Wonderful Washington Wheat
(The following is an excerpt from the publication; “Washington Wheat Facts 2015/2016” presented by the Washington Grain Commission.)
Just how important is wheat production in Washington State? According to the Washington Grain Commission, very important!
There is more land planted to wheat in the world than any other crop. Wheat provides 20-percent of the world’s caloric consumption, and for the world’s poorest, 50-percent. (Wheat accounts for 20-percent of their protein consumption too.)
In Washington State, for every dollar of income generated by wheat farming, 51-cents is earned by businesses that support farmers. Match that with the value of off-farm purchases by farmers and their employees, and each wheat farming dollar generates an additional 98-cents of economic activity; much of it in rural areas where agriculture serves as a crucial anchor of small towns and regional economies.
Eastern Washington’s 3,715 wheat farmers support another 3,406 off-farm jobs through the businesses that serve them. An additional 4,013 jobs are sustained by the personal spending of farmers, their families and employees for a total of 11,134 jobs that depend upon the Washington State’s wheat crop.
Although wheat is also grown on the west side of the state, the majority of farms are concentrated east of the Cascade Mountains. Eastern Washington farmers predominantly grow two kinds of soft white wheat. Common varieties have elongated heads. About 80-percent of Washington’s soft white crop in any year is planted to common varieties.
Club wheat migrated to the Northwest from South America, and before that, Spain. It is even softer than soft white, and has a unique compact head shape. Club wheat is super soft! Certain countries, especially Japan, buy club wheat in a 10 to 20-percent blend with common varieties creating the Western White wheat blend.
Wheat is a type of grass, and eastern Washington’s cool nights and warm days are ideal for its production. Although North Dakota recently overtook Kansas as the number-one wheat producing state in the nation, neither has the diversity of climates that makes Washington so unique. In Washington, it’s possible for farmers to grow: soft white wheat, hard red winter wheat, hard red spring wheat and hard white wheat.
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Download and read a copy of “Washington Wheat Facts 2015/2016” presented by the Washington Grain Commission.