European Durum Team to visit North Dakota

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A group of millers, traders and representatives of pasta manufacturing companies from the EU will be in North Dakota on June 13 to familiarize themselves with the marketing system for U.S. durum.  The team will be hosted by the North Dakota Wheat Commission (NDWC) and U.S. Wheat Associates (USW).  The goal of the visit is to strengthen the group’s knowledge of the U.S. durum market system – from field to storage to milling and pasta manufacturing.  They will meet with researchers, traders and others in the industry to form long standing relationships to reinforce and strengthen their demand for U.S. durum.

Team members are from Belgium, Italy and Spain and represent some of the largest durum mills, pasta plants and trading companies in the region.  The milling companies on the team grind 42 million bushels of durum each year, representing a huge market opportunity.  The three countries combined import about 13 million bushels of U.S. durum each year and this year are on pace to purchase nearly 15 million bushels.

The team will be in Minot where they will get an update on the 2011 durum situation and supply from NDWC and North Dakota State University extension staff.  They will also visit with durum researchers from NDSU, and make stops at Minot Milling and SunPrairie Grain.  While the focus of their visit is the long term viability of U.S. durum and gaining important contacts in the industry, the group will also be very interested in the progress of the 2011 crop which has been significantly delayed and reduced in acres due to excessive rains. Erica Olson, NDWC Marketing Specialist notes, “While we are aware there will be significant challenges with this year’s crop and supplies may be limited, our focus will be on educating the team about the U.S. durum system and our efforts to provide them with the best quality durum for their products.  Developing and sustaining export markets is a long-term project and trade teams combined with the work done overseas by USW are essential to providing service to our customers.”

The team will be accompanied by Goris van Lit, Regional Director of the USW Rotterdam office, who adds that the visit will help attract European customers to U.S. durum.  “This activity will strengthen the relationship between the team members and those in the U.S. durum industry and will show them the reliability and quality of U.S. durum,” according to van Lit.  The team will also make stops in Montana, California and Arizona.

Source: ND Wheat Commission


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