Wheat Industry Faces Uphill Battle

Industry summit meeting on Thursday examined a number of competitive challenges facing the U.S. wheat industry.

Published on: Sep 8, 2006

Over the past 25 years, wheat acreage has plummeted 30%. Biofuels continue to swallow up wheat acres into other commodities. And current farm policy is making wheat unproductive.

These are just a few reasons why the wheat industry held a summit Thursday to discuss the competitiveness crisis facing the wheat industry. Earlier this year the National Association of Wheat Growers and the North American Millers Association released a paper, Addressing the Competitiveness Crisis in Wheat, that outlined the two top players' views on the subject and possible actions to improve competitiveness of the U.S. wheat production sector.

According to Betsy Faga, NAMA president, 60 different players from all levels of the supply chain were present at the summit, including those involved in transportation to exporters to food companies.

Dale Schuler, NAWG president and Carter, Mont., wheat producer, explained that the greatest concern facing the industry is if producers aren't profiting, other segments can't profit either. The individuals at the summit agreed on four specific areas of concern in profitability: technology and research; domestic competitiveness (including the fight for acreage from other commodities), domestic policy; and export competitiveness.

Darren Coppock, chief executive officer of NAWG, says there was a clear urgency among groups to continue the dialogue started Thursday and form a group that could continue to advocate and strategize how to bring wheat back into the competitive arena. Faga adds the next step will be to take the comments received Thursday and develop a vision and plan to trying to come together, lay out the thoughts objectively and present it to the rest of the group.

To read the white paper, click HERE.