U.S. Wheat Associates
Steve Wirsching is Vice President and Director of U.S. Wheat Associates (USW), West Coast Office located in Portland, Oregon. Steve has served US wheat producers for over 25 years in various positions and capacities with USW. He joined USW in 1992 as Assistant Director, West Coast Office, and in 1997 became Assistant Regional Director for the South American region in Santiago, Chile. In 1998, Steve transferred to Mexico City, as Assistant Regional Director where he helped to open a new office. In May of 2009, he moved to Portland, Oregon to serve as the Director of the West Coast Office, where he was promoted to Vice President in 2011. The West Coast office provides market development support services for the 15 USW offices worldwide. Steve’s responsibilities include building customer relations, supporting market development programs with a focus on wheat quality, purchase specifications and supply chain management. He also works closely with the 18 state wheat commissions and is a liaison with the U.S. grain export trade. Steve has traveled extensively and is fluent in Spanish, having lived in Latin America for more than 12 years.
Prompted by the need for technical service, a coalition of like-minded agriculture groups, including USW and the Oregon Wheat Commission, worked to secure a $6.5 million federal grant to create the Wheat Marketing Center (WMC) in 1989. This market development effort was championed by the wheat industry and Oregon’s own Senator Mark Hatfield.
Over the last three decades, WMC has become a leader in the area of Asian product knowledge with the noodle pilot plant and reached new levels of technical service with the installation of a pilot cracker and biscuit line. WMC, working with USW, has introduced Asian style noodles in Nigeria and Central America, creating additional demand for U.S. origin wheats. WMC is a non-profit research and teaching institution, conducting several independent short courses as well as hosting workshops that promote the quality and end use functionality of U.S. wheat for overseas customers, the U.S. domestic industry and for wheat producers alike.