MANDAN, NORTH DAKOTA, U.S. — A group of mill owners and managers from Spain and Italy will be in North Dakota June 18-19 to learn more about the state’s hard red spring (HRS) wheat crop, the North Dakota Wheat Commission said on June 15 . Combined, the two countries import an average of 36 million bushels of U.S. wheat each year, primarily HRS, durum and soft red winter wheat. Western Europe is a growing market for imported high protein spring wheat for blending and improving milling and baking characteristics of the local crop.

While in North Dakota, the group will receive an update on HRS quality trends and breeding efforts from researchers at North Dakota State University. They will also be presented with a supply and demand outlook for this year's HRS crop, visit the Northern Crops Institute and will discuss the progress of new technologies in wheat breeding and crop competition before visiting a local farm to see firsthand how the wheat they buy is produced. The team will conclude their state visit with a trip to the North Dakota Mill for a tour and discussion on baking trends before heading to Minnesota and Ohio.

Spain and Italy primarily source their wheat from the U.S. and Canada, so it is important to emphasize the quality and reliability of U.S. wheat in a competitive market. Providing buyers the opportunity to participate on a trade team helps accomplish this goal by allowing them to make contacts in the grain industry that can assist in purchasing decisions and act as a reference for quality or other related questions.

Trade team visits help to demonstrate first hand U.S. producers' dedication to producing a quality product.

"We want to demonstrate to the group that the U.S. has a reliable supply chain for the high quality wheat and durum they need," said Goris van Lit, regional director for U.S. Wheat Associates in Europe. "They get to see that they can trust the product, the people and the organizations that USW represents."