April 23, 2012
LANSING, MICH. - The new Michigan Wheat Program (MWP), the state's wheat check-off program announced that they will begin assessment collection on May 1.The funds collected will be used for research, education, market development and promotion of Michigan wheat.
The MWP was approved by the state's wheat farmers in July 2011. The program will benefit the state's 8,000 wheat farmers residing in more than 50 counties who annually plant 600,000 to 700,000 acres. Those acres produce a 40 million bushel crop with cash farm receipts of more than 180 million. In total the wheat industry has an annual $2.7 billion economic impact.
All wheat grown in Michigan and sold is to be checked-off, or assessed. Michigan farmers grow both red and white wheat and hard and soft wheat. They are all assessed, including seed wheat, as of May 1. The assessment rate is one half of one percent (.005) of the net value of the wheat. Net value of the wheat is the price received by the farmer after discounts have been taken. Each bushel shall be assessed only once and the assessment comes out of the payment to the farmer, as the farmers voted in the mandatory assessment program.
Wheat farmers interested in serving on the board and setting the direction of the program completed the process of gathering petition signatures and submitting their applications to the Governor's Appointments Office for consideration of a board appointment.
The board was appointed by Governor Snyder in November 2011. The board is comprised of David Milligan, Chair, Cass City; Art Loeffler, Vice Chair, Star of the West in Frankenmuth; Chris Schmidt, Secretary, Auburn; Scott Heussner, Treasurer, Marlette; Gerald Heck, Monroe; William Hunt, Davison; Dean Kantola, Ravenna; Carl Sparks, Cassopolis; and Frank Vyskocil, New Lothrop. They held their first meeting in December 2011. The board has met every month since they were appointed and have worked through the necessary steps to begin assessment collection on May 1, 2012.
Similar to other check-off programs, the MWP, was voted in for five years. At the end of the five years, the program will go back to a vote of the farmers to decide whether or not their money was well spent and the industry moved forward.