Michigan has several statewide agricultural check-off programs, of which wheat is one of the newest. A check-off program is requested by the farmers who grow a certain commodity such as wheat.
Every wheat farmer in Michigan has the opportunity to vote whether or not they want to pay the check-off, also called an assessment, which is one half of one percent of the value of the wheat sold. If the majority of production tonnage and majority of the popular vote favor the check-off, then it is has the weight of law for five years.
An affirmative vote requires that all wheat and seed wheat grown in Michigan and sold, are assessed or checked-off.
Check-off funds are usually collected by the first purchaser, but the farmer is ultimately responsible for submission. Most first purchasers are elevators, millers or food processors, but may also be distillers, brewers or others buying directly from a farmer.
According to the grower-approved Michigan Wheat Program, first purchasers must deduct an assessment rate of up to one-half of one percent (0.005) of the net value of the wheat, as set by the board annually. Net value of wheat is the price received by the farmer after discounts have been taken. Each bushel shall be assessed only once.
For seed wheat, the price is set annually by the Michigan Wheat Program board and then the assessment rate is applied to that price. Seed wheat value is higher than wheat, so the price is adjusted and set by the board to ensure the check-off is applied fairly and equally to both wheat and seed wheat.
First purchasers deduct the MWP assessment from the payment to the farmer, but if the wheat is sold from farmer to farmer, out of state or out of country then the farmer is responsible for payment.
Assessments began May 1, 2012, following a vote by the growers in the Summer of 2011.
MWP values its first-purchasers, which are vital to a well-run commodity check-off program. In fact, one of the seats on MWP’s board represents the milling industry and some of the early market research has addressed quality standards and market conditions.
Wheat seed producers are also subject to the farmer-initiated mandatory assessment. Click here to download the 2023 Seed Wheat Assessment Form and here to read the Seed Wheat Frequently Asked Questions.