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.


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.




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

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.


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).



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.


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.


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.


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

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.





Vince Peterson




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.