Dependable People: A Spotlight on the Nebraska Wheat Board
For 40 years, U.S. wheat farmers have supported U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) efforts to work directly with buyers and promote their six classes of wheat. Their contributions to state wheat commissions, who in turn contribute a portion of those funds to USW, qualifies USW to apply for export market development funds managed by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. Currently, 17 state wheat commissions are USW members and this series highlights those partnerships and the work being done state-by-state to provide unmatched service. Behind the world’s most reliable supply of wheat are the world’s most dependable people – and that includes our state wheat commissions.
Member: Nebraska Wheat Board
USW Member since 1980
Location: Lincoln, Neb.
Classes of wheat grown: Hard Red Winter (HRW), Hard White (HW), Hard Red Spring (HRS)
USW Leadership: Ervain J. Friehe, 1986/97 Chairman; Daniel Gerdes 1997/98 Chairman; Dan Hughes, 2013/14 Chairman.
The mission of the Nebraska Wheat Board is to increase both domestic and foreign consumption of wheat and wheat food products through marketing and research, as well as to help develop and maintain both domestic and international export markets for the Nebraska wheat producer. The Nebraska Wheat Board will accomplish this by investing the wheat check-off in research, international and domestic marketing, policy development, publicity and education. The Nebraska Wheat Board was one of the first state wheat commissions in existence. The Board has paved the way for trade delegations, international baking schools, national policy reform and the establishment of USW. Today, Nebraska Wheat continues to improve research, influence international and domestic trade policy and promote the wheat crop through education and consumer outreach. This year, the Nebraska Wheat Board celebrates 65 years and would like to thank all of our domestic and international customers for their continued support.
Why is export market development important to Nebraska wheat farmers and why do they continue to support USW?
Of the wheat produced in Nebraska each year, 50 percent is exported through the Pacific Northwest or the Gulf of Mexico or by rail to Mexico. Nebraska hosts one to two USW trade delegations each year from all over the world. Through these trade delegations, U.S. wheat customers can see how the crop is produced in a healthy, sustainable way. Likewise, the farmers learn what their customers want and how they can adopt practices to meet the growing demand. USW is at the forefront of overseas development. The network of people that promote USW is vast and their enthusiasm for promoting U.S.wheat continues to develop markets for our farmers’ product. With so much of our wheat reaching overseas customers, it is extremely important for Nebraska’s wheat farmers to support USW’s export market development.
How have Nebraska wheat farmers recently interacted with overseas customers?
Even though these unprecedented times have limited travel and canceled conferences, Nebraska Wheat has put international relations as our top priority. In place of hosting trade delegations, the Nebraska Wheat team is producing video of locations in the state that each delegation would typically visit. From highlighting the research done at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln (UNL), witnessing how grain is inspected at the elevators, and capturing the beauty of wheat harvest across the state. Nebraska Wheat Board members look forward to sharing these videos around the world and then visiting with customers to answer questions after they have “visited” each tour stop. Along with these videos, each week the Nebraska Wheat office sends reports to international offices and past trade delegation visitors to keep them updated on Nebraska wheat progress.
What is happening lately in Nebraska that overseas customers should know about?
- UNL wheat breeder Dr. Stephen Baenziger was recently awarded a $650,000 grant for hybrid wheat research.
- USDA recently announced that it is hiring an additional small grains geneticist to be located at UNL to focus on Fusarium head blight research.
- Harkamal Walia, UNL Associate Professor, discovered a gene from wild wheat that has the potential to improve drought tolerance in cultivated wheat.
- There has been a resurgence of HRS wheat being grown in Nebraska. Currently, producers in the state grow HRW, HW and HRS.