EATON — A team made up of three female wheat purchasing managers from Venezuela stopped in at the Preble County Fair while in the country learning about the U.S. wheat industry.
The team made up of Laura Paz, purchasing and quality manager for Pastas Capri; Violeta Rosales, purchasing manager for Molinas Hidalgo and Jenny Villasuso, purchasing manager for MONACA, also included Chad Weigand, assistant regional director for U.S. Wheat Associates. The group stopped in Preble County on Friday, Aug. 5, during their tour which began July 31 in Fargo, North Dakota.
Rachael Vonderhaar, Secretary of the Ohio Small Grains Checkoff, hosted the mission group while in Preble County, giving them a tour of her farm in Camden before sharing the PC Fair tour.
“For me personally, I appreciate the opportunity to meet my buyers that are looking for the product we are raising,” Vonderhaar said.
“It gives me a better understanding of what they are looking for. It gives us the opportunity to educate about how we farm and the products that we raise. This is a good way to market for us,” she added.
“We always try to bring the perspective of a farmer in and that’s where Rachael as a board member becomes very valuable,” Brad Moffitt, Director of Market and Development and Membership of Ohio Corn and Wheat Growers Association, said.
The buyers had an opportunity to visit with 4-H and FFA members during dinner.
“Very interesting,” Paz said of the trip, through a translator. “It’s been very interesting for (us) to see the whole process.”
According to officials, there are currently 19 flour mills in Venezuela operated by 13 milling companies. Cargill, MONACA, MOCASA, Molvenca, Polar, Molinos Hidalgo, and Pastas Capri are the largest milling companies. While the Venezuelan market remains a large consumer of wheat, the operating milling capacity has fallen sharply over the past year due to government intervention in wheat purchases, officials noted in a tour brochure. The country is also experiencing a severe shortage of access U.S. dollars, making wheat imports increasingly difficult.
The goals of the trade team mission was to educate team members on the U.S. wheat marketing structure from farm to export elevator. The team also hoped to gain a better understanding of hard red spring, hard red winter, soft red winter and durum wheat breeding programs and the work being completed to improve the quality of U.S. wheat.
MONACA is the second largest milling group in Venezuela. MONACA operates five mills and is an importer of hard red spring wheat, hard red winter wheat, soft red winter wheat, and durum wheat.
Pastas Capri is one of Venezuela’s top pasta producers. Venezuela ranks second globally behind Italy in pasta consumption at an estimated 13 kilograms per person. Pastas Capri operates one durum mill. Pastas Capri is an importer of hard amber durum and hard red winter wheat.
Molinos Hidalgo operates one mill located in Catia La Mar. Molinos Hidalgo primarily imports hard red spring wheat, but also occasionally imports hard red winter wheat.