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Luke English (30 months) helping his dad, Drew English, in last year's wheat harvest in Rosalia. Luke will be a sixth-generation farmer.
Photo by Ashley English

Wilbur-Ellis


Innovia

Syngenta

MARKETING

From field to flour

Identity preserving wheat is no easy task

May 2021
By Trista Crossley


Identity preservation in agriculture isn’t a new concept, but as consumers become more interested in how and where their food is grown, it could give growers a way to connect with the public and add value to their product.

Identity preservation in agriculture is generally defined as tracking a specific commodity shipment or load by segregating it to maintain something unique, such as a trait or method of production, that would be lost if commingled during storage, handling or processing. While the advantages of identity-preserved (IP) wheat might be enticing, there are some obstacles to implementing such a system, namely how to store and handle the product. See more


Where the US fits in a changing world

April 2021
By Trista Crossley


Peter Zeihan’s message to growers in February was simple—things are changing. Zeihan was visiting with Eastern Washington farmers as part of the Agricultural Marketing and Management Organization’s 2021 winter schedule. More than 90 participants logged onto the Zoom call to hear what the popular geopolitical strategist had to say about politics, global demographics, trade and how the U.S. fits into all of that.

Politics
Zeihan started off with a look at what’s changing in U.S. politics. He said the American political system encourages parties to be “big tent parties” made up of factions and alliances, and in the past five years, traditional relationships (think traditional Republican or Democratic alliances) are breaking down. See more


Use data to drive marketing decisions

March 2021
By Trista Crossley


Successfully growing and then harvesting a wheat crop is only part of growers’ battle to make a living. They also need to know how to get the best price for their grain. Dr. Randy Fortenbery, an economist from Washington State University, provided some strategic commodity marketing tips during a webinar last month.

More than 85 growers joined Fortenbery’s Zoom presentation, which was part of the Agricultural Marketing and Management Organization’s (AMMO) 2021 winter schedule. He began his presentation by telling growers that the objective of marketing is to earn a reasonable return on investment while minimizing the risk associated with achieving a target level of income.

“Often, producers are much more risk seeking when prices are high. They don’t lock those prices in because they think they could go even higher. And they are more risk adverse, meaning they don’t want to take on risk, when prices are quite low, meaning they are willing to lock in prices that are sort of at the bottom end of their historical price experience. That’s backwards, from my perspective, of the way we really want to think about this,” he said. See more


A wild ride through the markets

April 2020
By Trista Crossley


Kevin Duling’s 2020 Agricultural Marketing and Management (AMMO) session take-home message for growers was simple: prediction in the markets isn’t possible, so why try? Instead, he recommended talking to buyers and developing flexible tools to be able to move when/if information becomes available.

Duling is co-founder and manager of KD Investors, a consulting firm dealing with the marketing of grain. While KD Investors is based in Oregon, Duling works with clients throughout the U.S., Canada and Australia.

Duling begin his presentation by inventorying world wheat stocks. Leaving China out of the picture, he said, things look tight. Besides the U.S., the other major wheat exporters—Canada, Australia, Argentina, EU, Black Sea Region—are all likely to run out of wheat to export in June. The U.S. (at the time of his presentation) is projected to have approximately 25.6 million metric tons left in June. See more


Working out the global wheat market

Soft white wheat is only bright spot in outlook

April 2019
By Trista Crossley


According to Darin Newsom, when you talk about wheat, you can’t just talk about U.S. wheat, because out of all the grains, wheat is the most global market of all.

“There’s always a major wheat crop hitting the market somewhere in the world,” he explained. Newsom was the guest presenter at one of February’s Agricultural Marketing and Management Organization (AMMO) seminars. Newsom is a former senior analyst with DTN/The Progressive Farmer. He now owns his own marketing company. “The bottom line is the world is oversupplied with wheat, and there’s a lot of competition out there. Everybody is growing wheat.” See more


Tracking the tariffs

Current trade environment theatens stability of Washington state's agriculture industry

February 2019
By Trista Crossley


Trade, to put it lightly, is a pretty big deal in the Evergreen state.

More than 300 crops are grown here, worth $10.6 billion in 2017. The processed foods sector, in 2016, generated more than $20 billion in revenues, and the value of food and ag products that were exported overseas in 2017 was approximately $6.7 billion.

The current trade environment puts all of that on uncertain ground. Rianne Perry, manager of the Washington State Department of Agriculture’s (WSDA) International Marketing Program, said in regards to the retaliatory tariffs from China, many of Washington’s agricultural products are on at least one of the lists of targeted products, if not more than one. WSDA estimates that approximately $1 billion worth of Washington agricultural exports are at risk from retaliatory tariffs, including those from China, Mexico, Canada, the EU and India. See more