“For several years, we worked with selected millers and bakers who made a commitment to using fixed amounts of U.S. wheat and met standards for quality that we established,” Prior said.

“In turn, those organizations earned the right to display an ‘American Quality Wheat’ seal on their products.”

USW ended that program in 2009 as economic challenges diminished the number of program cooperators. With quality demand increasing, however, USW is trying to re-establish the American Quality Wheat program as a value-added business partnership program. 

“We negotiated an agreement with selected customers in Egypt, Yemen, Uganda and the United Arab Emirates who meet our standards,” Prior explained.

“We provide promotional support for flour and wheat products produced with U.S. wheat and the partners brand their products with the seal and can participate in an online website that expands our service. We will also demonstrate the superior results these partners get with U.S. wheat to other millers and bakers in the region.”

Prior also showed that the return on investment in export market development in the region back to the public-private partnership between wheat growers and the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service is strong. He showed that on average, the cost of operating in the region averages about 1.5 cents per bushel sold. 

A Washington state native, Prior has lived and worked in the Middle East, East and North Africa for nearly 35 years, and has worked for U.S. wheat farmers with USW for 22 years. USW is the industry’s market development organization working in more than 100 countries on behalf of America's wheat producers. The activities of USW are made possible by producer checkoff dollars managed by 19 state wheat commissions and through cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.

For more information, visit www.uswheat.org or contact your state wheat commission.