ARLINGTON, Virginia — Japan was one of the first, and is still one of the largest, overseas markets cultivated by U.S. wheat growers. As part of long-term marketing development activities, U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) is bringing a team of Japanese milling executives to North Dakota and Washington, DC, May 1 to 7, 2013, for a firsthand look at this year’s crop.
In addition to examining current crop conditions and quality, team members will discuss market and trade policy developments with U.S. agricultural organizations.
“These team visits to the United States give milling executives more insight and perspective into U.S. wheat’s consistently high quality, reliability and value,” said USW Japan County Director Wataru “Charlie” Utsunomiya, who will accompany the team. “They also reinforce the strong relationship built between Japanese millers and U.S. wheat farmers, starting in the late 1940’s when the Oregon Wheat Growers League organized the first trade delegation to Japan.”
Following that first visit, U.S. wheat farmers nurtured that connection through a variety of marketing and educational activities to promote U.S. wheat, including a school lunch program and a “Kitchen on Wheels” that traveled through rural Japan from 1956 to 1960.
Today, Japan consistently imports more U.S. wheat than any other country, averaging more than 118 million bushels per year the past five years. Japan typically accounts for roughly 10 percent of all U.S. wheat exports, importing significant amounts of hard red winter (HRW), hard red spring (HRS) and soft white (SW) wheat.
USW worked with the North Dakota Wheat Commission to organize this year’s team in addition to collaborating with the North American Millers Association, the North American Export Grain Association and other industry organizations.
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.