Grain News

Korea Millers to Survey Wheat Crops in MT and OR

Date Posted: June 13, 2013

Arlington, VA—Every summer, members of a crop survey team from South Korea traverse the Pacific Northwest for a firsthand look at the new wheat harvest.

This year’s team was scheduled months before USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced May 29 that it had identified an unapproved, genetically modified, glyphosate-resistant trait in volunteer wheat in a single Oregon field.

But, the timing of the Korea Crop Survey Team’s travel June 16 to 22 to Montana and Oregon provides a great opportunity to reinforce the safety, quality and reliability of the U.S. wheat on which South Korea’s millers, bakers and food processors have come to rely.

Three representatives from three of South Korea’s largest flour mills will meet with wheat researchers, tour grain elevators and export terminals and visit with farmers who are preparing to harvest their soft white (SW), hard red spring (HRS) and hard red winter (HRW) wheat crops.

USW collaborated with the Montana Wheat & Barley Committee and the Oregon Wheat Commission to organize this year’s tour.

“We appreciate the opportunity to bring together our Korean customers with the farmers who are dedicated to growing the highest quality wheat possible each year,” said Dr. Woojoon Park, senior marketing specialist in the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) Seoul Office, who will accompany the team.

“Team members will see firsthand the region’s incredible investment in grain research, marketing and transportation and take advantage of the opportunity to frankly discuss mutual concerns with farmers waiting to harvest their 2013 crop.”

USW is aware that private wheat buyers in Korea have temporarily suspended purchases of U.S. SW wheat, pending official decisions from Korea’s Ministry of Food & Drug Safety (MFDS).

MFDS did announce last week that it had collected and tested 40 samples of wheat and five samples of flour milled from wheat that had been shipped/imported from Oregon, and that all tests showed that no unapproved recombinant wheat has been identified to date.

The United States currently supplies about 40 percent of South Korea’s wheat imports, competing with Canada and Australia in this sophisticated market.

In the 2012/13 marketing year, South Korea imported 1.41 million metric tons (51.8 million bushels) of U.S. wheat.

For more information, call 703-650-0245.

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