Though international markets are opening, supply glut and storage limitations threaten price, harvest

Despite South Korean Flower Mills resuming the purchase of soft white wheat from the Pacific Northwest after a farmer in Eastern Oregon found genetically modified wheat on his farm in May, some farmers are still feeling the pressure of halted markets.

“The price is still falling,” said Marie Gadotti, who owns Gadotti Farming with her husband Joseph and grows 140 acres of soft white wheat on her Scappoose farm. “We’re suspicious it’s going to keep falling.”

Gadotti said that even though South Korea is purchasing from the Northwest again, grain elevators in the area have been “plugged up” for so long that there is currently no room for producers of soft white wheat.

“I don’t know how much of the old inventory is gone now,” she said. “We need the old inventory to get going to make room for us...the unknown is still out there. The price falling is not a positive outlook for us.”

Since wheat farmers throughout the Pacific Northwest have been experiencing the same problem, the product is going to be even more difficult to move due to market competition, Gadotti said. If farmers can’t move their grain, they also run the risk of it sprouting, which would drop the price even more.

“It we all get caught and can’t harvest, the more chance you have of that happening,” Gadotti said. “If the rains come in, it’ll happen to a whole mess of people, you’d have to put it in storage.”

Gadotti said she hasn’t had sprouted grain for several years, but added that there aren’t many alternative options to sell wheat in the area as Portland has only two big grain elevators.

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