“Teams like these give key milling administrators the chance to observe and discuss crop conditions and our supply chain,” said Chad Weigand, assistant regional director for the USW Mexican, Central American, Caribbean Region. “The team’s firsthand observations of the U.S. wheat marketing system will help keep the great relationship between the U.S. wheat industry and Panama’s flour millers strong.”
The team will make stops in Portland, Oregon; Spokane, Washington; and Fargo, North Dakota. Meeting with wheat farmers, grain industry representatives and university researchers will help the team gain a better understanding of the U.S. wheat marketing system as well as help them examine logistical and transportation alternatives from a variety of locations in the United States.
Panama has just four milling companies that have a total milling capacity of 720 tonnes per day. These groups are represented by the Panamanian Millers Association, MOLTRIGO, which is responsible for wheat purchasing decisions. The flour mills purchase wheat and arrange freight together in an effort to reduce costs.
Overall, Panama imports more than 90% of its wheat from the U.S. and buys four of the six U.S. wheat classes - hard red winter (HRW), hard red spring (HRS), soft red winter (SRW) and durum. As of May 29, Panama had imported 4.45 million bushels (121,000 tonnes) of wheat for the 2013-14 marketing year.
USW collaborated with the Washington Grain Commission, North Dakota Wheat Commission and the Oregon Wheat Commission to organize this trade team.
USW is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by FAS. USW maintains 17 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six classes of U.S. wheat.