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Recent news and highlights from around the U.S. wheat industry.

Speaking of Wheat

“The Russian naval blockade of Ukrainian ports has already shredded global chains of food supply. Adding insult to injury, Russia steals Ukrainian grain and bombs Ukrainian granaries. Russia is essentially playing hunger games with the world by keeping the naval blockade of Ukrainian ports with one hand and shifting the blame for it on Ukraine with the other hand.” –Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. Read more here.

Best Wishes to Director of Communications Amanda Spoo

All of us at U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and across the U.S. wheat industry want to thank Amanda Spoo (above) for her work on behalf of wheat farmers over more than 7 years on the USW Communications Team. Among the many highlights of her time with USW, Amanda managed a major overhaul of www.uswheat.org and built USW’s social media into a highly effective channel to overseas customers and friends at home. More importantly, she has been a respected colleague who made our work more fun. Vice President of Communications Steve Mercer and all Amanda’s colleagues wish her well as she moves on to new opportunities back in her eastern Oregon home.

Director of Communications Position Open

USW has an opening for a Director of Communications in a hybrid work environment based in its Arlington, Virginia, Headquarters Office. The Director of Communications reports to the Vice President of Communications and helps USW fulfill its mission by working collaboratively to plan and implement producer-focused and market development communications across a range of media; by managing all digital communication touchpoints, including content creation, deployment across the website, social media, email marketing, and other media channels, and performance analysis; and other critical domestic and international communications activities. The job description and application process are posted here.

USDA/FAS Welcomes New Foreign Service Officers

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Deputy Secretary Dr. Jewel Bronaugh recently administered the oath of office to 14 USDA employees who will serve American agriculture internationally as members of the Foreign Service. The diplomats begin their careers as agricultural attachés at U.S. embassies and diplomatic missions on five continents, where they will monitor and report on global agricultural production and trade, identify export opportunities, enhance food security and support U.S. foreign policy objectives. Read more here.

Middle East, North Africa Trade Team in the U.S.

Matthew Weaver of Capital Press reported trade team of flour millers from Morocco, Algeria, Egypt and Oman began their tour of the U.S. last week in Idaho. “These are young flour millers, a young generation (representing) their family businesses,” said Tarik Gahi, assistant technical director for U.S. Wheat Associates in the Middle East and North Africa region, based in Casablanca, Morocco. “They are 22, 24, 25 years old, just out of the university and they are supposed to take the lead in the coming years.” The tour will allow the millers to become familiar with U.S. wheat classes, marketing and the entire wheat system compared to wheat from other origins, Gahi said. Read more here.

2022 Hard Spring Wheat and Durum Tour

The annual Wheat Quality Council Hard Spring Wheat Tour is scheduled for July 25 to 28, 2022. The tour will provide the first production estimate for the 2022 U.S. hard red spring and durum crops. Tour information and registration are posted here. Customers can follow the tour in real-time by following #wheattour22 on Twitter and keep up to date on the entire U.S. wheat harvest with the weekly USW Harvest Report.

Subscribe to USW Reports

USW publishes various reports and content available to subscribe to, including a bi-weekly newsletter highlighting recent Wheat Letter blog posts and wheat industry news, the weekly Price Report, and the weekly Harvest Report (available May to October). Subscribe here.

Follow USW Online

Visit our Facebook page for the latest updates, photos, and discussions of what is going on in the world of wheat. Also, find breaking news on Twitter, video stories on Vimeo, and more on LinkedIn.

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As an export market development organization, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) represents the interests of U.S. wheat farmers in overseas markets. We are happy to compete fairly with wheat farmers in other countries on the basis of functional quality and value. Yet, working for these hard-working farm families also gives us great empathy for wheat farmers everywhere.

As the U.S. winter wheat harvest rapidly progresses, our thoughts include Ukrainian farmers as they try to harvest their wheat amid the unimaginable challenges of an armed invasion of their lands. There is growing evidence that Russian forces are deliberately targeting ripe winter wheat fields. The Washington Post also reported that in recent fighting in the east devastated a large flour mill and grain elevator.

Failed Strategy

Targeting wheat fields and other agricultural infrastructure is also an attempt to demoralize the Ukrainian people, but that will be a failed strategy.

CNN and its reporter Ivan Watson recently showed why frontline Ukrainian wheat farmers vow never to give up.

“Military drone footage exclusively obtained by CNN shows Russian artillery pounding wheat fields, burning the summer harvest charcoal black,” Watson reported, as wheat farmers race to protect their crops. “Despite the threats, these brave farmers still bring in their harvest only to face another obstacle. [They cannot] sell wheat because the Russian military has blockaded Ukraine’s ports, so there is no way for this to be sold except at an enormous loss.”

German media company Deutsche Welle (DW) recently reported that Ukraine’s infrastructure minister accused Russia of “terrorism,” saying Moscow is “holding people all over the world hostage” by blocking the country’s grain exports. Putin wants to force the international community “to take off some of the sanctions and then the grain can get out,” he said.

A Ukrainian wheat farmer talks to CNN reporter Ivan Watson

Never Give Up. In spite of Russian strikes on his wheat fields, this Ukrainian farmer told CNN his country, its soldiers and the world need his crops. CNN Image.

Why We Keep Working

As a combine operates in the background, CNN’s Watson asked a Ukrainian wheat farmer to explain why he continues his work.

“Our soldiers are fighting and dying to get rid of these occupiers,” the wheat farmer said. “We need to feed our country, these soldiers, and help the whole world with our food. That is why we will keep working.”

The world is fortunate to have wheat farmers like this man and other Ukrainian farmers willing to do everything it takes to help feed us all.