Posted July 1, 2016
U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and nine state wheat commissions hosted 75 flour millers and other buyers at a Latin American and Caribbean Buyers Conference June 21 to 24, 2016, in Portland, OR. USW President Alan Tracy said the information at the conference was specifically selected and timed to emphasize the excellent value of U.S. wheat for these buyers from 16 countries.
Tracy noted that several speakers at the conference focused on how current world market dynamics make U.S. wheat an attractive choice for importers. That is an important message because income from wheat is linked to export markets and the buyers in Latin America are taking 40 percent of all U.S. wheat exports with great potential for growth. He said these are markets that also buy on the basis of the quality characteristics U.S. wheat farmers produce every year.
At the conference, Kansas Wheat CEO Justin Gilpin gave an inside look at hard red winter wheat and the increasing investment in innovation that farmers are leading. He told the buyers that the quality of the new hard red winter crop is very good … the kind of wheat you want in every grist, he said. Kansas farmers and farmers across the United States are leading the call for increased investment in wheat yield and functional quality. Gilpin said work at Heartland Plant Innovations, funded mostly by Kansas farmers, is already paying off for flour millers in new varieties with higher extraction rates.
Representing the Latin American marketing group from CHS Inc., Dan Barnard discussed how the current market gives hard red winter wheat exceptional value. Referring to the 75 cents per bushel premium in mid-2017 futures prices he told the buyers that they will have the best access to hard red winter at the least cost over the next three to four months.
According to USW Vice President of Operations Vince Peterson, there are more timeless reasons why a large conference like this is worth the investment and effort. He said USW has held a Latin American conference every other year for nearly 25 years. With these buyers all in one place, the industry can talk in person about the markets and about how U.S. wheat fits into their businesses and that builds trusting relationships, Peterson said.
German Zapata, a wheat buyer from Colombia agreed that traveling to the conference gave him and his colleagues the opportunity to consider U.S. wheat in a very different way. Standing on an Oregon farm after the conference, Zapata said it was amazing to experience the whole process of wheat production and marketing, seeing the land and the technology farmers have, and how they work to produce the best quality wheat.
USW wants to thank Kansas Wheat for their participation and on-going support of export market development activities. Thanks goes also to these conference sponsors: Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee, Maryland Small Grains Utilization Board, Montana Wheat and Barley Committee, Nebraska Wheat Board, North Dakota Wheat Commission, Oregon Wheat Commission Texas Wheat Producers Board, Washington Grain Commission and the Foreign Agricultural Service of USDA.
To see presentation slides from all the speakers at the Latin American and Caribbean Buyers Conference, visit the USW website at http://bit.ly/295mVY8.
by Steve Mercer, USW VP of Communications