Wheat Industry Revving Up
by Matthew Weaver
Customers haven't asked about or expressed concern about
the ongoing battle over breaching the Snake River dams
Wheat industry representatives are ramping up visits with overseas customers this fall and winter.
Northwest farmers, researchers and other industry experts will participate in crop quality tours hosted by U.S. Wheat Associates, the overseas marketing arm for the industry.
At least four groups of five to seven people representing Pacific Northwest wheat farmers will head overseas.
A trip typically covers four or five countries in a week to 10 days, said Casey Chumrau, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission.
During he meetings, customers primarily want to know about the crop's quality, she said.
The timing is fortuitous, industry leaders said.
"I'm glad it's restarting at a time when we have such a good crop to talk about," said Amanda Hoey, Oregon Wheat's CEO. "2022 was an excellent year."
The 2022 U.S. soft white wheat crop is 6.9 million metric tons, a 46% increase from last year’s 4.8 million metric tons and comparable to the five-year average of 6.5 million metric tons, according to USDA and U.S. Wheat.
Countries that typically bought wheat from Ukraine and Russia are considering other options, said Britany Hurst Marchant, executive director of the Idaho Wheat Commission.
During the pandemic the industry pivoted to virtual trade teams. In-person visits resumed this summer.
"But now we get to get back to a little bit more of what we would call normal business and we're really looking forward to reconnecting," Chumrau said.
Customers haven't asked about or expressed concern about the ongoing battle over breaching the Snake River dams, the three wheat leaders say.
A major selling point for wheat from the Pacific Northwest that customers can get product consistently and quickly, and that's because of the river system," Marchant said.
Among this year's meetings and trade teams:
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