Q: When and how did the Michigan Wheat Program begin?
A: The state’s wheat farmers petitioned the Director of the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), Keith Creagh to establish a check-off program on wheat grown in Michigan. The petitions were received by MDARD in February 2011. Hearings were held in Frankenmuth and Lansing and it was determined by MDARD there was enough interest to hold a referendum vote of the state’s wheat farmers. The vote was held in June of 2011. In order for the Michigan Wheat Program (MWP) to be approved a majority of those voting and the majority of the production represented on the ballots by those voting, had to assent to the formation of the program. The MWP was approved by the state’s wheat farmers in June 2011 and the referendum results were announced in July 2011.
Q: Who is the leadership of the Michigan Wheat Program?
A: 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, comprised of 8 growers from across the state and one representative from the Milling Industry, was appointed in November 2011. They held their first meeting in December 2011.
Q: What wheat is assessed?
A: Both red and white wheat are assessed, as is seed wheat. As further defined in the program, “Wheat means and includes the grain from all kinds and varieties of wheat grown in this state.”
Q: Do the funds come from the first purchaser or the grower and how many times is the bushel assessed?
A: The assessment funds are subtracted from what the first purchaser pays the grower and they are submitted by the first purchaser to the Michigan Wheat Program or submitted through Michigan Crop Improvement for certified seed to the Michigan Wheat Program on behalf of the grower. Each bushel of wheat is assessed only once.
Q: When is the wheat assessed?
A: The assessment funds are subtracted from what the first purchaser pays the grower and that is at the time of payment to the grower. For certified seed wheat since there are so many individual growers, Michigan Crop Improvement will also be collecting assessments for the seed they certified unless other arrangements are made.
Q: What is the timeline for seed wheat assessment?
A: Per the program, the assessment shall be collected by the first purchaser or Michigan Crop Improvement and submitted by December 1 each year. All seed wheat received by October 31, 2012 must be remitted by December 1, 2012. Since there will be seed wheat sales after the December 1 deadline, the board has also set up a deadline of January 1, 2013 for seed wheat received on or after November 1.
Q: What is the value of the wheat that is assessed?
A: Each bushel of wheat and seed wheat received by an elevator, processor or first purchase on or after May 1, 2012 is assessed one half of one percent (.005) of the net value of the wheat. Seed wheat net value was determined by the board. It is the average September price for wheat on the CBOT November 2011 to April 2012 adjusted for bases (.95). (e.g. $6.74 x .95 = $6.41). Each bushel shall be assessed only once and the assessment comes out of the payment to the producer, as the producers voted in the assessment program. The board set price of $6.41 is assessed at the rate of .005, so it is figured by taking the price $6.41 x .005 = 3.2 cents per bushel assessment.
Q: Does the assessment rate change?
A: The Michigan Wheat Program Board of directors sets the assessment rate annually. The assessment rate will not exceed 1/2 of 1% (.005). The assessment for seed wheat will be based on the volume of clean seed sold, valued at a price determined by the Michigan Wheat Program board by June 1 of each year.
Q: What if I do not send in the assessment on time?
A: A 1% late payment fee (compounded monthly) is required to be included with the initial remittance, when it is overdue. We have furnished you with remittance forms and preaddressed envelopes designed to facilitate on time payments.
Q: May I pay our assessment electronically?
A: At this point, electronic payment is not an option. Contact the Michigan Wheat Program if you are interested and the option will be further explored based upon interest.
Q: What about wheat and seed wheat I buy that was raised in another state/country?
A: The Michigan Wheat Program was developed under Michigan law, so it only covers wheat and seed wheat grown in Michigan no matter where it is sold. It does not cover wheat and seed wheat grown in other states.
Q: Who do I make my assessment check payable to?
A: Make payment to the: Michigan Wheat Program and mail to Michigan Wheat Program, P.O. Box 25065, Lansing, MI 48909.
Q: Is there an organic wheat exemption?
A: No, there are no organic exemptions for the wheat check off. All wheat and seed wheat grown in Michigan and sold is checked off.