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Published May 01, 2013, 02:40 PM

Japanese wheat milling executives to visit ND

A group of executives representing three Japanese flour mills and the Flour Millers Association will be in Fargo, N.D., on May 6 to gain information on the U.S. marketing system and the potential for the 2013 hard red spring wheat crop.

By: North Dakota Wheat Commission,

A group of executives representing three Japanese flour mills and the Flour Millers Association will be in Fargo, N.D., on May 6 to gain information on the U.S. marketing system and the potential for the 2013 hard red spring wheat crop.

Japan is the largest buyer of U.S. hard red spring wheat, with annual purchases of 55 million bushels. Japan produces some wheat domestically, but relies heavily on imports of nearly 185 million bushels each year. The U.S. accounts for about 60 percent of japan's total import demand. Hard red spring wheat is the largest class of wheat imported from the U.S., but Japan also makes significant purchases of hard red winter and white wheat. Millers in Japan prioritize quality, safety and reliable supplies in sourcing their wheat.

While the team is aware that planting of this year’s crop is delayed, marketing specialist Erica Olson says the visitors will be anxious for an outlook.

“The team will be very interested in hearing our thoughts regarding possible acreage, growing conditions and price outlook," she says. "Being an executive team, the group also has interest in a variety of other topics including the [North Dakota State University] breeding and quality programs, the advancement of wheat biotechnology research, economics of wheat production and gaining an understanding of the U.S. elevator system.” Researchers at NDSU will meet with the group to cover these topics.

Japan is one of the longest standing and most reliable customers of U.S. wheat and it is important to continue dialogue with it to address any issues it may have, especially in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Hosting trade teams is an excellent way to accomplish this and reinforce our efforts to ensure customers that U.S. hard red spring wheat is still the best source of wheat to meet their needs.

“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,” says U.S. Wheat Associates Japan County Director Wataru 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 1940s.”

In addition to their time in North Dakota, the visitors will meet with U.S. Wheat Associates, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other organizations in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Wheat Associates works to maintain and improve export market opportunities for North Dakota wheat farmers and producers in 18 other states with support from the farmers themselves through a per-bushel checkoff.

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