OGI Unveils Next Phase in Plans to Extract the Maximum Value from OSU Derived Wheat VarietiesFri, 15 Feb 2019 12:31:23 CST
At a recent conference to share with stakeholders the work Oklahoma Genetics, Inc. is doing currently to enhance and fully capture the value of wheat varieties developed and produced by the Oklahoma State University Wheat Improvement Team, OGI Executive Director Mark Hodges sat down with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays to explain how the organization plans to connect growers of high-quality wheat with buyers looking to explore niche consumer markets. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
According to Hodges, Oklahoma has the best wheat breeder in not just the nation but the world - Dr. Brett Carver - and insists that efforts are in progress to extract the maximum value of the wheat Carver and his team are producing. This, he says, is at the heart of OGI’s charge in partnership with the OSU Wheat Improvement Team. In order to do that, Hodges has come to the conclusion that the program must strive to differentiate itself from general “commodity” grains.
The strategy unveiled at this week’s conference, outlined OGI’s plans to differentiate OSU wheat varieties as Hodges explained, by segregating the marketplace and preserving the grain’s identity. By doing so, OGI will be able to deliver a guaranteed superior product to millers and bakers interested in purchasing only high-quality wheat.
“We don’t want those varieties to cross the scale, get dumped in a pit and comingle with a lot of other varieties and production practices that might not be as good as what’s been released out of OSU,” Hodges said. “Right now, the program at OSU is probably subsidizing other commodity wheats that are out there. And, so again, we’re just trying to extract the full value from that.”
What is most exciting about the prospect, Hodges says, is that interest in this program is known to exist and is already being explored.
“There are folks that are interested. We’ve talked to multiple milling companies nationwide,” he remarked. “The opportunity is there.”
While adding value back to the producer is the primary goal of this program - Hodges says it is also two-fold - designed to create an environment that can foster excitement and competitiveness in the marketplace and encourage producers to again profitably grow wheat. This will address an evolving trend in the industry that Hodges has been observing. From his perspective, he sees a divergence in the market between run of the mill commodity grain and quality grain. He says more and more, millers and bakers are asking for quality. But as wheat acres steadily decline, the opportunity for customers to purchase quality grain declines, too.
“They need a source and we want to supply that source,” Hodges said. “I think we’re on the front-end of this curve and I think it’s going to continue to build. So, I think we’re positioned very well.”
Over the next several months, Hodges hopes to have this strategy fully defined and ready for launch in the coming planting season. However, he says it will likely take several years to get the program fully matured where critical mass can be achieved, and enough participants situated to complete a sustainable supply continuum.
Listen to Hodges and Hays discuss this plan further, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below.
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