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U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is sad to report that our former colleague Ms. Linda de Hoog (center, photo above) passed away May 9, 2022. She retired in 2019 from her position as Regional Program and Administrative Manager for USW’s European Region in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Portrait of Linda de Hoog“Linda loved her work, her family and her friends,” said USW Regional Vice President Ian Flagg (left, photo above). “She passed away at home with the people she loved most at her side.”

Linda held the distinct honor of being USW’s longest-serving colleague, having joined what was then Great Plains Wheat in June 1971. Linda had been a faithful and diligent worker on behalf of U.S. wheat farmers for more than 48 years. At her retirement, she said representing them and being part of the USW family was the best career decision she ever made.

“I believe Linda was the only colleague whose father had to co-sign her original employment agreement because she was only 17 years old,” said USW President Vince Peterson (right, photo above), who served with Linda for 11 years as Regional Director in Rotterdam. “She was a wonderful person, and I join all my colleagues in sharing our deepest sympathy with Linda’s husband Dennis and their family and friends.”

 

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The passing of former U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) colleague Fred Schneiter at the age of 94 in January 2022 prompted USW to look back on a remarkable and pioneering career.

From his start with Western Wheat Associates (WWA) in the early 1960s through his retirement from USW in 1991, Schneiter’s work helped establish a now thriving demand for wheat foods that has benefitted three generations of wheat farmers and their Asian customers.

From the Sub-Continent to China

As a WWA Director in Manila, Philippines, Fred Schneiter hired Ms. Fleur Noeth as an administrative assistant in 1967. She remembers that Schneiter started with WWA in Pakistan before moving to the Manila office. Noeth said he directed U.S. wheat export market development across Southeast and parts of North Asia before becoming a Director in WWA’s Taipei office in 1970. After WWA and Great Plains Wheat merged to form USW, Schneiter accepted a director for China based in Hong Kong in 1981.

Photos shows Fred Schneiter and children in Hong Kong in the early 1960s

A Walk in Hong Kong. In this photo found on Instagram, Fred Schneiter and his children are seen walking near Nathan Road and Carnarvon Road in 1964 Hong Kong.

Opening a New Wheat Market

Steven M. Graham served as Administrator of the Kansas Wheat Commission from 1981 to 1995. He shared the following story about Schneiter’s work with USW colleagues building a market for U.S. wheat in the Peoples Republic of China.

“USW Director Fred Schneiter handled China operations from Hong Kong as, at that time, the organizational realities – logistics, communications, transportation, support functions and such – in China were about where they were in the United States in the 1930s,” Graham wrote. “USW’s Rick Callies provided daily firsthand assistance in Beijing.”

Graham added that Schneiter’s USW colleagues helped create the Sino-American Baking School in Guangzhou and a flour milling school in Beijing.

“Schneiter and Callies … worked hard to open this relatively new and potentially huge wheat market,” Graham said.

Changing Perceptions

In addition to Callies, Schneiter’s retired colleagues who helped build this important but challenging market included Ms. Pansy Lam and Matt Weimar. Schneider himself shared this observation about wheat market development in his post-retirement writings.

“In 1991, I journeyed by train just across the border from Hong Kong to Shenzhen to participate in the opening of the first McDonald’s outlet in the People’s Republic of China. Marketing experts were awed to find the entire week’s inventory sold out in less than three hours. Within weeks that McDonald’s had become one of Shenzhen’s top tourist attractions. The acceptance of properly prepared and correctly marketed hamburgers illustrates how – by identifying a … consumer attitude [that can be changed] and working aggressively toward improved quality – wheat foods have become a staple in Asia’s more developed countries.”

Fostering Instant Noodle Industry

Another one of this team’s significant achievements was helping establish a market for instant noodles in China. That effort included working closely with Chinese government agencies to create a pilot instant noodle plant in Shanghai that served as a training center for Chinese companies and workers.

Photo shows former USW staff Fred Schneiter and Winston Wilson with a U.S. government and Chinese officials at the opening of an instant noodle pilot plant in Shanghai, China, in the 1980s.

Joining Hands. The caption for this USW archival photo from the 1980s at an instant noodle pilot plant in Shanghai, China, identifies, from left: Winston Wilson, USW President; Seeley Lodwick, U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture for International Affairs and Commodity Programs; Fred Schneiter, USW Vice President for China; and Zhang Yu Wen, Deputy Director, Shanghai Municipal Feed Bureau.

Following his long and successful USW career, Schneiter applied for an early reporting job with the East Oregonian newspaper and a journalism degree from the University of Oregon to write a book about how Westerners can successfully work with the Chinese and a cookbook titled “A Taste of Old Hong Kong.” A 2014 East Oregonian article about that cookbook said Schneiter was descended from a “pioneer wheat family” in Umatilla County, Oregon.

Legacy of Commitment

In many ways, Fred Schneiter represented the legacy of commitment from generations of U.S. farm families, the U.S. government, and the people who have represented them to build overseas markets. That legacy continues worldwide through USW’s 13 overseas and two domestic offices.

Photo shows USW staff Rick Callies, Pansy Lam and Fred Schneiter at a dinner in China in 1985

USW Colleagues. Now retired colleagues who worked together to help build demand for U.S. wheat in China are Rick Callies (left), Pansy Lam, and Fred Schneiter in  1985.

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During this 2021 holiday season, all of us at U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) take time to reflect upon the good things we have … like our partnership with our friends at home and abroad. We appreciate working with you and hope that the holidays and the coming year will bring you happiness and success.

2021 holiday schedule

Please contact your local USW office for holiday schedules.

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U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) recently launched its renovated website, www.uswheat.org, with an updated look, improved organization and an expanded Crop Quality section including unique, individual pages for each of its six wheat classes.

“The pandemic has highlighted challenges and changes in how people communicate and consume information across the globe,” said USW Director of Communications Amanda Spoo, who supervised the update. “So, as we adapt, it is important that our outreach continues to reflect the reliable service our customers have come to expect from U.S. Wheat Associates and the long-standing trust they have in U.S. farmers. The new website maintains its strong focus on the importance of the U.S. wheat farmers we represent and provides customers expanded access to the vital information and resources they need when making their purchasing decisions.”

Crop Quality Focus

The expansion of the site’s original Crop Quality section includes unique, individual pages for all six wheat classes and the existing Harvest Report. Users can access these new pages via the “Crop Quality” tab in the main menu across the top of the website. This section provides users with general wheat class information and additional detailed information about the 2021 U.S. wheat crop. In addition to access to the full 2021 USW Crop Quality Report, available in seven languages, users can access individual regional class reports, an overview of U.S. wheat inspection practices, and more.

U.S. wheat crop quality website

Other Highlights

  • The Newsroom features our new home base for USW’s blog “Wheat Letter,” news releases, original video content and more.
  • Market Information is home to a familiar set of reports, including the popular Price Report, the Price Charting Tool, Supply and Demand and Commercial Sales.
  • Working with Buyers describes the type of activities USW conducts with its customers, the six U.S. wheat classes and their uses, wheat industry terms, as well as U.S. wheat grade and non-grade factors. The Ask the Expert page allows site visitors to confidentially seek answers to questions about contract specifications, wheat quality, milling and end-product uses, and flour quality. Included in this section is access to our interactive U.S. wheat export supply system map.
  • The Office Locations section, focused on USW’s 15 office locations and the countries they serve, was expanded to provide more information and resources for customers based on the needs of that region and direct access to local USW representatives.

Other important sections of the site include Policy, Who We Represent and Our Story.

Learn more about USW and its mission here.

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Dr. Craig Morris

Dr. Craig Morris.

Earlier this week, on Monday, October 25, 2021, the U.S. wheat industry lost a highly respected colleague. Dr. Craig Morris was the director of the Western Wheat Quality Laboratory in Pullman, Wash., for more than 30 years, influencing the quality of wheat in the Pacific Northwest (PNW).

Morris had a significant impact on the region’s wheat breeding program, the Wheat Quality Council and outreach to the overseas milling industry. Everyone knew “Craig” because he was passionately engaged in whatever meeting or wheat event he was attending. Craig was most at home when he was talking about wheat and its magical quality and versatility.

Earlier in 2021, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) asked Morris to take overseas buyers on a virtual tour of the Washington State University Plant Growth Facility as part of the PNW Wheat Quality Summit. He was in his element, passionately explaining how the 49,000 square foot facility would revolutionize wheat breeding and assuring that PNW farmers would have the highest quality wheat in the world. Most notably, Morris was a steadfast promoter of soft white wheat quality through the Wheat Quality Council, helping to include overseas wheat buyers in the variety evaluation process.

Dr. Craig Morris in 2017 with a Korean milling team

In 2017, Dr. Craig Morris (pictured center) led a blind udon noodle sampling with a Korean milling team to highlight the U.S. soft white wheat variety (Ryan) and a soft durum variety that Craig bred himself.

The wheat family around the world will deeply miss him.

By Steve Wirsching, USW Vice President and West Coast Office Director

Header Photo Caption: Dr. Craig Morris (pictured third from the left), previously traveled with USW for its annual Crop Quality seminars to Taiwan, Korea and Japan. USW’s Steve Wirsching said, “Everyone already knew Craig from their trade team visits to the Pacific Northwest, and he did a great job explaining the SW and Club wheat crop. Craig is pictured here during a trip to Korea in the middle with a big smile.”

 

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U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) will sadly say goodbye to our long-time colleague and friend Matt Weimar who is leaving his Singapore-based position as Regional Vice President for South Asia and Senior Advisor for Asia on Sept. 1, 2021, to pursue new interests.

USW President Vince Peterson notes that U.S. wheat producers have been well served by the export market development organization that they envisioned and created decades ago.

“But the bottom line of that success has come from many decades of effort by people like Matt Weimar who have dedicated their entire careers to the service of our industry,” he said.

Several of Matt’s colleagues wanted to share the following thoughts and best wishes.

Vince Peterson, USW President

“Matt’s dedicated career has been an exemplary example of the ‘boots on the ground’ philosophy U.S. wheat producers embedded into their organization. That involves living in our customers’ regions, getting to know them and their business interests personally, and building a long-term, lasting level of confidence and trust. It allows USW to effectively promote wheat exports to these markets and constructively address any problem that may occur.”

Demonstrating Matt Weimar relationship with customers.

Matt Weimar, right, with Ms. Sisi Xu, Director, Sino-American Baking School, Guangzhou, China.

“Matt’s success for USW in Asia is well known, recognized and respected by our customers and state-side organizations and farmers he has worked with over these many years. He will be highly missed by all of us on both sides of the Pacific, but his legacy and friendship will endure. Matt leaves USW not only with our thanks, but also our very best wishes as he begins this next chapter in his life.”

Shirley Lu, USW Country Director, China

“Matt has been a mentor to me before and after I joined USW, and I am always grateful for his support and guidance. He led the team, taught, shared, and encouraged us. He has done so much for so long that it is impossible to single out individual things he achieved. His dedication to the Chinese market has laid the groundwork for the successes we have enjoyed recently. Our friends in China as wheat buyers, millers and food processors enjoyed the good relationship he built between the industry and USW, and they have been missing him a lot. Although sad to see him retiring, we are so happy that he will return to Hong Kong, where we can remain in touch!”

Several people at a baking school in Bangkok, Thailand.

USW Director and Washington farmer Gary Bailey, Matt Weimar, USW VP, Global Technical Services Mark Fowler and USW Bakery Consultant Roy Chung visiting the United Flour Mills (UFM) Baking and Cooking School in Bangkok, Thailand.

Jeff Coey, USW Regional Vice President, China and Taiwan

“In USW’s world, every overseas posting presents unique challenges, and there is no book that outlines what new colleagues need to know about any particular market. So, I was very lucky to have Matt as a predecessor in the greater China markets. When I had a question, and I had many, behind every answer was a background story, and you did not get the lesson without the story behind it. Fortunately for me, Matt was unstinting with his time and was always ready with the stories and lessons.”

Matt Weimar with colleagues at a China food trade show.

Janice Mattson, Past USW Chairperson and Montana wheat farmer, Pansy Lam, Retired Associate Regional Director, China/Hong Kong, Matt Weimar, Peng Fei Zhong, Deputy General Manager, Guangdong Baiyan Grain & Oil Industrial Co., Ltd. retired USW President Alan Tracy, and Philip Zhou, President, Sino-American Baking School, attended the China International Baking Industry Expo in Shanghai in 2011.

“Besides his embodiment of ‘institutional knowledge,’ Matt had built many strong relationships as he conducted trade service and technical support for customers year by year over decades. Whether it be with growers, mills, traders or staff, Matt set a great example for me and for the others who worked with him. I will always be grateful for his support and wish him well in whatever adventures come next.”

Joe Sowers, USW Regional Vice President, South Asia (effective Sept. 1, 2021)

“After a long and productive career with USW, I’d like to congratulate Matt on his immense and lasting impact, guiding offices and personnel and managing operations across much of the Asia Pacific region. During his tenure in South and Southeast Asia, Matt quickly built strong and meaningful relationships with key players, gaining their trust, and helping businesses thrive and grow. His success is evidenced by U.S. wheat sales increasing at a rate and scale unparalleled anywhere in the world during his time in the region. Matt led successful marketing efforts with his unique and energetic enthusiasm for initiating innovative programs. All of us in the Singapore and Manila offices wish him the best in his future endeavors.”

A group of men in a wheat field.

Matt Weimar (left) travelled often back to the United States with regional trade teams. Here, he is with a Thailand milling team at Bailey Farms in Whitman County, Washington. Glen Squires, CEO, Washington Grain Commission (right) joined the team in 2019.

Glen Squires, Executive Director, Washington Grain Commission

“Congratulations Matt on your exemplary years of enthusiastic service to the U.S. wheat farmer. Matt was the first USW overseas employee I met as we touched down in Hong Kong on board team travel with Rick Callies (retired). Since that time Matt has always been a go-to person for insight, expertise and guidance about various markets. His relationships and efforts with millers/buyers and foreign government officials, along with knowledge of all things China and subsequently South Asia have provided detailed value to us all. No one can hold a candle to Matt’s unbelievable memory, attention to detail and knowledge of individual people and companies. Matt, on behalf of the Washington Grain Commission, thank you for all you have done to help expand and solidify the use of U.S. wheat in oversea markets.”

Matt, from all of us at USW, 再见, 祝你好运, 亲爱的朋友.

Photo of Matt Weimar

In the photo at the top of this page, USW colleagues joined Matt Weimar at a 2014 event celebrating the 30th anniversary of long-time educational partner the Sino-American Baking School in Guangzhou, China. Left to right: Shirley Lu, Country Director, China; Kaiwen Wu, Marketing Specialist, China; the late Ronald R.L. Lu, who served as Country Director, Taiwan; Pansy Lam, Retired Associate Regional Director, China/Hong Kong; Steve Mercer, Vice President of Communications; Sophia Yang, Past Asian Products/Nutrition Technologist, Taiwan; Mike Miller, Past USW Chairman and Washington wheat farmer; Matt Weimar; Peter Sutter, baking consultant; and Andy Zhao, retired Country Director, China.

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U. S.  Wheat Associates (USW) colleagues and many friends in Taiwan were very sad to learn that retired USW Country Director Ron Lu passed away July 23, 2021, in Taipei at the age of 73. Our most sincere sympathy goes out to Ron’s family and friends.

Ron Lu at CGPRDI with bakery students

In 2016, Ron Lu talked with Taiwanese bakery students at the China Grain Products Research Institute (CGPRI), which he served as Chairman. This photo was taken during a joyous celebration marking 50 years of representation in Taiwan by USW and its legacy organization Western Wheat Associates.

Ron L. J. Lu retired from USW in 2017 after 33 years of service to U.S. wheat farmers and the Taiwan milling and baking industry he loved. In September 2016, USW shared these tributes to our colleague.

“Today, per capita wheat consumption in Taiwan has exceeded that of rice. It is a market that prefers the quality and reliability of U.S. wheat and Ron played key roles in that success,” said USW Regional Vice President Matt Weimar. “USW has a strong presence in Taiwan, across all sectors and entities in the food industry because of that dedication and commitment representing U.S. wheat farmers. By hosting so many public introductions of those new wheat food products with his customers and educational partners, Ron truly [was] the face of U.S. wheat in Taiwan.”

Ron Lu with USW colleagues and the owner of R Den Dessert Factory

Ron Lu (right) often brought visiting colleagues and U.S. wheat farmers to the delightful R Den Dessert Factory in Yilan City, Taiwan. Here, USW Regional Vice President Matt Weimar (left), Past USW Chairman and Ritzville, Wash. wheat farmer Mike Miller visit with R Den proprietor Lai Wen-dian.

Lu joined USW in 1983 as a technical specialist and was appointed country director in 2004. During his tenure, Lu worked directly with end users and importers to help them strengthen commercial links with U.S. export companies through trade servicing, technical assistance and promotional activities. From 2007 to 2009, Lu served as the chairman of the China Grain Products Research and Development Institute (CGPRDI). During his USW career, he has facilitated countless customer and trade team visits to the United States, including the biennial Agricultural Trade Goodwill Mission during which the Taiwan Flour Mills Association (TFMA) traditionally signs letters of intent to purchase U.S. wheat during the following two marketing years.

Ron Lu and Taiwan team at the Wheat Marketing Center, Portland, Ore., in 2013.

Ron Lu (left) often travelled to the United States during his 33 years with USW, hosting Taiwanese flour miller trade teams like this one in 2013 outside the Albers Mill Building headquarters of USW West Coast Office, the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) and Oregon Wheat Commission. This photos is from a tribute to Ron from his colleague and friend Gary Hou (right), who was WMC’s Technical Director at the time and is now Managing Director, Flour Business Unit, SPC Group, Korea.

“Over many years, Ron added value to every level of USW’s work in Taiwan — from improving and creating the finest wheat food products for consumers to strengthening the long-standing trade relationship between Taiwan and the United States,” said USW President Vince Peterson. “Through his steady efforts and successes, he made immeasurable contributions to both the wheat food industry in Taiwan and the U.S. wheat production and export industries.”

Ron Lu at a 2011 media event celebrating the development of healthy bread products for the Taiwanese people.

In his position as USW Country Director, Ron Lu (second from right above) worked closely with the Taiwan milling and baking industry to help develop and promote new wheat products made primarily with flour from imported U.S. wheat. Today, per capita consumption of wheat food exceeds rice.

 

 

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U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is excited that so many people around the world have seen the new film titled “Wholesome: The Journey of U.S. Wheat,” which had its premiere on Jan. 12, 2021, on the USW Facebook page. The film is also available for viewing online on Vimeo at https://bit.ly/WholesomeTheJourneyofUSWheat.

USW produced the 23-minute film in cooperation with the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service and Federal Grain Inspection Service, state wheat commissions, local elevators and export elevators. It is now available to USW’s 13 overseas offices and is the foundation of USW’s messages to world wheat buyers and users about U.S. wheat export quality throughout 2021.

“The people at every step of U.S. wheat’s journey to export featured in the film tell their own stories about how they thoughtfully produce new varieties, care for the land and the crop, and handle the wheat responsively to ensure it meets customer needs,” said USW Vice President of Communications Steve Mercer. “Functional quality is a crucial part of the reliable U.S. wheat supply and the people play such an important role in maintaining quality, so we wanted them to help remind our customers about why U.S. wheat is so valuable.”

USW has also produced individual short subject programs covering chapters featured in the film. Each of these programs will be available for viewing on the USW website.

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

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

Sonia Muñoz and Luisa Tornero

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

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

1981 USW Crop Quality Seminar

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

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

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

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

USW Santiago colleagues in 1994

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

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

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

USW program staff visiting headquarters in 2005

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

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

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

Sonia Muñoz with several members of her family.

Sonia Muñoz with several members of her family.

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

 

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During this season, all of us at U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) take time to reflect upon the good things we have … like our partnership with our friends at home and abroad. We appreciate working with you and hope that the holidays and the coming year will bring you happiness and success.

USW Headquarters and West Coast Offices will be closed on Dec. 24 and 25 and on Dec. 31 and Jan. 1. The USW Commercial Sales Report will be not be published December 24th or 31st. This report will resume its normal weekly schedule on January 7, 2021. The USW Price Report will not be published December 25th or January 1st. This report will resume its normal weekly schedule on January 8, 2021. USW Wheat Letter email updates will resume its bi-weekly schedule on January 7, 2021.