April 20, 2012
LANSING, MICH. – The new Michigan Wheat Program (MWP) announced the hiring of Jody Pollok-Newsom as their inaugural Executive Director. The MWP will focus on 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.
“The board of the Michigan Wheat Program is very excited to have Jody as our first executive director,” said David Milligan, MWP Chairman and a wheat grower from Cass City. “Jody’s proven leadership and experience will provide the program with an outstanding start, as we begin to develop our program and vision for the future.”
Pollok-Newsom began full time April 3rd with the MWP. For the past 13 years, Pollok-Newsom was with the Michigan Corn Growers Association and Corn Marketing Program of Michigan organizations. During her tenure with the Michigan Corn Office, Pollok-Newsom assisted with the development of an in-state ethanol industry; in-state processing and a very strong research program focusing on production, new use, and traditional market research. In addition to her role at Michigan Corn, Pollok-Newsom also hosts the weekly Michigan Farm and Garden television show to further educate consumers about the importance of agriculture.
“I am very excited and honored to be working with the new wheat check-off. The opportunities to move the industry forward through research to increase yields and quality, addressing the falling numbers issue and building a strong grower organization to ensure farmers have a voice are all very important to me, ”said Pollok-Newsom. “I see a very bright future for the state’s wheat industry. I am hoping to hit the ground running and look forward to meeting and working with growers and industry leaders.”