Michigan wheat farmers are preparing to vote this spring on whether or not to establish a state checkoff to fund research and promotional efforts that will benefit their crops and businesses.
A referendum to establish a Michigan Wheat Program will be conducted from June 20 through July 1 by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).
If approved, the program would establish a proposed maximum assessment of up to one half of one percent (0.5 percent) of the value of wheat sold, generating an estimated $600,000 annually.
That money would be administered by a committee of nine members appointed by the state’s governor, including eight Michigan wheat producers and one industry representative.
For the program to be adopted, more than 50 percent of the votes cast, representing more than 50 percent of total bushels, must approve the proposal. The Michigan Farm Bureau is urging “yes” votes, and NAWG is supportive of the effort.
Voting forms, called Official Wheat Return Forms, will be mailed to the approximately 8,000 Michigan wheat producers of record on June 17.
Eligible producers are those who have produced any market wheat in quantity beyond that person’s own family use, and who have a value at first point-of-sale of more than $800 in any one growing season within the last three years.
All Official Wheat Referendum Return Forms must be postmarked no later than July 1.
Eligible producers not receiving an Official Wheat Referendum Return Form after June 20 should contact MDARD, the organization conducting the referendum under Michigan law, by e-mailing merrilld (at) michigan.gov or calling toll-free to (800) 292-3939.
The referendum of Michigan wheat producers was authorized by MDARD Director Keith Creagh after his review of testimony given at two public hearings in March and written testimony submitted to the Department.
Much more about the referendum, including a copy of the Director’s order and the proposed Michigan Wheat Program, is at www.michigan.gov/mda.