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.




Following is USW Market Analyst Tyllor Ledford’s report on her participation in the 2023 Crop Quality Seminars. She appears on the left in the photo above with Regional Vice President for South and Southeast Asia Joe Sowers and Assistant Regional Director Joe Bippert at the Crop Quality Seminar in Bangkok, Thailand.

For many, the month of November includes preparations for an upcoming holiday season and a time of reflection as many cultures around the world look ahead to a new year. At U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), the month of November marks Crop Quality Seminar season, a time when USW staff from around the world inform customers about new wheat crop quality characteristics, provide insight on current market conditions, and highlight opportunities for customers as they make purchasing decisions into the coming year.

Cover of the 2023 USW Crop Quality Report including photos of a wheat field, pasta, sponge cake, and bread.

Download the 2023 U.S. Wheat Crop Quality Report here.

From November 6 to 10, I had the pleasure of joining a team of USW staff, state wheat commission staff, partner organizations, exporters, and wheat farmers on the Southeast Asia Crop Quality tour in Manila, Philippines, Jakarta, Indonesia, and Bangkok, Thailand. The seminars represent a cumulation of the years’ work, from when the winter wheat crop was planted in 2022 through spring fieldwork, harvest, rigorous quality testing, and finally, the compilation of the 2023 crop quality booklets.

A Unique Gathering

Differing from other USW sponsored events, the Crop Quality seminars provide an annual opportunity for representatives from across the U.S. wheat supply chain to gather in one location with major flour milling stakeholders from the region. Attendees included a mix of producers, country elevator managers, U.S. export companies, flour mill staff, and end product manufacturers. With a wide range of representation from across the supply chain, this year’s event provided the opportunity to address special topics of concern, including how farmers make planting decisions and the future of wheat acreage, new technology implementation by wheat producers, and the grain origination process from a country elevator point of view. The U.S. supply chain is large and complex; therefore, perspectives from different aspects of the supply chain help bridge the gap between the producers of U.S. and the end users.

In our region alone we reached over 250 customers from Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Indonesia throughout three seminars. It was enlightening to witness firsthand the great relationships USW has with the flour milling industry in the region and reconnect with familiar faces that have visited farms in the U.S. or participated in other USW sponsored activities and events.

Photo from the front of a large conference room at the 2023 USW Crop Quality Seminar in Bangkok, Thailand.

Nearly 150 flour mills staff, end product manufactures, and industry stakeholders gathered at the 2023 USW Crop Quality Seminar held in Bangkok, Thailand.

Timely Information Aids in Future Planning

Throughout the week, a common focus of questions and hallway conversations centered on future purchasing decisions, potential threats, and the key question of “where will prices go next?”

Market sentiment is ever changing and now more than ever, lurking factors that are not yet reflected in current market prices continue to play a role in wheat market dynamics. Even in years with less variability, accurately predicting price direction is a challenge, but this year, with many more unknowns than knowns in the market, making predictions is more difficult than ever.

Nevertheless, the questions and conversations highlight the continued need for information sharing as customers navigate the complexities of the world wheat market. Regardless of the year, crop conditions, and market outlook customers rely on USW to provide accurate, timely, and transparent information, in addition to the high-quality wheat on which customers know they can rely.


Earlier this month, flour mill executives, grain procurement managers, and representatives of state trading companies from 19 countries (photo above) traveled to Fargo, N.D., sponsored by U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) to participate in the Grain Procurement Short Course for Importers at the Northern Crops Institute (NCI).

USW and NCI believe customer engagement, supply chain transparency, and accessible global market information are the building blocks for mutually profitable relationships with U.S. wheat customers. To promote engagement and transparency, USW partners with NCI at North Dakota State University (NDSU) annually to offer the Grain Procurement Short Course for Importers. The course’s primary focus is customer education on wheat procurement strategies, risk management, and navigating the U.S. supply chain.

An Emphasis on Information and Data

The ten-day session began in the classroom led by industry-leading experts at NDSU including Dr. Bill Wilson, Dr. Frayne Olson, and Dr. David Bullock. The lectures provided a durable foundation of traditional agricultural fundamentals, cash and futures markets, technical analysis, and risk management tools such as hedging and options.

From there, other coursework built upon the foundational knowledge with advanced sessions on risk management, U.S. wheat quality and value, rail logistics, and experiential learning in the NDSU Commodity Trading Lab.

Moreover, a common theme throughout the course was the importance of data analytics and information in the marketplace. Drs. Wilson and Olson highlighted various sources of information that are useful and relevant for customers, including the U.S. Wheat Associates Price Report, the USDA World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, and the USDA AMS Market Reports, among others. They stressed that as the industry continues to evolve, customers need a range of information sources and improved data analysis methods to understand market movements and trends.

Grain Procurement Course participants at NDSU wheat variety trial plot

NDSU Hard Red Spring Wheat Breeder, Dr. Andrew Green, provides an overview of the NDSU variety trial test plots and the wheat breeding process.

Firsthand Experience Facilitates Transparency

The latter half of the course included tours providing an in-depth look into U.S. supply chain infrastructure and grain marketing system.

Course participants toured the NDSU variety trial plots, up-country shuttle train loading facilities, and a domestic flour mill, contributing to a better understanding of the U.S. domestic market. The team then went to Duluth, Minn., to observe the U.S. export infrastructure in the Port of Duluth-Superior, including assets owned by CHS and Hansen-Mueller, to complete the U.S. supply chain overview.

Touring U.S. supply chain infrastructure provides a unique opportunity for customers to see first-hand how grain moves from farm fields to the elevator in Duluth, demonstrating the reliability, effectiveness, and transparency of the U.S. supply chain.

Building Lasting Relationships

Finally, the course concluded with meetings at grain exporting companies in Minneapolis, Minn., including major exporters such as CHS, Cargill, and ADM. These meetings with traders provided the opportunity to build relationships and gain additional familiarity with the U.S. grain marketing system.

Grain Procurement Course participants at CHS in Superior, Wis.

NCI program manager Brian Sorenson (third from right) and course participants at the CHS export elevator in Superior, Wis., a member of the Port of Duluth-Superior.

Upon conclusion of the course, participants left with a greater understanding of the U.S. marketing system and supply chain management strategies. One participant from sub-Saharan Africa commented, “This course not only deepened our understanding of grain procurement and guided us on how to make more effective wheat purchases with minimum risk, but also provided an invaluable platform for sharing of experience with the experts and among participants, especially those already importing U.S. wheat.”

Most importantly, the program provided the participants with a network of experts and professionals in the grain procurement and flour milling industry from around the world, fostering a spirit of collaboration and information sharing. And that is crucial to encouraging transparency and forming long-term partnerships between customers, sellers, and USW.

By USW Market Analyst Tyllor Ledford


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.


In this article, originally published during U.S. Wheat Associates’ 40th anniversary in 2020, Wheat Letter describes the highly successful public-private partnership supporting U.S. wheat export market development that has endured since the 1950s.

The proper role of government…is that of partner with the farmer – never his master. By every possible means we must develop and promote that partnership – to the end that agriculture may continue to be a sound, enduring foundation for our economy and that farm living may be a profitable and satisfying experience. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, from a message to Congress on agriculture, Jan. 9, 1956.

In 2020, Wheat Letter offered historical perspective on how changes in federal programs, global market factors and relationships drew Western Wheat Associates and Great Plains Wheat Market Development Association ever closer together and led to the establishment of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) as a single export market development organization to serve all U.S. wheat farmers.

A formal agreement between the Nebraska Wheat Commission and USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) to co-fund and implement export market development activities in 1958 marked the beginning of an enduring partnership between farmers, state wheat commissions, FAS and USW after the merger in 1980.

“I consider this to be one of the most successful partnerships between a U.S. government agency and private industry,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “Each partner brings unique core capabilities that support the export development mission. Our activities are jointly planned, funded and evaluated. We all share the risks, responsibilities and results.”

It Starts with the Farmer

State wheat commissions exist under state law generally to conduct promotion and market development through research, education and information. Commissions are funded by assessments paid by the farmer either by bushel or by a portion of the price at the time of sale. This is called a “checkoff” and though it is voluntary, a strong majority of farmers contribute their assessment. Farmer commissioners, either elected by their peers or appointed by their state’s governor, direct how the checkoff funds are to be used, such as for domestic promotion, public crop production research and variety development and export market development.

In 2017, Ralph Bean, who was then Agricultural Counselor, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Embassy Manila (far right), met with farmers from South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana during their USW Board Team visit to South Asia . The farmers were guests of honor at the 9th International Exhibition on Bakery, Confectionary and Foodservice Equipment and Supplies, known as “Bakery Fair 2017,” hosted by the Filipino-Chinese Bakery Association Inc.

By agreeing to contribute a portion of checkoff funds to USW for export market development, state wheat commissions choose to become members of USW. The annual USW membership assessment is about $0.004 per bushel, multiplied by the average production in the state over the past five years. Currently 17 state wheat commissions are USW members.

The contributions from state wheat commissions, including special project funds as well as the personal time and talent invested by farmers and U.S. wheat supply chain participants, supports the USW mission to develop, maintain and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers. In addition, state commission contributions qualify USW to apply for federal export market development funds administered by FAS.

Linking U.S. Agriculture to the World

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has primary responsibility for overseas programs including market development, international trade agreements and negotiations, and the collection of statistics and market information. It also administers the USDA’s export credit guarantee and food aid programs and helps increase income and food availability in developing nations by mobilizing expertise for agriculturally led economic growth. The FAS mission is to link U.S. agriculture to the world to enhance export opportunities and global food security.

Jim Higgiston (left), who was then USDA/FAS Minister Counselor for Agricultural Affairs, met with Regional Director Chad Weigand (right) and farmer members of a USW Board Team in September 2018 in the capital city of Pretoria, South Africa. The FAS team in Pretoria included Kyle Bonsu, Agricultural Attache, Laura Geller, Senior Agricultural Attache, and Dirk Esterhuizen, Senior Agricultural Specialist.

FAS export market development programs available to USW as a cooperating organization include the Market Access Program (MAP), the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, the Agricultural Trade Promotion program and the Quality Samples Program. USW is required to conduct an extensive, annual strategic planning process that carefully examines every market, identifying opportunities for export growth and recognizing trends or policies that could threaten existing or prospective markets. FAS reviews this annual plan, the Unified Export Strategy (UES), results from previous years and private commitments to determine how USW will invest program funds. In 2022/23, federal funding provided $2.20 for every $1.00 contributed by farmers through their state wheat commissions.

“It is important that [overseas] buyers and government officials develop direct personal relationships not only with us at USDA but also directly with American farmers and ranchers,” said former USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney in testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry in June 2019.

In 2017, Jeffery Albanese (pictured back row with hat), who was then Agricultural Attaché, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service, U.S. Embassy Manila, joined aUSW Board Team, with farmers from South Dakota, North Dakota and Montana, and USW staff,  for a tour of San Miguel Mill, Inc. in the Philippines.

USDA in general and FAS specifically foster such relationships by acting as strategic partners with USW through the extensive FAS network of foreign service officers serving in 98 offices around the world and its civil service support in the United States. The foreign service officers provide vital liaison with government officials and are active in market development work. The civil service likewise plays a critical role in everything from supporting the foreign service, managing the relationships with organizations like USW, providing market information, analyzing trade policy barriers, and much more.

FAS programs make it possible for wheat farmers to have representatives from USW who work directly with overseas wheat buyers, flour millers and wheat food processors and translate customer needs directly back to the state wheat organizations, who are in turn helping direct research for wheat crop development in their states. This leads to improved varieties and helps farmers manage their crops with the end user in mind, who would otherwise be thousands of miles and multiple steps apart in the supply chain.

A team of U.S. wheat farmers from Kansas, Oklahoma and Arizona bound for trade visits to customers in Nigeria and South Africa met in September 2016 with then USDA Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney (center) and other FAS staff in Washington, D.C.


Citing economic challenges and lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, World Grain magazine recently suggested to the world’s flour millers that adapting to these challenges requires closer collaboration and more frequent communication with suppliers and partners. In these uncertain times, the people and resources of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) stand ready to be that supportive partner.

USW works on behalf of dependable U.S. wheat producers to help millers and other wheat buyers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six classes of U.S. wheat. This is so important because the U.S. grain marketing system is reliable and transparent but can be complicated. So, USW keeps customers informed about crop quality and prices — an effort that includes risk management and technical education, market analysis, and in-country demand creation.

Contact Your Local USW Office

Flour millers and other wheat buyers will be well served by making their local USW office their first point of contact. Our experienced staff and consultants are prepared to help buyers before, during and after the sale, with service that enhances U.S. wheat value. Find the nearest USW office here.

A team of Colombian flour millers on a trade team visit to High Line Grain

Supply Chain Lessons. In 2022, a team of flour millers from Colombia visited High Line Grain in Washington state to gain a better understanding of what it takes to move U.S. wheat to export locations. Photo by Lori Maricle, Washington Grain Commission.

Working directly with overseas buyers to answer questions and resolve issues in purchasing, shipping or using U.S. wheat, USW also sponsors trade delegations to the United States, regular crop and market condition updates, quality surveys and other activities.

Regular Market Reports

USW regularly gathers and analyzes relevant market data. USW shares information with flour millers and other buyers on trade policy, wheat grade standards or specifications that may affect price and future wheat production, trade and consumption projections. This information is available from local USW representatives and regular published reports covering:

Export Technical Support

2022 Taiwan bakery trade show exhibit by USW to educate flour millers and bakers

Quality Update. USW Country Director Bo Yuan Chen describes the source of U.S. wheat quality to visitors to a USW exhibit at a 2022 Taipei baking industry trade show.

To help strengthen the technical efficiency of flour milling, storage, handling and end-product industries, USW sponsors participation in webinars, technical courses, workshops and in-person seminars. Other activities include personalized consulting in milling, baking, snack food and pasta production as well as grain storage and handling.

USW also works with customers and other U.S. grain industry partners to expand consumer awareness and appreciation for wheat foods, including nutritional information through webinars, in-person seminars, consumer demonstrations, trade shows and promotional campaign support.

USW’s work is supported by 17 state wheat commissions and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS). Private U.S. wheat exporters also have representatives worldwide, so flour millers will also want to contact them for additional information.

Other important resources include:

  • Agricultural Attaché and Counselors: The U.S. agricultural attaché and/or agricultural counselors are in the American Embassy or in the Agricultural Trade Office (ATO). Find the nearest U.S. Embassy or ATO.
  • NAEGA Trade Lead Form:  Many companies and cooperatives that supply U.S. wheat belong to the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA).
  • Registered Grain Exporter Directory: The USDA’s Federal Grain Inspection Service maintains a list of registered exporters on its website.

Please visit for more information. Photo above of a Japanese flour miller trade team at the Washington Grain Commission office in Spokane, Wash., by Lori Maricle.


USW Vice Chair Michael Peter( left) with Sen. Frank Lucas, R-Oklahoman (center) and Yi-Cheun "Tony" Shu, chair of the TFMA, after the Letter of Intent signing at the U.S. Capitol.

USW Vice Chair Michael Peters ( left) with Sen. Frank Lucas, R-Oklahoma (center) and Yi-Cheun “Tony” Shu, chair of the TFMA, after the Letter of Intent signing at the U.S. Capitol.

Representatives from the Taiwan Flour Millers Association (TFMA) signed a Letter of Intent September 14, 2022,  with U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) to purchase 1.9 million metric tons – about 69.8 million bushels – of wheat from the U.S. over the next two years, a commitment with an estimated value of $576 million.

The signing, held at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., was a much-anticipated stop for the 2022 Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission, a team made up of Taiwanese government officials and representatives of some of the largest importers of U.S. grains. The group is led by Yi-Cheun “Tony” Shu, chair of the TFMA and of Formosa Oilseed Processing Co. Also participating is Dr. Ching-Cheng Huang, deputy minister of Taiwan’s Council of Agriculture.

Taiwan is the 6th largest U.S. wheat export market and the 7th largest overseas market for U.S. agricultural products. Along with its intent to purchase U.S. wheat in 2023 and 2024, the team also signed Letters of Intent with the U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) and the U.S. Grains Council (USG) to purchase soybeans and corn. The total estimated commitment in the three letters total $3.2 billion.

Michael Peters, USW Vice Chairman, signed the TFMA Letter of Intent on behalf of the U.S. wheat industry.

“American farmers place great value on the relationship between U.S. agriculture and Taiwan,” Peters, a wheat producer and cattle rancher from Okarche, Oklahoma, said during the signing ceremony. “We pride ourselves as being dependable partners who grow the highest quality agriculture products in the world. The TFMA and its members have been great trading partners who fully recognize the value of purchasing U.S. wheat.”

Among U.S. officials on hand were Senators Kevin Cramer, R-North Dakota, John Hoeven, R-North Dakota, Frank Lucas, R-Oklahoma, Jim Risch, R-Idaho, and Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa. Representative Steven Chabot, R-Ohio, co-chair of the Congressional Taiwan Caucus, was also present to witness the signing.

Following the visit to Washington, D.C., flour millers on the Mission headed west to get a first-hand look at U.S. wheat production and meet the people responsible for supplying high-quality wheat to Taiwan. The team is scheduled to visit wheat farmers in Kansas, Idaho and Oregon. Other scheduled stops also include the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center and the Port of Portland in Oregon.

USW also joined USSEC, USGC, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) and the North American Export Grain Association (NAEGA) in hosting a reception for the Mission team on September 13. The event provided leaders of the U.S. wheat and grain industry an opportunity to catch up with members of the Taiwan Goodwill Mission, which last visited the United States in 2019.

USW President Vince Peterson addresses those gathered for a reception welcoming the 2022 Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission

USW President Vince Peterson addresses those gathered for a reception welcoming the 2022 Taiwan Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission

USW President Vince Peterson addressed the gathering by pointing out the long and beneficial history of cooperation between Taiwan’s flour milling industry and the U.S. wheat industry that first opened a promotional office in Taipei 56 years ago.

“Our legacy organization Western Wheat Associates established a presence in Taiwan in 1966, so we are going on six decades of working with the country’s flour millers and food industry,” Peterson said. “In that time, Taiwan has purchased more than 45 million metric tons of U.S. wheat. This partnership between TFMA, U.S. Wheat Associates and U.S. wheat producers has been on a great path, and we plan to continue on that path in the future. We truly thank the Taiwan Goodwill Mission for coming to the United States and for its ongoing preference for U.S. wheat and other agricultural products.”


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 just some of the ways USW was working in June and July to promote all six classes of U.S. wheat in an ever more complex world grain market.

USW Beijing Builds Online Resources

Pandemic restrictions to movement and gatherings continue in the People’s Republic of China and have compelled a greater reliance on remote delivery systems. USW Beijing now offers a suite of regular programming made up of translations from the USW Price Report, Crop Updates and our monthly Supply and Demand presentations. By adapting as many materials as possible to deliver remotely or online, USW Beijing is able to keep USW technical support, trade service, and U.S. wheat quality information flowing to China’s flour millers

USW Seoul Sent Noodle Makers to Wheat Marketing Center

In June, USW Seoul conducted a Noodle Flour Development Short Course with the expert staff at the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) in Portland, Ore. The team included noodle processors and milling quality specialists from Korea. They made 34 distinct types of general ramen and non-fried ramen noodles using various blends of U.S. wheat and Australian wheat flour. As a result of the general ramen test, these customers concluded that U.S. flour could be increased in a blend with Australian flour and maintain acceptable appearance and texture. In addition, the course participants identified that adding U.S. hard red spring (HRS) flour improved the hardness of stir-type noodles.

A team of Korean noodle experts produce ramen noodlesmade with U.S. wheat flour at the Wheat Marketing Center in Portland, Oregon.

Better Wheat…Better Ramen. USW and the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) held a Noodle Workshop for Korean manufacturers in June to test several blends of U.S. wheat flour for ramen noodle production. Here the participants are observing ramen on the WMC pilot production line.

USW Mexico City Technical Support

USW Mexico City Director of Technical Services Marcelo Mitre and consultant Juan Manuel Tiznado conducted a cookie seminar in June for processing staff at a large Mexican manufacturing plant. The seminar helped demonstrate improvements in processing and end-product quality, including improved outcomes using U.S. soft red winter (SRW) and soft white (SW) wheat flour. Mitre and Tiznado identified several modifications, and they will continue working with the manufacturer to monitor progress and the customer’s satisfaction with those improvements.

Chung and Goh Teach Baking

In July, USW Singapore held the 42nd Baking Science and Technology Course (BSTC) in conjunction with the UFM Baking and Cooking School in Bangkok, Thailand. Noted USW Bakery Consultant Roy Chung and USW Biscuit/Bakery and Noodle Technologist Ivan Goh were the principal lecturers. This six-week course features ingredient functionality, bread and cake processing, and sections on flour specification and quality evaluation. USW Manila Baking Technician Ady Redondo participated in the course and received the second highest overall score among 19 students. Those participants now understand more about how U.S. wheat classes provide superior functionality for the most popular wheat-based foods in their markets.

USW Santiago Brings U.S. Harvest to Customers

A benefit to both USW and its customers from pandemic travel restrictions is the ability to reach a lot more customers in a single online activity. In June, USW Santiago was able to share a detailed, up-to-date look at the 2022/23 U.S. hard red winter (HRW) and SRW crops then being harvested to 138 customers from 85 different companies in the South American region. Justin Gilpin, CEO, Kansas Wheat Commission reported on the progress and quality of the HRW crop while wheat farmer and a past USW Chairman Jason Scott representing the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board gave the SRW update. USW Santiago reports that there was active participation in the question-and-answer session and that those customers now have added confidence that these crops will offer excellent flour and functional characteristics. Read more about the current U.S. wheat harvest and by-class quality in the USW Harvest Report here.

The Oklahoma Wheat Commission, USW and members of a trade team from Ecuador and Peru observing U.S. wheat production participate in a trade agreement signing ceremony.

Ecuador and Peru Team in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Wheat Commission (OWC) recently hosted members of a wheat industry trade team from Ecuador and Peru touring wheat handling and processing facilities. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and OWC held a ceremonial wheat trade signing with the team and USW, represented by USW Santiago Technical Manager Andrés Saturno (seated). Oklahoma State Secretary of Agriculture Ms. Blayne Arthur (seated) greeted the team. Hear more as Ron Hays with Oklahoma Farm Report interviews team members at

USW activities are made possible through export market development programs administered by the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.


U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) invests funding from USDA Foreign Agricultural Service export market development programs to bring several trade teams of overseas customers and stakeholders to the United States. Visiting wheat-producing states connects customers with farmers as well as state wheat commissions and industry partners that co-sponsor local visits. The goal is the same for USW and partners: to promote the reliability, quality and value of all six U.S. wheat classes to customers around the world.

Substituting virtual trade visits during the pandemic did allow more customers to learn about the 2020 and 2021 U.S. wheat conditions and harvest. And virtual experiences will remain part of USW’s trade service and technical support.

However, “we are excited to be able to bring customers to the U.S. again to meet face-to-face with U.S. wheat farmers and to learn about the U.S. marketing system,” said Stephanie Bryant-Erdmann, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) assistant regional director for Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean and Venezuela, who led a team of Mexican flour milling executives to Kansas and Ohio in June. “The face-to-face conversations and hands-on experiences an in-person trade team offers are invaluable.”

Photo shows participants in a USW-sponsored trade team of Mexican flour millers with USW and Kansas Wheat representatives at the IGP Institute.

Mexican Millers. A trade team of flour millers from Mexico, the largest importer of U.S. wheat in the world, learned about the U.S. hard red winter wheat industry in June through visits with the Kansas Wheat Commission (above), the IGP Institute and the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center in Manhattan, Kan.

Club Wheat Exchange

In mid-July, USW brought a team of three quality control managers from Japanese flour millers to Portland, Ore., to exchange information with the Wheat Marketing Center and Pacific Northwest wheat commissions about U.S. club wheat functional performance (photo above). The demand for the highest quality cakes and confection products leads Japan to be the leading importer of U.S. Western White wheat. This is a subclass of soft white (SW) that includes a blend of not less than 10% club wheat and 90% SW, which allows the customer to define quality targets and adjust the proportion of SW and Club wheat in the blend according to price and quality expectations.

Up-to-Date Trade Information

The grain companies with elevators in the Pacific Northwest process an estimated 60% of all U.S. wheat exports. That is why the Pacific Grain Exporters Association often participates in USW-sponsored trade team activities. Association members met with a trade team of Korean flour milling executives July 22, a day that included stops at USW’s West Coast Office and the Wheat Marketing Center in Portland and the EGT Grain Terminal in Longview, Wash. The millers also spent a full day on wheat farms hosted by growers David Brewer and Jeff Newtson with support from the Oregon Wheat Commission.

Next Generation Millers

Also in July, members of the next generation of flour millers and commodity buyers from operations in Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Oman spent 12 days on an educational tour to Idaho, Kansas and North Dakota.

The team included future industry decision-makers. Some attendees were students and had part-time jobs in their family’s flour mills to prepare them to take over from their parents. USW used this opportunity to introduce information about the U.S. grain marketing system at an early stage in the careers of these young professionals and build strong relationships to lay the foundation for future opportunities like potential combination cargos.

“These young generation millers represent their family businesses and are exposed to the U.S. grain marketing system at a very early age,” said Tarik Gahi, milling and baking technologist in the USW office in Casablanca, Morocco, who accompanied the team. “Visits to different states on this trip were an opportunity to introduce different classes of U.S. wheat and learn about efforts implemented by organizations and facilities to produce the best quality wheat.”

Photo shows participants in a USW trade team from the Middle East and North Africa around a large red tractor on the Bill Flory farm in Idaho.

Touching Ground. Visiting farms as part of USW-sponsored trade team activities is a memorable experience for U.S. wheat customers and important for U.S. wheat industry stakeholders. This team of next generation flour millers from North Africa and the Middle East touched ground at Idaho Wheat Commissioner Bill Flory’s farm in July.

South American Visits

Senior managers and wheat buyers from five Colombian flour mills and the leader of Fedemol, the Colombian milling and wheat food industries association, just returned home July 30 from a nine-day trade team activity in Washington state, Ohio and Kansas. Colombian millers purchase more U.S. hard red winter, soft red winter and soft white wheat each year than any other South American country. Colombia has ports on the Gulf of Mexico receiving U.S. hard red winter and soft red winter wheat, and on the Pacific Ocean receiving U.S. SW wheat.

In addition, technical managers from flour mills in Peru and Ecuador arrived in July 31 for a USW-sponsored trade team to meet with industry representatives from Minnesota, Idaho and Oklahoma. They will be in the United States through Aug. 6.

Over the next two months, additional trade teams from Japan, the Philippines, Taiwan and South Asian countries will have that personal experience meeting with the dependable people who make up the U.S. wheat industry.

USW wants to thank our partners with USDA-FAS, state wheat commissions, educational organizations and of course the farmers we represent who make these activities possible.


USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) Administrator Daniel Whitley recently returned from leading a U.S. trade mission to the Philippines. The mission’s objective was to help foster stronger ties and build economic partnerships between the United States and the Philippines. The mission included representatives from 29 U.S. agribusinesses and farm organizations and 10 state departments of agriculture who are interested in exploring export opportunities in the Philippines.

Charlie Vogel, Executive Director of the Minnesota Wheat Research & Promotion Council, Red Lake Fall, Minn., shared his experience on the trade mission that included meetings with U.S. wheat customers in the Philippines.

People Make It A Small World

“Participating in the trade mission, I was reminded how big this world physically is and the miracle of modern transportation. However, from a human perspective, it is a small world,” Vogel said. “The concerns about geopolitics, world wheat supplies, market volatility, and weather were the exact same questions domestic buyers ask me about hard red spring [HRS] wheat. People are people the world over.

“A key takeaway from this trade mission is the value U.S. wheat farmers receive from the continued efforts of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and its staff, who set up meetings, tours, and dinners with millers, bakers and associations. Some themes became apparent. USW staff has developed deep and genuine relationships with these HRS buyers and end users. They provide technical skills and resources to assist these partners in maximizing use, expanding markets and product lines, and improving business. The consistent quality of HRS provided by U.S. growers, including from Minnesota, is essential to the value proposition USW utilizes. In the face of a rising U.S. dollar and uncertain geopolitics, these relationships are critical to continued success.”

Meeting Wheat Customers

USW Country Director Joe Bippert and the USW Manila team arranged a tour and meeting with Gardenia Bakery, a large commercial bread and wheat food company in Manila, for Vogel. In addition, Vogel and Bippert met with leaders of the Filipino Chinese Bakery Association.

Vogel’s photo at the top of this page is from a visit to the flagship store of Eng Bee Tin, an over 90-year-old landmark in the heart of the oldest Chinatown in the world. Eng Bee Tin produces hopia, a popular snack in the Philippines.

“We met wonderful, hospitable and genuine people in Manila, and I was happy to let them know how much our wheat growers in Minnesota and across the country appreciate their support for our products,” Vogel said.

Customer meeting during Philippines trade mission

Valued Customers. (L-R) Charlie Vogel and Joe Bippert met with Royce Gerik Chua, Eng Bee Tin, Jerry Midel, Philippine Society of Baking, and Henry Ah, Liberty Food Mart, during the FAS trade mission to the Philippines in July 2022.

World’s Most Reliable

USW and its legacy organizations have maintained an office in the Philippines for almost 60 years. Flour millers in the Philippines rely on U.S. HRS, soft white and hard red winter milling wheat to meet the growing demand for wheat foods in the island nation. Administrator Whitley also noted that the Philippines is the eighth-largest market for U.S. agricultural and food products, with even more potential. There is a reason for that, he said.

“Everywhere I go, trading partners are looking for a reliable supplier. And they view American agriculture to be the most reliable in the world,” Whitley said. “That, along with our outstanding qualities and the fact that we are embracing the challenge to produce commodities that are more sustainable.”