Taiwan Milling exec visit Pacific Northwest
The trade team of four milling executives from Taiwan that spent a lot of time along the river system from June 11 to 18.
Photo courtesy Idaho Wheat Commission.
ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA, U.S. —From research labs to the field to the grain elevator, each stage of the supply chain contributes to the overall quality and reliability of U.S. wheat. But in the Pacific Northwest, the major link between quality U.S. wheat and the world market is the Columbia Snake River System. Understanding how the river system supports exports is a key part in learning about the U.S. wheat system, according to the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW).

USW welcomed a trade team of four milling executives from Taiwan that spent a lot of time along the river system from June 11 to 18. USW collaborated with the Oregon Wheat Commission (OWC), the Washington Grain Commission (WGC) and the Idaho Wheat Commission (IWC) to organize and host the trade team. Funding for the trade team also came from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

“On average, Taiwan is the sixth largest market for U.S. wheat,” said Boyuan Chen, USW country director in the Taipei Office. “The millers on this team were interested in exploring additional options for purchasing U.S. wheat. Our schedule focused on the export system and sourcing practices, as well as programs for wheat breeding and quality assurance.”

The team began its trip in Portland, Oregon, U.S., meeting with the USW West Coast Office and OWC for briefings on supply and demand, and crop conditions for hard red winter (HRW), soft white (SW) and hard white (HW) wheat. They continued their overview of the supply chain with tours of multiple port elevators and meetings with the USDA Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) and the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC).

Next, the team traveled to Washington and Idaho where the two state wheat commissions worked together to focus on the team’s interests. This included a visit to the USDA-ARS Western Wheat Quality Laboratory, and participation in a county field day where the team saw wheat breeding and quality improvement programs in the new wheat varieties across the test plots. The team also learned more about the value of the river system and how the 465-mile river highway is an essential lifeline that provides farmers from as far inland as the Midwest access to the global market.

“Trade teams that visit this area of the Pacific Northwest have the unique opportunity to see two land grant universities, many wheat related facilities and the river system all in close proximity,” said Blaine Jacobsen, IWC executive director. “This is rich farmland where farmers are utilizing the latest technology to plant and care for the wheat that will move down river and on to family tables across Taiwan and all of Asia.”

The team also had the opportunity to visit with Washington and Idaho wheat growers.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for wheat growers to rub shoulders with their customers, and it’s a great opportunity for buyers to learn more about the crop and the supply chain in the state of Idaho,” said Bill Flory, Idaho wheat farmer and commissioner.

Speaking with the growers enhanced the seller-buyer relationship.

“Being able to ask questions and discuss wheat quality at each stage of the supply chain with the people that grow and move the crops increased the confidence in U.S. wheat for these milling executives,” Chen said. “That is a great benefit, because they are considering purchasing a larger variety of U.S. wheat, including club wheat and hard white wheat.”