Published May 1, 2004 | May 2004 issue
More North Dakota wheat will soon be making its way to China, thanks to growing demand, easing trade restrictions and new diplomatic ties.
With 1.3 billion people, China is the world's largest wheat consumer, using 100 million metric tons annually. But it produces only 86 million metric tons and is looking to the United States to meet the shortfall.
In early March, the China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Import and Export Commission sent a delegation, along with some embassy officials, to meet with North Dakota wheat producers. The Chinese officials displayed confidence in the state's grain production and said they would be interested in setting up a long-term relationship.
Earlier that week, the Chinese announced they would buy 110 million bushels, or roughly 3 million metric tons, of wheat from the United States. It is unclear how much of that will come from North Dakota, but it will likely be a substantial amount since the state is the nation's second largest wheat producer.