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On behalf of the dedicated U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) colleagues around the world and the wheat farmers we represent, we wish you all a joyous, healthy holiday season and a safe and prosperous 2023!

U.S. Office Schedule

In recognition of Christmas and New Year’s holidays, the USW Headquarters and West Coast Offices will be closed: Friday, Dec. 23; Monday, Dec. 26; Friday, Dec. 30; and Jan. 2, 2023. The USW Wheat Letter email update will resume its bi-weekly schedule on Jan. 5, 2023. The USW Price Report will not be published Dec. 30; the report will resume its weekly schedule on Jan. 6, 2023.

 

Holiday card with Season's Greetings and USW Holiday Office Schedule.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Latin America is facing great challenges, with extreme poverty and hunger being some of the most alarming. According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), nearly 60 million people suffer from hunger in the region. This is a continuing opportunity for organizations to collaborate and coordinate approaches and resources to advance food and nutrition security, economic growth, and sustainable development of each country, to reduce gaps amid population and climate change dynamics.

That is why U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC), U.S. Grains Council (USGC), and U.S. Rice Federation (USA Rice) recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to collaborate on contributing to the nutrition and food security of the region by promoting U.S. agricultural and food exports across Latin America.

Under this agreement, these four leading U.S. agricultural and food trade associations will undertake joint initiatives in areas of mutual benefit, leveraging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Market Development and Market Access Program by coordinating and/or combining resources.  Furthermore, this agreement is expected to make a positive impact in the region amid the latest global economic events such as interruptions to supply chains, the negative impact of Covid-19, and a changing climate.

U.S. and Chilean officials at the dedication of a joint USW-Universidad Mayor wheat quality and baking lab

Spirit of Collaboration. USW Santiago worked with Universidad Mayor to create a wheat flour analysis and baking laboratory dedicated in 2021 with guests including USDA FAS and Chilean officials (above). Such collaboration helped USW reach a memorandum of understanding with three other U.S. agricultural export organizations to work closely on regional nutrition and food security activities.

“We live in a global village. Collaboration and coordination can be instrumental to benefit Latin America families, our food company customers, and countries, as well as the U.S. food and agriculture industry. ” said Carlos Salinas, USSEC Regional Director for the Americas. “Together and equipped with sustainable, high quality and reliable food and agricultural products, we will implement specific, targeted and coordinated marketing initiatives to advance food and nutrition security, climate-forward solutions, and progress for people and communities.”

“In our region we have several customers that purchase two or three agricultural commodities from the United States and we believe that more communication with USDA cooperators will have a positive impact on our mission in South America,” said Miguel Galdos, USW Regional Director, South America.

 

 

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Thanksgiving in the United States is a time set aside as a national holiday the last Thursday of November each year.

To celebrate the holiday, the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Headquarters and West Coast Offices will be closed Thursday, Nov. 24 and Friday, Nov. 25. In addition, the next Wheat Letter newsletter will be sent December 1 but you can keep up with posts in the Wheat Letter Blog at https://www.uswheat.org/wheat-letter/.

In addition, the USW Price Report will not be published Friday, Nov. 25.

White dinner rolls in a basket to illustrate bread as part of the Thanksgiving meal

A basket of bread rolls is a part of most traditional U.S. Thanksgiving meals.

Thankful for Our Customers

A traditional U.S. Thanksgiving is centered around a meal that includes wheat foods like warm rolls and sweet pies with wheat flour crusts. As the people who produce, move, promote and bring high quality U.S. wheat to market gather with family and friends this holiday, USW colleagues will also give thanks for our customers around the world!

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U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) President Vince Peterson shared this message of condolence following the assassination of former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe:

“Our colleagues and the wheat grower directors of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) want to express our sorrow at the tragic loss of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“His leadership focused in part on creating a positive, beneficial trade environment for the Japanese people that including the successful completion of the U.S.-Japan bilateral agreement. That agreement helped protect our long and fruitful trade partnership of which we are so proud. In fact, past USW Chairmen Darren Padget and Doug Goyings were pleased to meet and shake hands with Prime Minister Abe and President Trump in September 2019 at the ceremony in New York City, N.Y., marking the beginning of negotiations on the U.S.-Japan trade agreement that entered into force in 2020.

“We send sincere condolences to our partners, friends and the Japanese people at this sad time.”

Image from September 2019 signing ceremony for U.S. Japan bilateral trade agreement

Witnessing the Start of Historic Trade Agreement. Former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (seated left), former President Trump welcomed U.S. cabinet members, Japanese officials and U.S. industry representatives including Past USW Chairmen Doug Goyings (standing, 4th from left) and Darren Padget (standing, 4th from right) as they officially kicked off negotiations for the  U.S.-Japan trade agreement in New York City in September 2019.

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U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) wishes all the best to our friend and colleague Janice Cooper as she retires as Managing Director of the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) at the end of the month. A long-time friend of the U.S. wheat industry, Cooper has had various roles putting her in direct contact with U.S. wheat farmers and customers.

Janice Cooper

Janice Cooper.

“Six years ago, we negotiated an employment contract, signed it and Janice was on the job within an hour at her first Wheat Marketing Center full board meeting. No drama, just a calculated approach to move ahead as managing director. Her background in lab services, market development and education made her perfectly suited to lead the industry’s Portland operation as the technical crossroads of the world,” said Bill Flory, WMC chairperson and Idaho wheat farmer. “Janice’s calm demeanor and consideration for employees, public and proprietary partners, and the board of directors have served us well. WMC is in a great position to continue enhancing growers’ profitability by better understanding U.S. wheat’s strengths and competitive standing worldwide because of our Janice Cooper.”

Before joining the Wheat Marketing Center in 2015, Cooper spent six years as the Executive Director of the California Wheat Commission and earlier managed the California Association of Wheat Growers. In addition to her experience in the wheat industry, Cooper has a broad background in business development and trade policy in the banking, high tech and renewable energy sectors. Cooper was also a member of the Grain Industry Advisory Committee, the private sector group appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to advise the Federal Grain Inspection Service on its programs and priorities.

Located in the historic Albers Mill Building in Portland, Ore., WMC is a research and educational bridge between U.S. wheat farmers and their customers, dedicated to linking quality wheat and quality end products. In April 2022, Mike Moran joined WMC as its new executive director, giving him three months of overlap with Cooper to ensure a smooth transition

“I first had the pleasure to meet Janice when she was with the California Wheat Commission, and our paths were destined to cross again after she took the helm at WMC. In both roles, I have appreciated her counsel and her passion for the wheat industry, and farmers in particular,” said WMC Executive Director Mike Moran. “As I have had the opportunity to walk beside Janice these last few months, I am struck by the depth and breadth of the relationships she has developed throughout the wheat world. I am pleased to be following in her footsteps. The legacy she has built inspires me to honor that commitment to ensuring that U.S. wheat farmers and the fruits of their labor remain the quality choice for customers worldwide. I am proud that I can call her both mentor and friend.”

“Janice has helped guide WMC through an unprecedented time of global uncertainty, and her steady leadership has been an asset to both WMC and the industry at large,” said WMC Technical Director Jayne Bock. “While we are sad to see her go, we’re pleased that she has helmed a transition that sets a new path for Mike Moran and WMC going forward. We wish her all the best as she returns to California to spend more time with her family.”

“Janice Cooper’s friendly, outgoing nature and intellectual curiosity gave her the ability to make foreign guests and wheat producers alike feel welcome and included at the Wheat Marketing Center,” said USW Vice President and West Coast Office Director Steve Wirsching. “She brought superior management skills and calm leadership that allowed everyone around her to reach their full potential. She was able to resolve conflicts equitably and move the organization forward. We are all sad to see her leave.”

Janice, thank you for your service to U.S. wheat farmers.

Wheat Marketing Center staff with USW technical experts.

Technical Training. Dr. Jayne Bock, Wheat Marketing Center Technical Director, discusses baguette qualities with David Oh, USW Seoul; Adrian Redondo, USW Manila; and WMC Managing Director Janice Cooper in March during a core competency training session.

 

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. Janice Cooper is pictured third from the left.

 

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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.