Sept. 19, 2013

South Asia wheat workshop strengthens grower-to-buyer connections


A team of six quality control and procurement managers from mills in Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam attended the South Asia Contracting for Wheat Value Workshop at Northern Crops Institute on the NDSU campus Sept. 9-12.

The workshop, sponsored by U.S. Wheat Associates, was designed to teach the team how to better manage their supply chain challenges and how to write contracts that accurately specify the wheat they want to purchase.

Steve Wirsching, U.S. Wheat Associates vice president, West Coast office, said, “It is very important to bring buyers from Southeast Asia to the United States, and in particular to Northern Crops Institute, so that we can make those grower-to-buyer connections, which are very powerful in promoting U.S. wheat overseas. The person-to-person connections and the connections we make out at the farms, at the country elevator level and here at the institute are very good and very long lasting.”

Participants learned about wheat quality testing and procurement through lectures and end-product evaluation. Workshops topics included wheat market, supply and demand overview; understanding analytical tests for flour and dough quality; functionality test demonstrations; developing a wheat value matrix; and purchase quality specifications.

The group also toured Greg Svenningsen’s farm near Valley City, N.D., and the Columbia Grain Elevator, Valley City.

“The milling and baking industries in Southeast Asia are thriving and creating excellent opportunities for exports of U.S. wheat classes,” said Mike Spier, U.S. Wheat Associates-Singapore regional vice president, noting Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam import 400 million bushels from all origins. “In the past five years, Southeast Asia's strong economic growth and increasing middle class are driving changes in diets. Consumers are better off financially and are buying more high quality wheat-based foods. These fundamental factors are the driving force behind a remarkable increase in bakery sales and expansion in milling capacity in Southeast Asia.”

John Crabtree, institute assistant director, coordinated the workshop. Workshop speakers and technicians included Rachel Carlson, institute food technologist; Roy Chung, U.S. Wheat Associates baking consultant, Singapore; Mike Krueger, The Money Farm; Senay Simsek, NDSU Department of Plant Sciences; Joe Sowers, U.S. Wheat Associates assistant regional director, Singapore; Spier; Mark Weber, institute director; William Wilson, NDSU Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics; and Steve Wirsching, U.S. Wheat Associates Portland, Ore., office director.

Northern Crops Institute supports regional agriculture and value-added processing by conducting educational and technical programs to expand and maintain domestic and international markets for northern-grown crops. The institute is funded by the states of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota and commodity groups in those states and Montana.

NDSU is recognized as one of the nation's top 108 public and private universities by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education.

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