What kind of wheat?
The major class of wheat grown in Washington is soft white. Soft white wheat is used mainly for bakery products other than bread. Examples include pastries, cakes, and cookies. It is also used for cereals, flat breads and crackers. It has a lower protein content and weak gluten.
An important bread wheat, Hard Red Spring wheat, is used in mass-produced pan breads, and hearth or artisan breads or rolls. It generally has high protein and strong gluten. (Gluten is what interacts with yeast and allows bread to rise -- certainly a necessary factor in bread baking.) Washington farmers are growing more and more of this type of wheat each year.
- Wheat’s folic acid prevents certain birth defects and may lower the risk of heart disease, strokes, and some cancers. Phytonutrients contain an assortment of antioxidants and phytoestrogens.
Biotechnology, a complement to traditional plant breeding, (click on the picture for current info)
Washington wheat families provide jobs
- There are roughly 5,000 active wheat farmers in Washington State and nearly all wheat farms in our state are owned and operated by families.
- Family wheat farms are one of the largest economic drivers in Eastern Washington.
- In 2012, the Washington wheat production industry contributed about $1.18 billion in production value to the state's economy.
- More than 25,000 jobs are tied to wheat farming in Washington.
Who buys Washington Wheat?
The bulk, approximately 80-90% of the state’s grain is exported. It is shipped out of the Pacific Northwest ports along the Columbia River. This grain goes to eastern nations such as Japan, The Phillipines,Taiwan and South Korea. Yemen is also a major importer of Washington wheat.
- A family of four could live 10 years off the bread produced by one acre of wheat.