WICHITA – Five representatives from the largest flour mills in Brazil recently visited the United States in order to learn more about the nation’s hard red winter and soft red winter wheat crops.

In this marketing year, Brazilian millers will be the largest importers of U.S. wheat, purchasing nearly 4.3 million metric tons (158 bushels). The visiting executives represent several companies that are among the largest Brazilian wheat buyers.

In order to gain a firsthand perspective of the U.S. hard red winter and soft red winter crops, the trade team visited producers, toured grain handling and milling facilities and met with university researchers in Kansas and Maryland.

U.S. Wheat Associates, the Maryland Grain Producers Utilization Board, the Virginia Small Grains Board and Kansas Wheat sponsored the trade-team visit.

Following a tour of Gavilon Grain in Haysville, the team visited the farm of Scott Van Allen in Clearwater on June 5. There, the millers learned about the condition of Kansas wheat crops this year, how the crop is grown and harvested, and what life is like on a Kansas wheat farm.

After the farm tour, the team ate lunch with the employees from a local cooperative in order to get an even better feel for the professionalism that engaged members of the wheat industry have.

After the luncheon, the millers made their way to Manhattan, Kansas, to meet with professors from Kansas State University, make a trip to the USDA Agricultural Research Service Center for Grain and Animal Health, tour the Hal Ross Flour Mill, and visit the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center.

“This visit was really about being able to see the quality and professionalism of the wheat industry in the U.S.,” said Aaron Harries, marketing director at Kansas Wheat who accompanied the Brazilians on the Kansas leg of the tour.

“We drove from the Wichita area to Manhattan,” said Harries. “What better way is there to see the heart of wheat country?”

“We were very pleased to bring these millers to the United States because we have a unique window of opportunity to build demand for U.S. wheat in this market,” said Osvaldo Seco, USW assistant regional director for South America, who traveled with the team.

After the conclusion of their U.S. wheat industry tour, these executives went back to their mills with a greater understanding and appreciation for the American grain industry, from the field to their mills.

On average, Brazil imports around 260 million bushels of wheat, which makes the South American country one of the world’s top wheat buyers.