- Associated Press - Friday, August 8, 2014

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Representatives of the Italian milling industry are visiting North Dakota to learn more about hard red spring wheat, the state’s staple crop.

The North Dakota Wheat Commission says the Italian team includes a representative of the largest spring wheat broker in Italy and also officials with medium-size, family owned milling companies in that country.

Friday’s schedule included visits to North Dakota State University and the Northern Crops Institute in Fargo and to an area grain elevator.

Italy imported nearly 10 million bushels of U.S. hard red spring wheat in the 2013 marketing year, up from the five-year average of 7.3 million bushels. The country typically accounts for about half of the spring wheat demand in the European Union.

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