As Washington wheat growers, they’ll tell you one of the most important issues right now is trade, or trade deals. Michelle Hennings Executive Director of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers recently visited Japan and the Philippines, meeting with customers who purchase large amounts of Northwest wheat. And this week, Hennings is in DC meeting with federal officials and National Wheat leaders to discuss how to get additional wheat overseas.
She told the Washington Ag Network said not being in TPP is detrimental for Northwest wheat growers.
“What’s going to happen is that we’re going to get stuck at a high level for tariffs, and the other countries are going to be coming down, therefore causing our customers to buy from our competitors. We don’t want to see that.”
In 2016, Japan imported $1.4 billion worth of wheat, 45% from the U.S. It was the #2 market for soft white, and the #1 market for club wheat grown in the Northwest.
As far as the DC trip is concerned, Hennings said they plan to meet with Washington’s Congressional delegation to discuss their concerns. What will it take for Hennings to consider this week’s trip to DC a success?
“I’m not sure what will be positive yet because we are so worried about trade. There’s other issues we’re also going to be discussing crop insurance, conservation, Farm Bill as you noted, research, and those are all important topics, and until we know what kind of budget there is, we need to keep pushing our issues as hard as we can.”
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