Visitors from China learn about wheat system in Walla Walla

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Guangzhou Huaren Grain Trading Co., Ltd.'s Qin Ling, deputy general manager, left, and Chun Xin Huang, general manager, examine seeding equipment at the Cochran farm.

A group of wheat buyers from the People's Republic of China visited Walla Walla last weekend as part of a U.S. tour to learn more about America's wheat system.

Executives from Guangzhou Huraen Grain Trading Co. Ltd. are on a tour of the America's wheat country this week for a deeper understanding of U.S. wheat handling and export systems. The visitors are buyers for an agency that holds import/export rights for cereal and feed grains. Their visit is intended to position the U.S. as the best option to help meet their needs, said Matt Weimar, regional vice president for the U.S. Wheat Associates' People's Republic of China/Hong Kong areas, in an announcement.

Weimar, who is leading the team on its tour, said the organization is a purchasing agent for several Chinese flour millers that need "imported, high-quality wheat to blend with domestic wheat to help meet increasing demand for more premium wheat food products."

The stop in Walla Walla included a tour of Northwest Grain Growers. Operations Manager John Crane, Seed Plant Manager Mike Klicker and Nat Webb, chairman of the Washington Grain Commission, hosted the visitors last Saturday.

The group's itinerary includes visits with the Oregon Wheat Commission, the Wheat Marketing Center, the Washington Grain Commission, the Nebraska Wheat Board, the Chicago Board of Trade and U.S. grain-trading companies.

U.S. Wheat Associates offers personalized consultation in China for flour millers and wheat food processors. Consultations and presentations highlight the benefits of using U.S. wheat in whole grain products.

In the first four months of the current marketing year, China has imported more than 11 million bushels of U.S. wheat. That includes 5.3 million bushels of U.S. hard red spring, 2.6 million bushels of soft white and 3 million bushels of soft red winter wheat -- more than double what China imported in 2010-11.

Weimar said the team will also consider opportunities to import U.S. wheat in containers, a delivery method preferred over bulk vessel shipments in many parts of China. Australia is reportedly meeting Chinese container load demand of as much as 18 million bushels per year, the announcement explained.

•••

Hot Mama's Espresso is joining forces with Wreaths Across America for a nationwide veterans remembrance.

The Walla Walla business is seeking sponsorships for wreaths that will be placed on veterans' graves for a Dec. 10 ceremony, co-owner Cathy Rasley said.

Wreaths cost $15 each. According to the announcement, 2,500 veterans are buried in Walla Walla, some dating back to the Civil War.

Hot Mama's will accept donations up to Nov. 15 at its business location, 1447 W. Pine St. The local remembrance ceremony will take place at 9 a.m. Dec. 10 at Mountain View Cemetery. For more information call 529-4298 or visit wreathsacrossamerica.org.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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