From Farmer to Consumer

Sharing the wonder and inner workings of the wheat industry from the farm to the miller to the baker to the end consumer is one of the goals of the Wheat Foods Council, which recently held its annual board meeting in San Antonio, Texas, in February 2024. Building those connections along the wheat value chain is a major role of the organization, according to Kansas wheat farmer Ron Suppes, who is chairing the Wheat Foods Council this year.

“One of the aspects of the Wheat Foods Council I really enjoy is the ability to talk to different industries connected with wheat,” Suppes said. “It’s not just wheat farmers. This is millers and bakers who are also members, so you’re able to get a really good perspective of what’s going on out there in the industry. Plus, I’m able to interact with them and spread the word about farming and what’s involved.”

Suppes assumed his role as WFC chairman at the organization’s summer board meeting in Denver in June 2023. He and his wife Shirley, along with son Shayne, farm roughly 12,000 acres in west central Kansas. Wheat and sorghum make up their primary crops. Suppes has served as a Kansas wheat commissioner since 2003, serving as chairman in 2013-2014, and serves as chairman of the Kansas Wheat Commission Research Foundation.

Suppes has also traveled extensively overseas with U.S. Wheat Associates as a member of the USW Board of Directors, having served as chairman of the wheat industry’s export market development arm from 2007-2008.

Growers like Suppes are an important voice in the Wheat Foods Council, which was established by wheat producers in 1972 to promote the entire category of wheat-based foods, including baked goods, cereal, crackers, pasta, sweet goods and tortillas. Since then, the organization has established itself as a leading source of science-based information on wheat and grain foods nutrition.

At the council’s meeting in February, SRG Marketing Firm, a marketing agency representing the Wheat Foods Council, reviewed the first half of the 2023-2024 marketing program coined “Research, Recipes, Resources.” In the first seven months of this work, the firm reported progress from an updated logo for the Wheat Foods Council, reports on declining search engine results for low-carb and gluten-free diets and use of information from the council by the Oregon Public Broadcasting Service. Recipes like breakfast pitas and blueberry-maple granola are gaining popularity, especially in fitness apps and online subscriptions. The firm also reported on the success of messages on the wonders of wheat, crowd-pleasing taste, sustained energy and plant-powered nutrition.

Close to Suppes’ heart, the firm is also working on messaging related to the concept that consumers trust growers and trust family farms. The goal of the campaign is to tie producers to consumers.

Next June, the organization’s summer meeting will come to Manhattan, Kansas. Suppes explained the plan is to highlight the Kansas Wheat Innovation Center, the Hal Ross Flour Mill and the IGP Institute, along with some of the brightest minds in the global wheat industry. Then, he’ll pass the baton to Mark Hotze, Vice President, North America of Corbion, who currently serves as the council’s vice chair.

Learn more about the Wheat Foods Council at