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U.S. Wheat to close Moscow office, reflecting big change in Russian wheat production

ARLINGTON, Virginia — U.S. Wheat Associates is closing its office in Moscow, Russia, effective Oct. 30.

The organization says the closure Is “part of an ongoing restructuring of overseas offices designed to refocus resources toward markets with the best potential to grow U.S. wheat exports and returns for the farmers USW represents.”

U.S. Wheat Associates develops, maintains and expands international markets to enhance wheat’s profitability for U.S. farmers and its value for their customers in more than 100 countries. Funding comes from checkoff dollars managed by 17 state wheat commissions and cost-share money from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

The Moscow office opened in 1992.

The Russian Federation, once a net importer of wheat, has become the world’s largest wheat-exporting country. As Russia’s domestic wheat production increased, U.S. Wheat Associate’s mission shifted to monitoring that production, as well as Russian wheat quality, prices and policy, U.S. Wheat Associates says.

Now, “With much more public information available about Russia’s wheat supply, we believe it is time to end our mission there and continue allocating more resources in markets where our export volume is growing,” USW vice president of overseas operations Mark Fowler said in a prepared statement..

“Russian wheat is obviously very competitive in certain markets, but it is important to point out that our marketing and technical teams based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, and Casablanca, Morocco, will continue competing for export business in the Middle East and North Africa,” Fowler said.

Based in part on the significant increase in low-priced Russian wheat exports, USW closed an office in Cairo, Egypt, in December 2017, eliminating four staff positions. The Moscow office closing will eliminate the position of officer director  and and marketing specialist held by Valentina Shustova since 1995.