Export markets are very important to the U.S. wheat industry, especially when you consider that 50% of all U.S. wheat produced each year is exported. To help assist these important export customers, the U.S. Wheat Associates (USW) has introduced the first digital map of the U.S. wheat production and supply system as a visual planning tool for its overseas representatives and their customers.
“This map is a system that's based on really geographical information that that helps our customers better understand where the wheat they want is coming from and how it gets to their export elevator that they're working with” said U.S. Wheat Associates Vice President of Communications Steve Mercer.
With six distinct wheat classes grown across many states and delivered by many routes, the U.S. wheat supply chain truly is driven by geography. Montana farmers produce some of the highest quality wheat available. That’s why this map is so important, according to Cassidy Marn of the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee.
“We have a lot of good things going for us. We have great producers. We have the perfect climate and the perfect location to do it,” said Marn. “We're also strategically placed to be able to serve that Pacific Rim area. We have a great quality product and we're the closest logistically. So, in order to be able to showcase that with an interactive map like this with these features and just to stay up to date, there's so many changes in the elevator system, so regularly, just being able to have that constant feedback and updates on how they can access us is very helpful.”
The new interactive map is especially important now, since COVID-19 has limited or even restricted in person meeting or trade missions.
“It's a virtual system” said Mercer. “The buyer and our representative can call this map up on their own computers and walk through it, so the timing was excellent.”
The “USW Wheat Export Supply System” map is posted on the USW website at www.uswheat.org and was built in cooperation with Heartland GIS using funds from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service Agricultural Trade Promotion program.