A team of mid-level flour milling managers from Japan are touring in Oregon, Washington and North Dakota this week to learn more about the system that produces , transports, inspects and ships the wheat used in their products.
Japan accounts for about 10 percent of all U.S. wheat exports, says U.S. Wheat Associates, which is providing the tour from the Japanese millers.
On their tour, the managers will gain a better understanding of U.S. wheat breeding, production, handling and marketing systems. The four team members, all of whom are involved in flour production and quality control for their respective companies, will also gain firsthand knowledge of this year's soft white, hard red spring and durum wheat crops.
Visit reinforces relationship between millers and farmers
"These team visits reinforce the strong relationship between Japanese millers and U.S. wheat farmers," said USW Japan County Director Wataru "Charlie" Utsunomiya, who will accompany the team. "It is important to help mid-level managers, who will eventually have full responsibility for production and evaluating inputs, gain insight and perspective into U.S. wheat's consistently high quality, reliability and value."
USW worked with the Oregon Wheat Commission, Washington Grain Commission and North Dakota Wheat Commission to organize this year's team in addition to collaborating with other industry organizations.
This team was planned far in advance of the discovery of volunteer wheat plants with an unapproved genetically modified trait in a single field in Oregon and Japan's government suspension of new tenders for Western White, a sub-class of soft white wheat. Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, which purchases imported wheat, resumed tenders for Western White wheat in late July, thanks in part to USW, the U.S. commercial grain trade, state wheat organizations and wheat farmers helping identify and share the most accurate information from the ongoing APHIS investigation to buyers, government agencies and end users.
USW is the industry's market development organization working in more than 100 countries. Its mission is to "develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers." USW activities are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by FAS. USW maintains 17 offices strategically located around the world to help wheat buyers, millers, bakers, wheat food processors and government officials understand the quality, value and reliability of all six classes of U.S. wheat.