Oklahoma's Michael Peters Thinking Global in Marketing WheatMon, 16 Aug 2021 09:27:13 CDT
Ron caught up with Michael Peters, secretary-treasurer of U.S. Wheat Associates at the annual Oklahoma Wheat Growers Association conference in El Reno, Oklahoma, to talk about the world of wheat, now and in the future.
In July, USW’s board of directors met to discuss topics like wheat grading standards for hard white wheat, wheat quality improvement and USW’s next budget.
“Right now, there’s a lot of issues with wheat quality - that’s one of the things we focused on,” Peters said. “Transportation issues - the rail issue - there are some possible mergers happening in the rail industry.”
Issues like the one with the rail industry are important for USW because rail rates for shipping wheat can be a problem.
“A lot of times you’ll find that to ship other products it’s a lot cheaper,” Peters said. “Wheat always seems to be the black sheep - the prices are always higher to get wheat shipped.”
Changing grain standards with federal grain inspectors is another issue USW is working through, according to peters.
“Right now, we’re looking at white wheat versus hard red winter wheat,” Peters said. “For instance, in Kansas, they grow a lot of white wheat on contract, well when those contracts are maxed out they need to ship that to a local elevator and some of those elevators dock for that white wheat when in reality, it’s a better quality product.”
Speaking about the future, Peters said there are huge opportunities in China and Central America. According to Peters, hard red winter wheat is being shipped out of the Gulf of Mexico, on to China, which is a big deal for wheat growers in Oklahoma, Kansas and Texas.
“(China) just needs the grains - for their country to feed their people and animals,” Peters said. “They love to get (U.S.) grains, whether it be soybeans, corn, wheat - they love our quality.”
Although U.S. gains are not China’s cheapest option, Peters said the quality of U.S. grown wheat brings top dollar, Peters said.
In the future, maintaining U.S. grown wheat’s high standard is an ongoing mission for USW, according to peters. As Russia and Ukraine’s quality improves, the global market becomes more competitive, he added. At the same time, Americans are demanding more sustainably produced products, creating more pressure on wheat producers to decrease their industry’s environmental impact.
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