N.D. Wheat Commission continues to build markets around the worldThe North Dakota Wheat Commission is celebrating its 50th year of market development and promotion during July.
By: Matt Bewley, Grand Forks Herald
The North Dakota Wheat Commission is celebrating its 50th year of market development and promotion during July.
When it first was created by the North Dakota Legislature in 1959, growers were raising 100 million bushels and the United States was exporting 500 million bushels per year. Today, North Dakota producers are averaging 300 million bushels each year, and the U.S. exports 1.3 billion bushels.
The NDWC’s customer base includes such growth markets as Asia, Latin America and Europe and, saidmarketing director Jim Peterson, the organization’s mission continues to be to access and develop new markets for North Dakota wheat.
“We had just recently attended a South Asian buyers’ conference,” he says.
Commission members established contacts with buyers from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines and explained the value of the hard red wheats and what North Dakota’s crop prospects are for the year.
That they’ve been successful in developing foreign markets goes without saying. Since the commission began its work, hard red spring wheat exports have grown by nearly seven times and durum exports have tripled.
A second priority for the commission is research, for which the wheat checkoff provides funding. The commission was granted retention of the 1.5-cent wheat checkoff in the state’s last legislative session. The newer wheat varieties, which are more disease resistant, better standing and higher yielding, are helping North Dakota farmers raise consistently strong crops.
“While market development work can be a slow and long-term process, research is one of those that hits producers more immediately,” Peterson says. “This helps us maintain value in the market.”
It is with these priorities that the North Dakota Wheat Commission begins its second half-century of service.