Helena, Mont. – Montana Department of Agriculture (MDA) Director Ben Thomas and Montana Wheat and Barley Committee (MWBC) Executive Vice President Collin Watters are set to visit Japan April 14-20. The trip will involve visits with several millers and government officials and will demonstrate the value Montana places on the trade relationship while also highlighting the state’s willingness to build on the outstanding, long-term business relationship. The group will also celebrate the 35th anniversary of the sister-state relationship with Montana and Kumamoto.
“Montana’s trade relationship with Japan spans decades, and we are excited to visit and advocate on behalf of Montana’s producers,” said MDA Director, Ben Thomas. “Our ag products are world class, and Japanese consumers demand nothing but the best; it is vitally important that we preserve and enhance the relationship and I am looking forward to our visit.”
Montana’s wheat industry counts Japan as its best customer, with the island nation importing approximately 1.2 million metric tons of Montana wheat annually. Japan is heavily invested in Montana’s agriculture industry; Japanese trading houses hold a large portion of Montana’s elevator capacity, and Nippon Flour Mills owns Pasta Montana in Great Falls.
“Japan has been such an important partner to Montana’s wheat industry,” said Collin Watters, MWBC Executive Vice President. “With this being the 50th anniversary of the MWBC, it is important for us to demonstrate our appreciation for Japanese millers, while also reinforcing the importance of our long-standing, mutually beneficial trade relationship.”
The Montana Wheat and Barley Committee’s mission is to protect and foster the health and prosperity of the Montana wheat and barley industry by encouraging scientific research to improve production and quality; maintain current markets; promote new market development; and serve as an educational and informational resource. For more information, visit: www.montanawbc.com.
The Montana Department of Agriculture’s mission is to protect producers and consumers, and to enhance and develop agriculture and allied industries.