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.
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.
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.
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