ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — A team of five executives representing large flour mills in Brazil will be in the U.S. June 14-20, to learn more about the 2015-16 crop and the U.S. wheat supply chain. Together, they purchase about 60% of Brazil’s annual wheat imports and were among millers purchasing a record amount of U.S. hard red winter (HRW) and soft red winter (SRW) in 2013-14 and 2014-15. Wheat farmers said they are pleased to see these buyers return to the U.S.

“Brazil turned to the United States the last two years, because its usual trading partners in Argentina could not meet demand,” said Osvaldo Seco, assistant regional director for South America with U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), who will travel with the team. “They were able to do that because we kept Brazilian millers informed about the quality, variety and value — and U.S. farmers had the wheat they needed.”

With funding from state wheat commissions and USDA market development programs, the work USW did in Brazil helped spur millers to actively import most of their wheat from the U.S. Brazil’s imports returned more than $1 billion to the U.S. wheat industry in a little more than one year from an investment of less than $100,000 in market development spending.

The potential for an on-going increase in U.S. wheat exports to Brazil is not being taken for granted, even though Argentina’s 2014-15 production provided exportable supplies again, USW said. USW, the Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program, the Nebraska Wheat Board and the Texas Wheat Producers Board  sponsored this team’s visit as a pivotal part of building buyers’ confidence in U.S. HRW and SRW wheat compared to supplies from Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, the E.U. or Canada.

After visiting farms in Ohio and Nebraska and meeting with export elevator managers in Texas’ western Gulf ports, Seco said these executives will go back to their mills with a greater knowledge of how to specify for the best quality and value from the U.S. supply. These flour millers will also get a chance to meet with their peers at a visit to a Mennel Milling Company flour mill, as well as tour a Mondelez snack food plant in Ohio.

“We will also meet with export grain traders and review the federal grain inspection system in Nebraska,” Seco said. “Relationships are very important to these buyers and there is no more powerful marketing tool than sitting face-to-face with the people who develop, grow and handle U.S. wheat.”