Seventy-nine people participated in the 2018 edition of the biennial U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) North Asia Marketing Conference (NAMC) Aug. 26 to 28 in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia.
Top management from leading milling companies in Japan, Korea and Taiwan, as well as U.S. wheat producers, state wheat commission staff and industry partners gathered to discuss current market factors and trends, U.S. wheat industry activities and the 2018 U.S. wheat harvest. Topics from 21 different speakers included the Global Wheat Outlook, Producing More and Better Wheat in More Sustainable Ways, The Trump Trade Agenda, and The Southeast Asian Milling Industry.
Quality improvement was a reoccurring theme at this year’s conference.
“We want customers to know that we are continuing research and work toward quality improvement,” said Mark Fowler, USW Vice President of Overseas Operations, whose presentation focused on why U.S. wheat remains the best choice for North Asia customers. “It is something that U.S. wheat farmers believe in and continue investing in.”
USW Vice President and West Coast Office Director Steve Wirsching provided insight to how U.S. wheat quality continues to improve and was joined by Arron Carter, wheat breeder and Washington State University associate professor, in a discussion on plant breeding innovation. Carter also expanded on these topics in a popular, second presentation on how U.S. farmers are producing more and better wheat in more sustainable ways.
USW President Vince Peterson addressed the current trade policy climate, its current and future impact on the market and discussed what U.S. wheat industry is doing to support its customers.
“We understand and share our customer’s concerns on trade policy affecting the region,” said Fowler.
U.S. participants also provided a wide-ranging look at the supplies and quality of U.S. hard red winter (HRW), hard red spring (HRS) and soft white (SW) wheat classes during the conference.
Additional guest speakers and topics included: Kenji Takihara, Executive Officer, Nisshin Seifun Group, providing a Japan market outlook; Kuen-Ho Shih, President, CGPRDI, highlighting the development and prospect of the Taiwanese market; Chang Kyoon Park, Chairman, KOFMIA, providing a Korea market outlook; Michael Drury, Chief Economist, McVean Trading and Investments, LLC, discussing the U.S. market environment; Jeff McPike, Manager of Global Marketing, McDonald Pelz Global Commodities, highlighting mega trends in world grain markets and North American grain logistics infrastructure; Joong-Ho Ahn, Senior Managing Director, PanOcean, providing an overview of the world ocean freight market; Collin Watters, Executive Vice President, Montana Wheat & Barley Committee covering North American Grain Logistics Infrastructure; Matt Weimar, USW Regional Vice President, discussing the Southeast Asian milling industry; and Joe Sowers, USW Regional Vice President, providing a global wheat outlook.
“This conference is always an excellent opportunity to meet with buyers and millers from collectively the largest U.S. market,” said Glen Squires, CEO, Washington Grain Commission (WGC). “It allows us, the state wheat commissions, and U.S. Wheat Associates to hear and discuss important issues and to showcase efforts underway to better serve them as customers in providing high quality wheat.”
In addition to the wheat buyers from milling companies at the conference, U.S. wheat producers from seven states either attended or provided financial support for the conference. USW thanks the Idaho Wheat Commission, the Oregon Wheat Commission and the Washington Grain Commission for their sponsorship and additional participants from the Kansas Wheat Commission, Montana Wheat & Barley Committee, North Dakota Wheat Commission and Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program for their support to make the conference a continued success. Additional funding was provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
“It is important for us to be present and engaging with our customers and serve as a reliable resource,” said Fowler. “But it also means taking the time to listen to their needs and input.”
USW has posted presentations from the 2018 North Asia Marketing Conference on its website here: https://www.uswheat.org/marketing/2018-north-asia-marketing-conference/