“It’s not every day you get to stand in a wheat field in the middle of The (National) Mall in Washington, D.C.,” the Brandon, Colo., farmer said by cell phone as he arrived in Washington.

Three days shy of getting next year’s crop in the ground, Chris Tallman took off for Washington, D.C. to see something he sees every day — and doesn’t see every day.

“It’s not every day you get to stand in a wheat field in the middle of The (National) Mall in Washington, D.C.,” the Brandon, Colo., farmer said by cell phone as he arrived in Washington.

Wheat growers from around the country converged in the nation’s capital on Thursday and Friday to assemble and operate a portable urban wheat field –– a massive display that included wheat at all stages of growth, along with a full-size combine and demonstration flour mills.

“We’re calling it a farm-to-fork experience,” said Mike Schulte, executive director of the Oklahoma Wheat Commission, who was also one of roughly 60 wheat representatives arriving from 15 states.

For two days, industry leaders prepared cookies and cinnamon rolls in a mobile bakery, demonstrated the milling process and visited with consumers and legislators about what’s involved in getting wheat from the field to the table. Against the backdrop of a mock grocery store aisle, registered dietitians offered lessons in wheat nutrition, which included how to read nutrition labels, identify whole grain foods and determine proper serving sizes.

“This is a great opportunity for the wheat industry to enlighten and delight consumers and influencers with our story in a unique, attention-grabbing way,” said David Moore, who produces wheat in Dumas, Texas, and is chairman of the Denver-based Wheat Foods Council. “We’re congregating everything from the farm to the grocery store and placing it in a central location.”

Many growers feel like D.C. is the perfect venue for shining light on the importance of U.S. wheat production.


“We’re going to combine it into a lobbying trip and talk to our legislators about issues like (the conservation reserve program) and the farm bill,” Tallman explained. “I think it will be a very worthwhile trip.”

The first “urban wheat field” was held two years ago in New York City. Photos and YouTube videos are available on the Wheat Foods Council website at www.WheatFoods.org. The council offers a similar interactive farm-to-fork experience online at www.HowWheatWorks.com.