By Kansas Wheat
MANHATTAN — U.S. wheat is the world’s most reliable choice. This is the message U.S. Wheat Associates takes to our foreign markets through its 17 offices all over the world.
Shannon Schlecht, vice president of policy, spoke to the Kansas Wheat boards and at the Kansas Commodity Classic. He told growers that Kansas is very important to overseas buyers.
“Kansas is the biggest hard red winter producing state so customers do want to know what’s happening in Kansas so they’re always interested to stop and see what’s going on here in Kansas.
And the impact that it might have on their purchasing decisions or on the wheat market in general.”
U.S. Wheat Associates focuses on value, rather than price. Although buyers might be able to source cheaper wheat from elsewhere, U.S. wheat can provide our customers with a better quality product.
“One of the main focuses of our work is really to look at value. We do a lot of work, especially in Latin America, as to how can hard red winter perform better and be a greater value to our customers than Canadian or Argentinean wheat.”
Schlecht also discussed the impact of the passage of The Agriculture Act of 2014 on the work of U.S. Wheat Associates.
“With the farm bill being passed, in the trade title, there is funding for the market access program and the foreign market development programs. These are cooperator programs that U.S. Wheat Associates uses to do our overseas market development work in addition to the checkoff funds from the 19 state wheat commission members.”
He said the work that U.S. Wheat does on behalf of producers is essential.
“We have competition around the world. Wheat is grown in many different countries. Buyers have opportunities to go and source their wheat from different regions. Having lived overseas, I can tell you that it is critical for us to maintain those relationships and to go visit our customers on their home turf and to build that relationship and to have a name and a face for the U.S. wheat producer around the world so that our customers know who they can reach out to if they have a question, if they need education, or need some help as to how to purchase U.S. wheat. They know exactly who to turn to, and we can assist and make sure that we keep us wheat in front of them as the most reliable choice and the best value for the products they need to produce.”
Kansas wheat producers, through their two-penny per bushel checkoff, are able to maintain these relationships all over the world.