Colorado Welcomes Wheat Trade Team from the Philippines

Centennial, Colo. The Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee (CWAC) hosted a trade team of flour millers and wheat buyers representing the majority of flour milling operations in the Philippines on a visit to Colorado. On August 26 they were briefed on Colorado wheat production and quality by CWAC Executive Director Darrell Hanavan, and on the Colorado State University (CSU) wheat breeding program by CSU Wheat Breeder Dr. Scott Haley. They then heard from Wheat Foods Council (WFC) Interim Director Lynn Holly on domestic promotion programs. That afternoon, the trade team toured the ConAgra Flour Milling Company and Commerce City Grain unit train loading facility in Commerce City, Colo.

The group also traveled to Haxtun, Colo., where they toured Anderson Wheat Farms, participated in a precision farming demonstration, and had lunch with area producers. The trade team also toured Grainland Cooperative in Haxtun.

Joselito Parco, Executive Vice President of General Milling Corporation said that he was surprised by the small amount of moisture Colorado farmers have to grow their crops.

“We think of Colorado as a state with abundant rain, because of the mountains,” he said, “Now I know that is not true.” The trade team was also impressed with the wide variety of crops that farmers grow in Colorado.

Sara Olsen of Yuma, CWAC Secretary/Treasurer, visited the Philippines this year on U.S. Wheat Associates (USWA) board team travel, and was able to re-connect with millers she met on that trip. “It was great to re-connect with the Philippine millers and buyers I met in Manila in January Olsen said, The Philippines is a very loyal U.S. wheat customer, and many of their mills purchase 100 percent U.S. wheat. We value their business, and I think it was great for them to see first-hand where their most reliable source of wheat is produced. As they visited a Colorado farm, chatted with local producers, families, and elevator operators, and observed our climate and geography, I think they were able to better understand our production techniques, challenges and opportunities. It is important for them to see that we are dedicated to producing high quality wheat, that we are constantly staying current with technology and research, and that our supply of wheat to the Philippines will remain constant. The trade team was able to see that even though Colorado wheat growers are halfway across the globe from the Philippines, we are very committed to our relationship with them and the reliable product that we sell them.”

No wheat is produced in the Philippines so they rely completely on imports to meet their domestic needs. The Philippines represent a market potential of over 100 million bushels of feed and milling wheat each year, of which the U.S. traditionally supplies about 50 percent. The U.S. share of specifically milling quality wheat is much higher, at about 80 percent. The Philippines was the fourth largest buyer of U.S. wheat in the 2009-10 marketing year with purchases of 1,517,500 metric tons (55.8 million bushels).

The trade team consisted of Ms. Elizabeth Bay, AVP and Finance Manager, San Miguel Mills; Mr. Melchor Deloso, R & D/GA Manager, Morning Star Milling Corporation; Mr. Joselito Parco, Executive Vice President, General Milling Corporation; Mr. Erwin Que, Vice President of Operations, Philippine Foremost Milling Corporation; Mr. Mario Banag, Assistant to the President, Philippine Association of Flour Millers (PAFMIL); and Mr. Shane Townsend, Assistant Regional Director, USWA/Manila. The fact finding tour was sponsored by USWA, of which CWAC is a member, and the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS).

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