The group spoke some English and some of these polite young gentlemen could converse better than others, so Charlie was helpful in making sure the millers understood all that was going on.
Japan currently buys approximately five million tons of imported wheat, mainly from the U.S., Canada and Australia. Last year, the U.S. supplied about 65% of this volume. Generally the Japanese customers are satisfied with the current quality of the wheat, but there have been some complaints about frequent contamination of other grains in the cargoes. Japanese customers' keen concerns include food safety that include farm chemicals, allergens and GM (genetically modified) crops. The flour millers want to increase their knowledge about the U.S. system to supply safe and clean wheat, so this is the objective for their visit. Hopefully after this whirlwind visit, the trade team will have a better understanding of the U.S. wheat breeding practices, production, and marketing/handling systems that are used in our country. It will also gave the millers a first hand look about bulk grain transportation from the farmers' hands to the seaboard elevators. These team members are the ones directly involved in the production of the flour used in their country and some of them are engaged in research and development for the flour mix. So this visit is to increase their confidence that the U.S. farmer is working diligently to produce the quality of product they and their customers desire and hopefully they will be more partial to our product and purchase more.
The dinner was a great success and our guests loved the menu: Steaks, potato salad, garb/zucchini salad, bread from Panhandle Bakery, fresh fruit salad and for dessert a black forest pound cake and lemon tart. We served a local wine from Clearwater Canyon. Here are more pic's of the evening.