Grain News

North Dakota Wheat Commission to Host Italian Milling Industry Team

Date Posted: August 7, 2014

Representatives of the Italian milling industry will be visiting North Dakota on August 8 to gather insight on 2014 hard red spring (HRS) crop prospects and enhance their understanding of the U.S. HRS industry.

Five of the six team members represent medium sized, family owned milling companies, with the sixth being a representative of the largest broker of HRS in Italy.

The North Dakota Wheat Commission will be hosting the group, with support from U.S. Wheat Associates.

A representative of the U.S. Wheat Associates office in Rotterdam will accompany the group.

While in Fargo, the group will meet with the NDSU wheat breeder and quality specialist to gain a better understanding of North Dakota wheat quality.

They will also gain insight on shifting rail transportation dynamics in the HRS region, get an update on 2014 crop prospects, and learn about educational opportunities provided by the Northern Crops Institute.

In the afternoon, the group will visit a nearby grain elevator to visit with merchandisers about current year market issues and see firsthand North Dakota’s world class grain handling infrastructure.

Francis Leiphon, North Dakota Wheat Commission Chairman, states “this is a great opportunity to showcase our wheat to a top customer. As the leading producer of HRS in the U.S., it is important for customers to see that we are committed to meeting their quality and supply needs.”

Italy imported close to 10 million bushels of U.S. HRS wheat in the 2013 marketing year, up from the five-year average of 7.3 million.

Typically, Italy accounts for about one-half of the EU HRS demand. Millers and bakers in Italy prefer U.S. HRS for its superior gluten qualities in making pizza, pandoro and panettone breads, and the added volume it brings to breads.

Competition for this market comes from Austria, Germany and Canada, and U.S. HRS wheat routinely commands a significant price premium over other sources of quality wheat in the EU.

Rutger Koekoek, Marketing Specialist, USW, Rotterdam, says “U.S. HRS has developed strong market share in Italy, and in recent years we have even gained market share over Canadian spring wheat due to better gluten performance. Our price premium and market share will be dependent on maintaining quality.”

Leiphon added, “This year has been another excellent wheat production season. We will have a big crop to market, and securing ongoing demand from premium markets like Italy will be important for prices.”

The team will also make stops in Montana and Minnesota.

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.

For more information, call 701-328-5111.

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