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Montana Ag Network: Mexico’s impact on U.S. wheat industry

Posted: 2:17 PM, Jun 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-06-06 16:17:49-04

Many Montana farmers raise quality wheat and barley and that’s why it’s in demand by international millers and bakers. A growing market for Montana wheat and barley is Mexico.

This week, leaders from both countries met in Cancun for a special Mexico Wheat Trade Conference hosted by the U.S. Wheat Associates. Chris Kolstad is the U.S. Wheat Associate’s chairman from Ledger, Montana and explains why Mexico is important to U.S. farmers like him.

“Mexico has been a good friend of ours for a lot of years,” said Kolstad. “They’re our southern border friend and one of our top five importers of U.S. wheat around the world. So they’re a very important market for us.”

Francisco Salas is a wheat buyer for Harinas in Chihuahua, Mexico and he appreciates the longstanding relationship with the U.S. wheat industry.

“We have a long history of using U.S. wheat in the northern part of Mexico because we are really close,” said Salas. “A lot of the procurement of wheat we do, it’s from the railroad coming from Kansas to the El Paso on down into Chihuahua, which is not far away. So, we have a long history of getting wheat. From Kansas, northern Oklahoma and Texas and it’s a relationship we cherish a lot. We’ve been doing business for a long time before and we’re looking forward to upholding that for years to come.”

As the population continues to grow in Latin America, Montana Wheat and Barley Committee board member Denise Conover from Broadview sees a lot of opportunity for U.S. farmers.

“We may not ship a lot of wheat to Mexico out of Montana, but we do a lot of barley and that helps producers across the United States with supply and demand and we all know that’s what drives our prices,” said Conover. “So, anytime we can sell wheat out of the U.S. that’s a good thing for everybody.”

As for the future of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), conference attendees are hopeful all three countries will eventually ratify the new trade agreement to help increase the U.S. wheat industry’s export business.

 -Reported by Russell Nemetz/MTN News