Quality Wheat in Montana

Quality Wheat in Montana

August 25, 2016

NASHVILLE, Tenn (RFD-TV) As harvest continues across the Northern Plains, The Northern Ag Network’s Russell Nemetz reports on new research: Helping farmers raise the high quality wheat that world wheat buyers love.

Russell Nemetz begins, “New technologies and innovations in plant breeding are blazing an exciting trail for wheat growers.” 

Nemetz caught up with Jane Demarchi, Vice President of Government and Regulatory Affairs for the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA), to discuss the upcoming wheat production developments that begin with the seed.

Demarchi applauds the new advancements saying, “The possibilities are endless.” She continues, “ASTA’s mission is to be an effective voice of action in all matters concerning the development, marketing and movement of seed, associated products and services throughout the world. ASTA promotes the development of better seed to produce better crops for a better quality of life.”

Nemetz also notes that, “Demarchi was one of the presenters at the U.S. Wheat Associates Latin American and Caribbean Wheat Buyers Conference in Portland, Oregon, and she says these advancements in plant breeding are also good news for world wheat buyers who look to the United States for high quality wheat in volume.”

Demarchi discusses multiple areas that are being sculpted to aide in top quality wheat production. 

“Activities include: enhancing the visibility of seed issues in the public arena; advocating industry-wide positions on policy issues; informing members about environmental and conservation issues and new developments in plant breeding, such as the use of modern biotechnology; and conducting meetings to inform members about seed issues.”

This new research is ground-breaking, both figuratively and literally. GM wheat has yet to make an appearance in the United States for a variety of reasons, most of which revolve around the GMO vs. non-GMO debate. However, these new breeding techniques will not necessarily fall into the GMO category because the seeds can actually be produced through classical breeding. 

It is important to keep in mind that wheat is used mainly for human consumption, as opposed to corn and soybeans, which are used primarily for livestock feed and ethanol. 

The vast majority of consumers want their food to be 100% natural. They fear that any modification of a seed's genotype will compromise the quality of their food. At the end of the day, the consumer makes the ultimate decision: Which crop, GM or natural, will sell to buyers for food processing?

That answer lies within the knowledge of the consumer. Jane Demarchi and the ASTA are trying to diminish the battle lines between GMO and non-GMO. Keeping the consumer informed and updated on this new research will play a huge role in that feat. 

Concluding this exciting interview, Nemetz makes an excellent point. 

“Whether you’re a grower or a consumer, these new technologies and innovations in plant breeding are helping to meet the world’s demand for food, feed, fiber and fuel.”

According to the USDA’s most recent report, wheat harvest in Montana is 53% complete compared to the 5 year average of 39%.

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