The Taiwan Flour Mills Association is upping the amount of wheat it buys from the U.S., including from Idaho growers.
The group intends to buy 1.8 million metric tons, or 66.1 million bushels, from the United States in 2018 and 2019, according to the joint communique between the association and the state of Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter signed Wednesday. It is estimated about 10 percent of that wheat is from Idaho.
This will be worth about $576 million nationwide and is up from 1.7 million metric tons in the last two-year agreement, said Laura Johnson, marketing and development bureau chief for the state Department of Agriculture.
“The Taiwan Flour Mills Association and Taiwan government have been sending groups to the United States since 1978,” she said. “We have a longstanding relationship with Taiwan. It’s a very important customer for agriculture for Idaho.”
The reason, she said, is that “the Pacific Northwest and Idaho, we have some of the best-quality and some of the most consistent crops in the world.”
About 5 percent of Idaho's total wheat production ends up in Taiwan. The Taiwanese use it to make breads, pastries, cakes, noodles, cookies and flatbreads, among other products.
Wheat is grown in all but two of Idaho’s 44 counties, with the two big wheat-growing regions being the Palouse and the entire Snake River plain, including in the Magic Valley.
The terms and prices of the individual purchases are negotiated between the importers and suppliers.