Grain News


Northern Crops Institute Hosts Southeast Asia Wheat Workshop to Strengthen Grower-to-Buyer Connections

Date Posted: September 19, 2013

Fargo, ND—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 (NCI), Fargo, N.D., from September 9-12.

The workshop concluded with sessions at the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) office, Portland, Ore.

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, Vice President, U.S. Wheat Associates, West Coast office, says, “It is very important to bring buyers from Southeast Asia to the United States, and in particular to NCI, 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 NCI are very good and very long lasting.”

He continues, “We are basicly demonstrating how contract specifications will impact the end-uses in quality and functionality of their wheat.

"We will show them what different protein levels will do to their products, and why it’s really important to use high-protein spring wheat as opposed to any other wheat that they may be sourcing from Australia or Canada.

"Lastly, we will demonstrate how the U.S. high protein spring wheat is the best fit for their markets as well as a superior product to wheat they may find elsewhere.”

Participants learned about wheat quality testing and procurement through lectures and end product evaluation.

Workshop topics included U.S. wheat market overview; world and U.S. wheat supply and demand overview; understanding analytical tests for flour and dough quality; functionality test demonstrations; inland logistics; end product evaluations and relationships to physical, chemical, and functional lab tests; wheat class differences and similarities between U.S. and competitors; developing a wheat value matrix; and purchase quality specifications.

The group also toured Greg Svenningsen’s farm near Valley City, N.D.

They were hosted by Darren Bjornson as they toured the Columbia Grain Elevator, Valley City, N.D.

Mike Spier, Regional Vice President for U.S. Wheat Associates Singapore, says, “The milling and baking industries in Southeast Asia are thriving and creating excellent opportunities for exports of U.S. wheat classes.

In the past five years, Southeast Asia's strong economic growth and increasing middle class is driving change in diets,” he explains.

“In Indonesia, around seven million people per year move into the middle class. 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.”

“The Contracting for Value Workshop and other USW activities are important,” Spier continues, “because they help to differentiate the baking quality of U.S wheat classes versus the competition.

"Indonesia, The Philippines and Vietnam import 400 million bushels from all origins.

"The three mills participating in the workshop import 150 million bushels from all origins and in MY 2012/13 imported 45 million bushels of HRS. Over the last decade, wheat imports by mills in the Southeast Asia region year-on-year average is 5%.

"Mills in the region buy based on price, value, quality and service,” Spier concludes.

The workshop was coordinated by John Crabtree, NCI Assistant Director.

Workshop speakers and technicians included: Rachel Carlson, NCI Food Technologist; Roy Chung, USW Baking Consultant, Singapore; Mike Krueger, The Money Farm; Senay Simsek, Ph.D., NDSU Department of Plant Sciences; Joe Sowers, USW Assistant Regional Director, Singapore; Mike Spier, USW Regional Vice President, Singapore; Mark Weber, NCI Director; William Wilson, Ph.D., NDSU Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics; and Steve Wirsching, USW Director, Portland office.

North Dakota Wheat Commission hosted a dinner in honor of the visiting team.

Northern Crops Institute (NCI) supports regional agriculture and value-added processing by conducting educational and technical programs that expand and maintain domestic and international markets for northern-grown crops.

NCI is funded by the states of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota and commodity groups in those states and Montana.

For more information, call 701-231-7736.

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