ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — From Sept. 13-20, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) will bring a team of four mid-level flour milling managers from Japan to visit the hard red spring (HRS), hard red winter (HRW) and soft white (SW) wheat supply system in Montana, Idaho and Oregon. USW collaborated with the Montana Wheat & Barley Committee, the Idaho Wheat Commission and the Oregon Wheat Commission to organize this team.

“These customers are successful managers with influential flour milling companies,” said USW Japan Country Director Wataru Utsunomiya, who will accompany the team. “Experience shows that as they advance in their positions, having a deeper understanding of wheat breeding, production, marketing and handling systems helps to create a preference for U.S. wheat. In turn, these milling managers will have an influence on imports by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.”

The milling managers will start their learning experience in Great Falls, Montana, U.S., with visits to country elevators, large shuttle loading terminals and the Montana State Grain Laboratory that provides unbiased testing for wheat quality and grade. In Moscow, Idaho, U.S., the team will learn how wheat breeders balance the need for higher yields and quality to produce improved varieties and see how farmers apply that technology.

Next up will be opportunities to learn about wheat supply logistics in Idaho and Oregon. The visit ends in Portland, Oregon, U.S., where the team will see the Pacific Northwest export system at work and learn how the Wheat Marketing Center is helping customers develop new wheat foods.

Japan typically imports more U.S. wheat each year than any other country. Japan’s importing pace is remarkably consistent year to year with SW, HRS and HRW making up more than 57% of Japan’s total annual wheat imports on average. However, U.S. wheat farmers must compete in Japan with Canadian and Australian wheat supplies. That is why USW and its state wheat commission members focus on giving buyers detailed quality information, keeping both Japanese government and millers informed on market and policy developments, advising government officials on their policy change proposals and collaborating in detail on any food safety related concerns, USW said.