ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — The U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) announced on June 11 that a team of Spanish and Italian flour milling executives will visit the United States June 17-23 to learn more about the U.S. spring wheat, durum and soft red winter (SRW) wheat crops and the U.S. marketing system. USW is sponsoring this trade team with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Foreign Agricultural Service, state wheat commissions in North Dakota, Minnesota and Ohio and private exporters.

“The United States and Canada compete in European spring and durum markets like Spain and Italy,” said Goris van Lit, USW European regional director. “These millers hope to learn more about what changes might happen after the Canadian Wheat Board loses its marketing monopoly on Aug. 1. In Ohio, the Spanish millers will learn more about the new soft red winter crop from farmers and the grain trade.”

Starting at the Northern Crops Institute in Fargo, North Dakota, U.S., the team will hear about hard red spring (HRS) quality trends, North Dakota State University (NDSU) breeding programs and get an outlook for the 2012-13 HRS and durum crops. NDSU Agricultural Economics Professor Dr. William Wilson will review the status of advanced research in wheat, including biotechnology, before the millers visit a wheat farmer, flour mill and a commercial bakery in the state. In Duluth, Minnesota, U.S., the team will meet with private grain exporters and tour an export elevator then travel to Minneapolis for a visit to Minneapolis Grain Exchange (MGEX). In northwest Ohio, the millers will get the chance to see a SRW crop only days before harvest and meet with local grain handlers and flour millers.

The trade team is timed well to a growing sales opportunity in Europe for U.S. wheat farmers. Bread wheat production in Europe will be down significantly this year because of frost damage and dry conditions. Rainfall in Spain since late 2011 is well below normal and durum production there will likely fall by 60% compared to last year.
“We want to demonstrate to these executives that the United States has a reliable supply chain for the high quality wheat and durum they need,” said van Lit. “They get to see that they can trust the products, the people and organizations that USW represents.”