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 USW Price Report will not be published on Dec. 27. USW Commercial Sales will not be published the week of Dec. 23.

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


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


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.










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

Ady Redondo.


The announcement from the U.S. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) on June 7 that genetically engineered (GE) wheat plants were discovered growing in an unplanted (fallow) field in Washington State came with many emotions for wheat farmers, their domestic and overseas customers and for those of us who work on behalf of U.S. farmers.

We know there is frustration over why and how this has happened, and not for the first time. There is a sense of helplessness, not knowing how to resolve the situation. And there is plenty of concern about how it will affect your interests. We share the same emotions with farmers, customers and colleagues.

We also hope you find reassurance from an independent resource like APHIS that there is no indication wheat from these plants has entered commercial supplies nor the food system, and that detailed U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigations found no human or animal health risks from the GE wheat that was last tested about 15 years ago.

Respectfully, our customers have a right to take an abundance of caution related in this matter. Korea’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries are expecting an identification of the specific GE trait, known as an “event,” in the wheat plants identified in Washington State. Our organization requested the same information and urged officials to complete their testing, reach conclusions and provide those results to our customers as quickly as possible.

APHIS had confirmed the plants in this situation have a GE event for resistance to glyphosate but at the time had not yet identified the specific event. Identification is important because Korean and Japanese government agencies have been testing all imported U.S. wheat for two glyphosate resistant events since 2013. That testing had never identified those two traits in about 30 million metric tons of U.S. wheat.

We want to assure you that U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and every stakeholder in this situation has been and will continue taking all appropriate actions to ensure that U.S. wheat, wheat flour and wheat foods remain safe, wholesome and nutritious for people, and in animal feed, around the world.

Nothing is more important to the U.S. wheat industry than the trust we have earned with customers at home and around the world by providing a reliable supply of high-quality wheat.

We thank you all for your reasonable and patient approach to this unfortunate situation.



As it did last year, a cool, wet spring has delayed the start of the 2019/20 U.S. winter wheat harvest. Progress may be slow, but the new crop harvest is coming. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported on May 5 that wheat was maturing in South Texas while farmers in the state’s Coastal Bend area were waiting for drier conditions to start harvest.

You can monitor progress by subscribing now to the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Harvest Report, a key component of USW’s international technical and marketing programs. It is a resource that helps customers understand how the crop situation may affect basis values and export prices.

Harvest Report is published every Friday afternoon, Eastern Daylight Time, throughout the season with updates and comments on harvest progress, crop conditions and current crop quality for hard red winter (HRW), hard red spring (HRS), soft white (SW), durum and soft red winter (SRW) wheat classes.

USW also includes links in the email to additional wheat condition and grading information, including the U.S. Drought Monitor, USDA/NASS Crop Progress and National Wheat Statistics, the official FGIS wheat grade standards and USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report.

To subscribe to the Report as well as USW’s weekly (export) Price Reports and the “Wheat Letter” e-newsletter, click here, or visit the home page and click on the green “Subscribe” button near the top right of the page (see below).

USW also publishes the report in Spanish which is posted here at Harvest Reports, Price Reports, Wheat Letter, Commercial Sales and World Wheat Supply & Demand Report are also all posted online at

Follow along on social media with the hashtag #wheatharvest19.


U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is sad to share news that our former colleague Muyiwa Talabi passed away Feb. 5, 2019, in Lagos, Nigeria, after a prolonged illness.

“Muyiwa Talabi was employed by USW as the Marketing Coordinator for Nigeria from 1994 until his early retirement for health reasons in 2016,” said Regional Director for Sub-Saharan Africa Gerald Theus. “During his 22 years at USW, he worked closely and tirelessly with the USW Cape Town office in preparing the many market development programs targeting Nigeria. He opened the USW sub-office in Lagos in 2001 and managed its overall operations until his retirement. Working closely with the late Jim McKenna, USW Technical Milling Consultant for the Sub-Saharan Region, Muyiwa helped pave the way for U.S. farmers to become the dominant wheat suppliers to Nigeria and its 189 million people. It was under Muyiwa’s watch that hard red winter (HRW) become the preferred wheat in Nigeria and the largest HRW export market in the world for six years running. Muyiwa also recommended and implemented strategic market development programs that encouraged Nigerian flour mills to import all six classes of U.S. wheat.”

Muyiwa (second from right), joined a team of flour millers from Nigeria to Kansas and the IGP Institute in 2012. His work in Nigeria helped pave the way for U.S. farmers to become the dominant wheat suppliers to the west African nation.

Muyiwa brought a deep knowledge of Nigerian business and culture to USW. Educated in public administration and international relations at the University of Lagos, he spent two years with the Lagos government as an administrative officer, leaving to take a private sector position with Kingsway Stores, a supermarket chain owned by Unilever. Prior to attending university, Muyiwa served for two years in Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps. For six years before joining USW, he worked for USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service as an agricultural specialist at the U.S. Consulate in Lagos.

2015 Nigerian Trade Delegation visit to Darrell Davis’s farm in South Dakota.

Everyone who knew and worked with Muyiwa can recall his consistently positive outlook and politeness in every interaction. He is survived by his wife and two sons. All of us at USW will miss him and we share our sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Muyiwa Talabi











Immigrants: we get the job done.” – Lin-Manuel Miranda, from the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton!”


Two U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) colleagues recently celebrated very special milestones: in December, Fiscal Officer Kurt Coppens and Administrative Assistant Nada Obaid became naturalized citizens of the United States.


“Wheat Letter” asked Kurt, who was a Belgian citizen, and Nada, who was an Iraqi citizen, to share their unique paths to this life changing event.


USW Fiscal Officer Kurt Coppens and Administrative Assistant Nada Obaid hold their certificates proclaiming them citizens of the United States of America, December 2018.


“My emigration to the United States started when I was a teenager when I moved with my family to New York for my father’s profession,” said Kurt Coppens. “After having lived in West Africa and a relatively small city in France near Geneva, Switzerland, and never having lived in the country of my birth and nationality, I was in awe of New York. It was easy for a city of that size and with that much energy to make an impact on anyone, let alone a teenager. After having spent five years in New York and moving back to that same small city in France, I decided I wanted to move back to the United States after college in France. But I transferred to a university in Washington, D.C. after my second year. Since then I have only been away from Washington, in Paris, for two years.


“Having lived and worked in Washington for 19 years, it made sense and seemed like a natural progression to move from being a ‘green card’ holder to becoming a citizen. I have always admired the generosity, enthusiasm and positivity of the American people, and I prefer working in that kind of environment. This also gives me an opportunity to vote and have a say in the city where I have been living for quite some time.”


“I was working with the Iraqi Grain Board, the government buying agency, before the conflict there began in 2003,” said Nada Obaid. “I then went to work for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) through 2004 and for the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service from 2005 to 2006. At that time, especially in 2005, many Iraqis lost their lives for working there. When the U.S. government granted a special immigrant visa program for Iraqis, I applied and thank God I did. Living in peace is a great thing that I thank God for every day.


“The United States is a great country; lots of opportunities are there! I had never thought in my whole life that I would come one day to this great place. It was a great opportunity that I would never have missed.  Before coming, I admit I was kind of worried of the new life waiting for me here, knowing that I would be by myself. But my trust in God, the support I got from friends I knew before coming here and ending up in such great work place like USW helped me a lot to have a comfortable life here. Truly, [USW colleagues] are my family here!


“I trust that U.S. citizenship will open new doors for me in all aspects of my life. I immediately applied for a U.S. passport after the naturalization ceremony. It is a great honor for me to carry U.S. citizenship!”


The international diversity among our colleagues is one of the factors that make working at USW such a rewarding experience. We are all happy these hard-working, cheerful people share our dedication to the farmers we represent and their overseas customers, and we offer them warm congratulations on becoming U.S. citizens!