MANDAN, N.D. — A team representing some of the largest baking companies in Japan visited the state in late summer to gain base knowledge of U.S. wheat production, breeding efforts, and quality. This was the first baking team sponsored by U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) and the group was led by Wataru “Charlie” Utsunomiya, Director of the USW Tokyo office. The group had productive visits with NDSU researchers, discussing spring wheat quality and breeding efforts. They also made a visit to the Northern Crops Institute and NDWC board members and staff provided supply and demand information, price outlook, and general production information.
This team provided an opportunity to open up communication lines and develop relationships. Japan is one of our most mature markets and they are generally satisfied with the quality. However, bakers are one step removed from the wheat procurement process, so it is important for them to develop a more complete understanding of the value U.S. wheat provides in both quality and reliability. Japan is typically the largest or second largest spring wheat buyer, with average annual purchases of 40 million bushels.
— North Dakota Wheat Commission
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