Friday, September 9, 2011

Mexican Millers Visit Idaho Wheat Growers

Clark Johnston, Dennis Brower, Martha Beatriz, Armando Rosales, Armando Orellana, Frank Priestley, and Blaine Jacobsen tour Southeast Idaho wheat producers, Putnam photo

Idaho Farm Bureau Hosts Mexico Wheat Buyers

Ririe--The Idaho Farm Bureau is hosting key Mexican wheat buyers who say the quality of the 2011 crop is the best they’ve seen this year.

“We visited a few growers and as the wheat came off the combines they commented that it was cleanest and most beautiful wheat they’ve seen this year,” said Idaho Farm Bureau President Frank Priestley who hosted the delegation.

The Farm Bureau is hosting buyers Armando Rosales and Martha Beatriz with hopes of making permanent ties with the powerful Bimbo food group of Mexico, Bimbo is the 4th largest food corporation in the world while Idaho ranks 4th in U.S. wheat production.

Their visit to Idaho has a sense of urgency because a drought in Mexico has has cut deep into their supply, and they’re looking for quality wheat to make up for the shortfall.

“Mexico has to import wheat and the drought has put pressure on the market,” said Armando Orellana, of the Idaho Trade office in Guadalajara. “ So people like the buyers with us today have been buying wheat from Canada and other states. So we’re very happy to have them here. Again supply in Mexico is down from the drought and hopefully it means opportunity for growers in Idaho.

According to the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture's crop production report, Idaho winter wheat yields will average 80 bushels per acre compared to 82 bu. last year. It’s the same situation for spring wheat (76 bu. versus 78 a year ago) and spring barley (90 bu. versus 92 bu.)

Despite the numbers, quality is good in a tight market and it’s having an impact in Idaho, The buyers want to inspect the crop with the hopes of buying wheat to supplement their supply.

“All of the Southern States are going to be short on their wheat, and of course Mexico is very short on wheat this year,” said Dennis Brower, Marketing Director of the Idaho Farm Bureau. “The crop they have harvested is going to be very good quality but the number of bushels and tonnage is way down. We think its a good opportunity to get some additional contracts.”

The United States is well positioned to take advantage of the Texas and Mexican drought, according to Clark Johnston, a grain marketer with Agrisource/JC Management, who also was part of the touring delegation.

“We have good varieties. But what they’re impressed with is the size of the kernels, the Kernels have been plump and the grain has been clean and they saw it first hand, they’re not seeing that out of other areas. They’ve seen a lot of dockage and the controlled environment of our wheat is a big deal,” said Johnston.

“My estimation is that this is the best time for the buyers to visit. We want to attract their business so we can export more from Idaho, they are key in all of this,” said Orellana.

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