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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 The USW Commercial Sales Report will be not be published December 24th or 31st.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 The USW Price Report will not be published December 25th or January 1st.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.

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U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) recently learned that Nelson C. Denlinger, who led trade policy work for USW from 1981 to 2006, passed away in September 2020. A native of Lancaster, Penn., Nelson had an interesting career first as a history teacher at the Choate School in Connecticut. In 1965, he joined the Neighborhood Youth Corps and USAID in Washington, D.C. He eventually joined former Sen. Hubert Humphrey’s staff and later became staff director of the Senate Agriculture Committee before joining USW.

Nelson C. Denlinger

USW asked former President Alan Tracy to share some memories of Nelson and his work.

“Nelson never tried to bring attention to himself, but he knew agricultural policy and was most effective behind the scene, representing farmer interests. He was a friend to all at USW and will be sorely missed.

“With our organization, Nelson did a great service to U.S. wheat farmers. He, along with other USW colleagues, was instrumental in discovering the bribery of Iraq and fraud of the United Nations (U.N.) Oil for Food Program by the Australian Wheat Board (AWB). It was Nelson who acquired AWB wheat contracts registered with the U.N. under that program, and it was his analysis of those contracts that demonstrated to us at USW that AWB gained status as Iraq’s only wheat supplier in return for overcharging the U.N. program and kicking back huge sums to the Saddam Hussein regime, violating program rules and Australian bribery laws.

“While USW was loudly criticized from many quarters for making that accusation public, and AWB denied it for nearly four more years, it eventually led to a U.N. investigation by former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker that showed AWB made payments over several years that were channeled to the Hussein regime. That in turn led to an Australian Royal Commission investigation that ultimately found AWB payed about 290 million Australian dollars of bogus “transportation fees.” As a result, AWB lost its monopoly over Australian grain marketing and, thus, its ability to administratively set export prices that undercut American farmers in world wheat markets. I don’t think that would have happened without Nelson’s work and the dogged persistence of USW colleagues thereafter.”

All of us at USW extend our sincerest sympathies to Nelson’s widow Ruth and his other family members.

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Throughout 2020, U.S. Wheat Associates has highlighted our 40th year in operation by celebrating all the dependable people who work tirelessly to make the United States the world’s most reliable wheat supplier. Most of all, we celebrate the people who purchase U.S. wheat to produce the highest quality food for people around the world.

As those of us in the United States celebrate our Thanksgiving holiday this week, the people who work for USW wish to say, “Thank You!” to our customers, in our native tongues. We hope that we can share this in person as soon as possible in the new year.

Please note that USW Headquarters and Portland offices will be closed for the holiday Nov. 26 and 27.

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By Jeff Coey, USW Regional Vice President for China and Taiwan

U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) staff and stakeholders often encounter embassy personnel while sharing information with the offices of ag affairs and USDA Agricultural Trade Offices (ATO) assigned to posts around the world. The overseas support of the U.S. State Department and USDA staff in markets with USW offices is essential to our mission to bring services and information to U.S. wheat buyers, wherever they may be. U.S. embassies and consulates are guarded by special U.S. Marine detachments who circulate on two- to three-year cycles to one of 181 posts around the world. Visitors to embassies will invariably pass through security that is handled primarily by local contractors. But every day at the final checkpoint, one or more U.S. Marines, usually dressed in fatigues, stand watch.

The U.S. Marine Corps was officially founded Nov. 10, 1775, and it has become customary in the 20th century to celebrate this founding wherever active duty Marines gather. Hong Kong, where USW also has an office, is no exception. USW was honored to donate the cake, made with U.S wheat flour, used in this year’s ceremony at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau. As USW Regional Vice President for China and Taiwan, I attended the ceremony and, accompanied by ATO Attaché Ms. Alicia Hernandez, thanked the Marines on behalf of U.S. wheat farmers (photo above).

Ceremonial cake made with U.S. wheat flour and donated by USW carries a shortened version of the U.S. Marine Corps motto in Latin, “Semper fidelis” translated to English as “Ever faithful.”

The Master of Ceremonies, the head of consulate security and a non-active-duty Marine himself, gave the history behind the cake ceremony and then played a video by the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General David Berger, featuring stories from U.S. Marine Corps veterans sharing memories from their time in service.

The cake was then brought forward in a procession to the Guest of Honor, Consul General Hanscom Smith, and cut with a ceremonial sword, as is tradition, and served first to Smith. The next person served was the oldest Marine in the room, a 57-year old non-active-duty Marine, who in turn served a slice to the youngest Marine in the room, a 24-year old corporal.

The cake is cut with a ceremonial sword by the commander of the U.S. Marine Corps detachment at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macau.

The first piece of ceremonial cake is served to the Guest of Honor, U.S. Consul General Hanscom Smith.

After the Consul General made concluding remarks that thanked, among others, U.S. wheat farmers for their contribution. The ceremony concluded with an acapella performance of the Marine’s Hymn and all guests were invited to enjoy the cake and beverages.

While we often see these soldiers during our work and travels, it is rare to have the chance to converse with and thank them for their service, since making small talk is not part of their job description. USW is happy for the opportunity to get to know at least one detachment of the U.S. Marine Corps that help us do our work, and to express our thanks for their work at posts all over the globe.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has asked colleagues in our Headquarters and West Coast Offices to work from home through March 31. Our overseas offices are also implementing individual plans to protect the health and well-being of our colleagues, their families and our customers.

We will continue to review our operational policies as needed with guidance from government officials in the United States and overseas.

Many formal wheat export market development activities, especially those that require travel, have been suspended. However, we plan to reschedule as many of them as possible.

In this unprecedented circumstance, we remain committed to fulfilling our mission. We encourage our customers and stakeholders to reach out to our colleagues by telephone, email or online communications apps. We remain ready to provide the information our customers need about U.S. wheat supplies or any market concerns that may arise.

Contact information for all of our offices are posted online at https://www.uswheat.org/about-us/office-locations/.

All of us at USW has been and will continue doing all we can to support our customers while taking care of our families and ourselves. Thank you for your patience as we navigate these uncharted waters together.

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Vince Peterson

President

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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. USW Price Report will not be published on Dec. 27. USW Commercial Sales will not be published the week of Dec. 23.

In the United States, the fourth Thursday in November is officially set aside as the country’s Thanksgiving holiday. As the holiday approaches, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) wants to express its sincere thanks to several colleagues who are moving on to new life paths by the end of 2019.

Three of our colleagues are retiring from full time positions with USW this year.

Ms. Linda de Hoog recently retired from her position as Regional Program and Administrative Manager for USW’s European Region in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Linda held the distinct honor of being USW’s longest serving colleague, having joined what was then Great Plains Wheat in June 1971. She has been a faithful and diligent worker on behalf of U.S. wheat farmers and says representing them and being part of the USW family was the best career decision she ever made. For her long service and fond friendship, all of us offer Linda our special thanks and best wishes.

Linda de Hoog

Mr. Gerald Theus is retiring from his current position as Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa in Cape Town, South Africa, on Dec. 31, 2019. A U.S. citizen, Gerald first worked in Africa representing the music industry, then joined Pioneer Hi-Bred Seeds International as a representative in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). He joined USW in 1992 and served for many years as Assistant Regional Director before being named Director in 2017. Thank you, Gerald, for your dedicated work over the years.

Gerald Theus

Ms. Mina El Hachimi is now serving a part-time role as Senior Administrative Consultant for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region based in Casablanca, Morocco. Mina joined USW in 1985 as executive assistant and held several positions in managing responsibilities throughout the years. She will continue to support both office management and export market development activities in the region.

Mina El Hachimi

In addition, Ms. Casey Chumrau is leaving her position as USW Marketing Manager for the South American Region in Santiago, Chile, to join the Idaho Wheat Commission in Boise, Idaho, as Communications Director and Associate Administrator. A Montana native, Casey joined USW in 2011 as Market Analyst in the Arlington, Va., Headquarters Office to monitor, analyze and report on U.S. and global wheat market trends. After four years in that position, Casey joined the experienced team representing U.S. wheat farmers in the growing South American region. We wish Casey all the best in her new position and are very glad she will remain a part of our industry.

Casey Chumrau

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In February 2019, U.S. Wheat Associates  (USW) announced that Mr. Kazunori “Rick” Nakano was joining the organization as Associate Country Director in Tokyo. Rick will become Country Director on September 30, 2019, when our colleague and friend Mr. Wataru “Charlie” Utsinomiya begins a well-earned retirement.

In that announcement, USW President Vince Peterson said Charlie’s sage counsel has guided “our efforts in Japan properly and effectively through the intricate business culture that accompanies any problem or opportunity there. Charlie’s successful stewardship will leave U.S. wheat interests in a strong position at a very important time in Japan.”

Charlie joined USW in May 2007 after working in grain trading management with Marubeni, including as Chairman of Columbia Grain, Inc. He also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Marubeni’s invested rice mill subsidiary, General Manager of the company’s soy processing division and Assistant General Manager of its food division among other positions over his 30-year career with Marubeni.

Charlie recently told his USW colleagues that he is happy his retirement is starting right after President Trump and Prime Minister Abe announced the trade deal that will keep U.S. wheat on equal footing with imported Australian and Canadian wheat.

“There are still some doors not yet opened,” Charlie told us. And while challenges remain, he said “good days will return and you can overcome the difficulties, I am sure. I hope our paths will cross again somewhere.”

We certainly hope so, too, Charlie, and we wish you a long and happy retirement.

Please read more about the transition in the USW Tokyo office here.

Mr. Wataru “Charlie” Utsunomiya

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More than 90 U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) staff, stakeholders and customers recently came together in Barcelona, Spain, at what USW President Vince Peterson called the best World Staff Conference (WSC) the organization has held in many years.

The conferences provide a rare but valuable opportunity for USW overseas and domestic staff to meet in person and share challenges and opportunities associated with the organization’s mission to develop, maintain and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.

The 2019 conference included general sessions with all participants and breakout sessions focused on “Proving the Value of U.S. Wheat.” To help bring that theme to life, USW offices brought local wheat foods to share with participants. In addition, many of the sessions also examined and celebrated the significant contribution of veteran USW staff (including special recognition for colleagues who will be retiring in the relatively near future) and welcomed the next generation of people working on behalf of U.S. wheat farmers.

USW wishes to thank the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service for their support of the 2019 WSC and our ongoing work around the world. And we thank our state wheat commission members, our board of directors and many presenters from outside the organization for their contribution to the conference.

In addition to the group photo at the top of this page, here are several scenes from the conference.

Barcelona provided a wonderful backdrop to three full days of activity and learning at the USW 2019 WSC.

 

Joao Amorin Faria of Cerealis Internacional, Portugal, adds a note of humor to his general session presentation on the wheat performance needs of end use customers at the 2019 WSC.

 

USW Regional Technical Director Peter Lloyd shares his respected knowledge with participants in a breakout session focused on identifying competitive advantages of U.S. wheat.

 

The wide range of wheat foods produced using at least some portion of flour from U.S. wheat classes shown here and below added a tasty perspective on the presentations and discussions from the 2019 USW World Staff Conference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), which represents the interests of U.S. wheat farmers in export markets, is pleased to announce that Mr. Adrian “Ady” Redondo recently joined the organization as a Bakery Technician in its Manila, Philippines, office.

USW Regional Vice President Joe Sowers said there is a strong connection between increased imports of U.S. wheat and the organization’s investment in technical milling and food production support, which is the role Redondo will play in the Philippines and across growing Southeast Asian markets.

“Our long-term effort to help customers improve their products and processes through technical support has helped established strong and consistent export markets for U.S. wheat farmers,” Sowers said. “We are expanding our technical support team in South Asia to provide similar returns. Ady will spend a lot of time working closely with our experienced technicians in the region, but his professional experience in food technology and interpersonal skills will serve him — and the wheat farmers we represent — very well in what we hope will be a long career with U.S. Wheat Associates.”

Born in the Philippines, Redondo earned a bachelor’s of science degree in food technology from the University of the Philippines in 2001. He went on to amass experience in quality assurance, research and development, production and sales in the thriving Philippines food and bakery industries. Most recently, Redondo was a key accounts manager with Ingredion Philippines, Inc., a global ingredient solutions company manufacturing starches, sweeteners, nutrition and biomaterial ingredients for food, pharmaceuticals and industrial applications.

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. wheat producers and its value for their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. USW maintains 15 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six U.S. wheat classes. For more information, visit the USW website at www.uswheat.org.

Ady Redondo.