Worldwide Wheat Marketing Efforts on Display for Oklahoma Ag LeadersWed, 12 Feb 2014 16:41:38 CST
Members of Class 16 of the Oklahoma Agricultural Leadership Program leave today for South Africa. One of the group's first meetings will be with officials of U.S. Wheat. The Capetown Office of U.S. Wheat is responsible for market-development programs in the 36-country Sub-Sahara African region. Mike Schulte of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission spoke recently with Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays and says that while in Capetown, class members will get to meet with Gerald Theus, assistant regional director of U.S. Wheat, and hear firsthand from U.S. Wheat's Regional Office Manager Jim McKenna.
"He's going to be showing them locations where they actually bring in the wheat imports from the United States and, hopefully, they will get to see what they do on a regional effort within that part of the world- We are very involved with the country of Nigeria. Nigeria is our largest importer of hard red winter wheat out of the Southern plains of the United States.
"Looking at the things we are working on with milling and baking tests and showing them different product opportunities that they can use to put in that marketplace, we think that it will be interesting to show our wheat producers back here at home the efforts going on in those foreign market development areas."
Schulte said with competition growing among wheat-exporting countries, these market efforts are extremely important.
"If you look at the representation that we have in the world marketplace, we have representation in over 100 countries worldwide. And if you look at the competition that's out there that wasn't out there 20 years ago, specifically with the Russian and Ukraine market, if you look at the Canadian market, everybody's trying to get a piece of that pie. So, the things that we are working on with the milling and baking schools for the large, industrial-size millers and bakers, we think are helpful in conveying that we are the best choice for wheat as far as not only quality, but reliability."
Schulte is an OALP alumnus himself and said his experience taught him that producers have to go beyond just thinking about their own farms or businesses and truly become advocates for their industry.
"Just within the agricultural industry worldwide, we now make up less than two percent of the population so no one is going to get out there and tell your story unless you do."
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear Ron Hays's full interview with Mike Schulte.
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