By Mary Palmer Sullivan
From the offices of the Washington Grain Commission, we never forget that numbers representing soft white wheat exports are part of a vital industry made up of thousands of people feeding millions more. But it’s important to be reminded.
Which is probably why Glen Squires, the grain commission’s CEO, suggested I take part in U.S. Wheat Associates’ (USW) board team travel to Taiwan and the Philippines earlier this year. These trips, organized by USW, occur annually and are intended to provide board members and select state staff with the opportunity to evaluate the overseas personnel and the programs being implemented on behalf of America’s wheat farmers.
As I traveled, I did so with an eye focused on Pacific Northwest wheat interests. Let me say up front that I was very impressed by the caliber of USW’s overseas staff and the relationships they have with our customers, not to mention their attention to detail and unfailingly positive attitude.
Casey Chumrau, a policy analyst with USW, led our team, which also included Leonard Schock of the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee and Bob Delsing of the Nebraska Wheat Board. It was quite a group, and while a business trip can’t ever be considered “fun,” it came pretty close at times.
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