Welcome to the website of the Michigan Wheat Program, the check-off program for Michigan wheat farmers. The Michigan Wheat Program was voted in by the state’s wheat farmers in July 2011 and reaffirmed through a continuation vote in 2016.
The program benefits the state’s nearly 8,000 wheat farmers who grow wheat in more than 50 of Michigan’s 83 counties.
The rich farmland and natural rainfall of the Great Lakes region, makes Michigan an optimum location for filling America’s breadbasket. The state is home to thousands of farms that raise wheat along with corn, soybeans and other row crops like dry beans and sugar beets.
Michigan grows winter soft red and white wheat, most of which is milled locally and baked into consumer foodstuffs in the Great Lakes region by such well-known companies as Chelsea Milling owner of the Jiffy brand, General Mills, Kellogg Company, King Milling, Knappen Milling, Kraft Foods, Mennel Milling, Mondelez International owner of Nabisco and other brands, Post Foods and Star of the West.
Where wheat is grown
Wheat is grown in most Michigan counties in most years. The graph at right shows the eight districts of the Michigan Wheat Program and the average annual quantity of wheat grown in each district (given in thousands of bushels).
Weather conditions such as an early winter or a late fall harvest of corn and soybeans, often result in less wheat being planted. Worldwide market pricing and a farmers’ crop rotation also impact the amount of wheat planted.
On average, farmers plant slightly more than 500,000 acres of wheat annually. In 2016, a record production year, farmers harvested 51 million bushels of wheat from 610,000 acres. The five-year average production figure is closer to 39 million bushels.
Wheat farmers in the Great Lakes state established a new record yield in 2016, of 89 bushels of wheat per acre! That’s well above the national average yield of 55.3 bushels per acre. There are six different classes of wheat, and several varieties of each class are grown for different markets and uses. Michigan produces both red and white winter wheat.
Michigan’s top-five wheat producing counties are Huron, Sanilac, Lenawee, Tuscola and Saginaw.
Michigan Wheat Program is farmers’ advocate
The Michigan Wheat Program was created and voted in by the state’s wheat farmers as a commodity check-off organization to advance the interests of wheat grown here. The program has grown since then utilizing a 0.5 percent assessment on farmers in Michigan who grow and sell their wheat.
The funds are used for:
- Communication and
- Market development for Michigan wheat.
Wheat matters to Michigan economy
Significant opportunities lie on the horizon for Michigan wheat farmers, in part because these value-added processors are located in the state and they prefer to source locally. Michigan-grown soft winter wheat has a distinctive profile and is preferred in recipes used by many manufacturers of cereal, cakes, cookies, crackers, pastries and pretzels.
At the same time, other Eastern wheat-producing areas have decreased white wheat production leaving more market opportunities for Michigan. To fully leverage these opportunities, the crop’s profitability and yields must be improved relative to other crops grown in the state.
Michigan wheat sales average $218.5 million annually, with a total economic impact estimated to be $388 million.