Hello Kansas Wheat.
I attended the Wheat Quality Council’s annual meeting last week. They introduced their new executive VP, Dave Green, who is taking over from Ben Handcock, and I’m sure he’ll do a good job in that role.
Dave asked me what would I do about “quality”.
I pulled out the meeting brochure, and said…” your panel this afternoon looks great. I’m really looking forward to it. You’ve got a wheat breeder, which is Step 1 in the overall wheat chain. And you’ve got a good wheat farmer, Step 2, and you have a smart miller, Step 4, and a big baker, Step 5. But you’re missing a key player, Step 3, the grain handler/merchant/middle man…whatever you want to call him. IF he does not want to participate in the “quality” ballgame, you are wasting your time. And as we export about 50% of the wheat we grow, I’d also like to hear from Step 6, the exporter.”
Dave looked at me, said “Thanks”, and moved on. I don’t know what he thought of my answer.
It reminded me of a meeting with John Oades a decade or so earlier, when we were working on trying to get funding for a second round of a Hard White Wheat Incentive. We stayed up late, and crafted what I thought was a killer plan. It was innovative, and inclusive. It’s KEY strategy, which was missing from the first incentive payment, was it included a small (10c/bu) payment directly to the first grain handler (what I call The Originator). Oades recognized the brilliancy of my plan, and took it to the national wheat growers for approval.
The plan was not approved, to my disappointment, and I remain convinced it’s because the wheat growers did not want a direct payment going to the grain handler.
I believe to this day, that any good and lasting changes to the US wheat industry will be much easier to accomplish with the grain handlers active support than without, and in fact, without their support, good and lasting changes probably will not occur.
Switching gears a bit…the moderator of that panel talked of his experience with the Certified Angus Beef marketing program, which I found quite intriguing.
Does Certified Angus Beef bring in more revenue to beef cattle producers?
Is there a Certified US Best Hard Winter Wheat? Could there be? Should there be? What about a Certified US Best Spring Wheat?
I don’t know…I do know that Canada has a Canadian Western Red Spring (CWRS) program, and that wheat does indeed seem to trade at a premium in the market place. I also know this: their entire grain handling system treats their CWRS as a different wheat than their other spring wheats. Is the premium “worth it”? Beats me. I say “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. I drive a Toyota; some guys drive BMW’s. Those BMW’s trade at a premium. Are they “worth it”? Not to me. But I admit if it was a Mercedes?…maybe.
Source: Kansas Association of Wheat Growers