ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. — In 2016, the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) will mark 60 years with a marketing office in Japan, so it comes as no surprise that in marketing year 2014-15, Japan was the single largest buyer of wheat from the U.S. In the same year, Japan was also the biggest market for U.S. hard red spring (HRS) and soft white (SW) wheat. To learn more about the high quality wheat to which their customers have become accustomed over the past 60 years, a team of mid-level managers from Japanese flour mills are visiting Oregon, Idaho and Montana Sept. 20-26.

Millers on this team are executives from milling companies representing Japan’s National Cooperative of Millers. The first trade team from this group of millers visited the U.S. in 2014. USW collaborated with the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee, Oregon Wheat Commission and Idaho Wheat Commission to organize and host this year’s visit.

“These mid-level managers will eventually ascend to senior management positions and hopefully take with them an understanding that the United States produces the highest quality wheat for Japan,” said Steve Wirsching, USW vice-president and director of the West Coast Office in Portland, Oregon, U.S. “This trade team visit creates an opportunity for us to increase their positive view of U.S. wheat and ensure we can continue to compete in Japan in the future.”

This trade team will bring individuals involved in milling, quality control and marketing to the U.S. to learn more about the effective wheat export supply chain and give them the opportunity to discuss logistical and quality assurance systems with the people who manage the U.S. wheat supply chain.

The milling managers will begin their trip in Portland, hosted by the USW West Coast Office, where they will be briefed by the Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) and Wheat Marketing Center. While in Oregon, the team will also tour the Columbia Grains export terminal and visit OMIC USA. Continuing their trip in Boise, Idaho, U.S., the team will meet with Scoular Grain and the Idaho State Department of Agriculture, and will tour the Swan Falls Dam and lock system on the Snake River. To complete their tour of the Pacific Northwest, the team will travel to Montana to tour shuttle train loading facilities operated by Gavilon Grain in Chester and United Grain in Moccasin. Other stops include the Central Ag Research Center near Moccasin and Myllymaki Farms outside of Livingston. Throughout their trip the team will have the opportunity to hear from each of the sponsoring state wheat commissions.