US bakers joined forces in Washington today (12 March) to draw attention to record high wheat prices and tight supplies.

The American Bakers Association outlined a plan to alleviate the wheat crisis that includes the US Department of Agriculture giving priority to the needs of the domestic food industry with supplies of wheat tightening.

"It is crucial that the White House, our elected representatives, and the Department of Agriculture hear first-hand how bakers and others wheat users, including consumers, are struggling with current market conditions," said Robb MacKie, president and CEO of the American Bakers Association (ABA).

"Wheat markets and commodity markets are behaving in ways that we have not seen before. We believe that extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures."

David Brown, vice president of procurement for Sara Lee and chairman of the ABA commodity task force, said there was "no single fix" to the situation.

The ABA has proposed giving up more land currently under the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and wants the US Department of Agriculture to waive penalties should farmers seek early release from the scheme.

"We strongly believe that implementation of these actions will send important, positive signals to the marketplace at a time when it is critically needed," Brown said.