Kansas wheat farmer Gary Millershaski summed up the 10-day Sub-Saharan Africa Board Team trade mission with a perfect sentence to describe U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) efforts on the African continent.

He said, “It’s not what we did yesterday, but it’s the knowledge we accumulate today to make us better understand how to deal with (the market) and make more sales tomorrow.”

Millershaski joined Ohio wheat farmer Bill Schroeder and Oklahoma wheat farmer RJ Parrish on the trip. The mission was led by USW Director of Programs Catherine Miller. The team was connected to millers and wheat buyers in South Africa and Nigeria by USW-Cape Town Programs and Marketing Specialist Domenique Opperman and USW Regional Director Chad Weigand. Among the stops was the PepsiCo flour mill in Malmesbury, South Africa. Next was the Premier mill in Durban, South Africa. On a tour of Premier, the USW team up with Shawn Thiele, Associate Director and Flour Milling and Grain Processing Curriculum Manager at the IGP Institute at Kansas State University. Thiele walked the team through wheat milling processes being used by millers in the market.

A long flight to Nigeria followed. There, the farmers met with millers who purchase U.S. wheat and toured facilities. Nigeria is an established customer and the U.S. has been one of the top wheat suppliers over the past decade. However, pricing has impacted exports in recent years.

USW’s Sub-Saharan Africa Board Team trip follows participation by Idaho wheat farmer and USW Vice Chairman Clark Hamilton in USDA’s first-ever U.S. agribusiness trade mission to Angola, another promising market in Africa.

Hear from the farmers to learn more about their experiences in South Africa and Nigeria in the short video below.


U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) staff across the world have had quite a busy year in 2023. Blessed in 2019 with additional funding from the Agricultural Trade Promotion (ATP) program but handicapped by pandemic restrictions, our teams have been playing “catch-up” with positive results.

The extra push helped USW conduct a record number of activities from trade teams and short courses to buyers’ conferences and board teams in 2023.

USW led a trade team of Nigerian and Kenyan wheat buyers on visits to farms and facilities in Kansas, North Dakota and Minnesota. The team was interested in learning about U.S. hard red winter (HRW), hard red spring (HRS) and hard white (HW) wheat.

USW led a trade team of Nigerian and Kenyan wheat buyers on visits to farms and facilities in Kansas, North Dakota and Minnesota. The team was interested in learning about U.S. hard red winter (HRW), hard red spring (HRS) and hard white (HW) wheat.

Fundamental Support

Along with technical support, market development activities are a fundamental part of USW’s work promoting U.S. wheat in overseas markets with funding from USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS) and its state wheat commission members. Some of the most popular activities conducted annually in the United States include trade teams and short courses. The year 2023 saw a continued uptick in these activities and an increase in the number of customers participating. USW’s reach remains global with over 42 countries represented in trade teams and short courses this year alone

In 2023, USW sponsored 16 trade teams to the United States – a record number of teams in the last 13 years. Prior to this year, USW hosted an average of 11 trade team visits per year. Not only did we break records in 2023, we also welcomed the first team of high-level Chinese buyers to the United States since 2014, and the first EU team since 2015.

USW's North Asia Board Team was made up of U.S. wheat farmers who traveled to the Philippines, Japan and South Korea to meet customers.

USW’s North Asia Board Team was made up of U.S. wheat farmers who traveled to the Philippines, Japan and South Korea in March to meet customers and learn how U.S. wheat is used by flour millers and bakeries in different markets.

Partner Short Courses

Trade and technical short courses hosted by USW partner organizations including Wheat Marketing Center, Northern Crops Institute, and IGP International are also popular activities with overseas customers. While the number of courses USW offered remained steady, 2023 saw the most customer course participants in the last 5 years. From sponsoring 75 participants in 2018 to 100 participants in 2023, USW offices continue to make in-person customer training a priority.

Miguel Galdos, USW Regional Director, South America, noted “this was most activities we have conducted in 40 years!”

Three buyers’ conferences also landed spots on the USW market activities calendar in 2023. The South and Southeast Asia Wheat Marketing Conference, Latin American Buyers Conference and North Asia Marketing Conference brought together customers from 7 different regions.

October and November 2023 kept the overseas offices busy with Crop Quality seminars. USW sent staff and U.S. industry experts across the world including Africa, Central America, Asia, Europe, South America, and the Middle East to share crucial information about the quality of 2023 U.S. wheat crops. Consultants, state administrators, farmers, and USW technical staff presented almost 30 seminars in 26 countries. All these seminars took place in-person with full teams of speakers. That has not happened since before 2018.

Looking Ahead

As the long-term funding from ATP ends, USW continues to promote U.S. wheat with funding from the Market Access Program, Foreign Market Development, and other FAS export market development programs with essential support from U.S. farmers. Looking ahead, USW is now applying for additional export promotion funding under a new FAS Regional Agricultural Promotion Program (RAPP) that, if awarded, will allow USW to maintain a higher level of trade and technical service for customers that add exceptional value to U.S. wheat imports.

By USW Director of Programs Catherine Miller


A team of farmers and state wheat commissioners is in the initial stages of a visit to three crucial Asian markets to represent the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Board of Directors, meet with customers of U.S. wheat and learn about changing consumer trends.

The 2023 USW North Asia Board Team arrived in the Philippines on Tuesday, Feb. 28. It will eventually move on to Japan and South Korea before returning to the United States March 10.

On the trip are Bob Delsing, of the Nebraska Wheat Board (NWB); Bill Flory, of the Idaho Wheat Commission (IWC); Keven Bradley, of the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee (MWBC); and Kent Kupfner, Executive Vice President of MWBC.

USW colleagues in Manila, Tokyo and Seoul have scheduled several meetings for the team with flour milling companies and bakers in each country. Other highlights of the trip include attending the prestigious FCBCi Bakery Fair in Manila, sessions with the Japan Flour Millers Association and U.S. Embassy Agricultural Affairs officials in Tokyo, and discussions with members of the Korea Flour Millers Industrial Association in Seoul.

The USW Board Team members recognize the importance of the three markets to U.S. wheat farmers.

Pride in Representing Farmers

“To be able to meet with millers and bakers and see how our wheat is being milled and blended to meet each baker’s satisfaction is special, and it’s a real honor to represent Nebraska and U.S. wheat,” said Delsing, who serves on USW’s Long Range Planning Committee and grows hard red winter (HRW) wheat on his family’s farm in northwestern Nebraska. “The Philippines, Japan and South Korea are among our largest customers, so meeting them face-to-face and getting their input and thoughts on the wheat we grow will be very valuable.”

Kupfner, a former wheat trader and grain company manager, is eager to get to know USW staff working in each of the markets. He also has a long list of questions for buyers and millers about things that can help U.S. wheat earn an even larger share in the markets.

“In the Philippines, for example, I’m interested in gaining insight into the specific end-products made with U.S. wheat and learn how we can increase use of wheat moved from the Pacific Northwest, especially hard red spring wheat,” said Kupfner. “In Japan, I want to understand cultural changes and see if there is more opportunity for U.S. wheat? Korea imports U.S. hard red spring, hard red winter and soft white, but there is competition from Canada and Australia, so I want to explore what we can do to maintain and grow our share of that market.”

Returning the Favor

Flory, a member of the USW Board of Directors and current Chair of the Wheat Marketing Center board, expects the team to make a compelling case that customers drive decisions of the farmers who grow wheat.

“In a highly competitive world, the U.S. producer needs to have an understanding of and relationship with the customer,” explained Flory. “We do this by inviting them to our farms, universities, and shipping ports. And we reciprocate by visiting them at their mills and bakeries.”

Following is a short video from the USW Board Team’s first stop in Manila, Philippines.

Stay tuned for regular updates from the 2023 USW North Asia Board Team.

By USW Director of Communications Ralph Loos