Washington and national officials say it's too soon to know what the impact of Japan's suspension of imports of soft white wheat will have on Mid-Columbia growers.
The good news is, U.S. wheat -- soft white and hard red winter and spring -- still is being shipped around the world, said Glen Squires, CEO of the Washington Grain Commission in Spokane.
"There's no outright ban on soft white wheat. It's merely an issue of concern for Japan. They're being cautious," Squires said.
The USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is conducting an investigation into how genetically modified wheat ended up in an 80-acre fallow field in Oregon.
"The whole thing is baffling," said Steve Mercer, vice president of communications for U.S. Wheat Associates in Arlington, Va.
The agribusiness giant Monsanto stopped conducting research on that particular wheat in 2005 and there's never been any indication of it growing anywhere since, Squires said. One of the questions is why Japan singled out soft white wheat.
"I hope the APHIS investigation is very timely. We need to get to the bottom of this, we need some answers. That's important," Squires said.
Mercer, whose organization represents wheat farmers in 19 states, recommends growers ignore the rumors, misinformation and speculation floating about.
"Close your ears," Mercer said. "Wait for the APHIS to finish its investigation. It's the only organization objective enough, and with the ability, to dig into how that wheat got there or if it got out to any extent."