‘Madeleine’ bread for us,” said a chief operating officer for a large mill in the Philippines. “When we were organizing a baking seminar together, I found Gerry’s coordination and attention to detail excellent.”

“Working with Mr. Mendoza is really inspiring because of his approach to teaching from years of experience,” said another milling executive. “With his extraordinary way of being organized and systematic, his guidance and encouragement helps deliver excellent results for companies.”

Every customer who shared their experience working with Mendoza—the badminton player who also enjoys bike riding, karaoke, and cooking and baking at home—noted his kindness and love for working with bakers.

“He is very approachable, and you can easily feel his sincerity and general concern with whatever you are discussing,” said a chief operating officer for a large mill in the Philippines. “He displays passion in educating people with what he has mastered in his career.”

Mendoza enjoys being able to provide technical assistance and services to the thriving Philippine baking industry.

“My direct contact with millers, bakery owners, operators, and bakers through technical training and baking workshops gives me the opportunity to highlight the value of using flour made from U.S. wheat,” he said.

Another manager said, “Gerry is very easy to work with. He is very approachable, not hesitant to share his knowledge, and very quick when asked for data. He always assures us that he is always available and will always accommodate our inquiries and request. He has never failed us, and he knows how to deal pleasantly and effortlessly with everyone he meets.”

Sowers added, “Gerry Mendoza has a natural affinity for presenting information in a classroom setting or running a baking workshop in an interesting and engaging fashion. He is very creative in designing training activities and enthusiastically carries them out. I think that is why so many customers here want Gerry to put on workshops – and, of course, because he is such a nice guy.”

By Amanda J. Spoo, USW Director of Communications

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth 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’
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
Andrés Saturno – A Family Legacy of Milling Innovation
Wei-lin Chou – Finding Harmony in the Wheat Industry


By Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Global Technical Services

[Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of articles to help flour millers transition efficiently and effectively from old to new crop wheat.]

As U.S. wheat farmers finally start harvesting their 2019 winter wheat crop, flour millers around the world turn their focus toward the quality characteristics of the new crop. Each year, millers must remember that wheat is a natural product, so its “millability” (how efficiently wheat can be turned into wheat flour) and quality are affected not only by the predominant and new varieties, but also the growing conditions for the wheat you are buying.

As a former commercial flour miller and milling instructor, I considered this as an ideal time to think about what impact the potential changes in the crop may have on the techniques required to transition new crop wheat on to the mill.

Mark Fowler (right), USW Vice President of Global Technical Services, is a former commercial flour miller and milling instructor at Kansas State University’s IGP Institute, here with millers in Taiwan.

To minimize changes to key quality characteristics their end users need to make a variety of bread and other products from wheat flour, millers will face the challenge of blending new crop with old crop wheat during the initial transition period. Blending wheat to maintain protein percentage and flour functionality characteristics gets the most attention as a matter of course. However, millability is affected by several quality characteristics. Moisture, test weight, kernel size and kernel hardness are just a few of the factors that millers must evaluate during this time of transition to optimize the quantity (extraction rate) and quality of the flour they will produce.

As U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) reports on the progress and quality of the 2019 U.S. wheat harvest over the next several weeks, our team of technical experts will provide a series of insights to help our flour miller customers prepare for integrating new crop wheat along with some interpretation of the potential impact of wheat quality results for the millers and end users. We will review such topics as wheat and flour blending, cleaning, tempering and conditioning and end use functionality.

Understanding the impact of the new wheat supply and preparing to make the necessary changes is the key to a successful crop transition. As always, USW technical experts are available to answer any question our customers may have by contacting their local USW office, or by sharing a question in our new “Ask the Expert” section of our website at