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) 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 applications to the Governor’s Appointments Office for consideration of a board appointment. The board, comprised of eight 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. The board has met nearly every month since they were appointed.
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: What is the latest date that I may remit payment for the prior month’s wheat purchased?
A: Assessments shall be remitted to the Michigan Wheat Program on a monthly basis before the end of the month, following the month of payment to the producer. For example, if you settle a wheat transaction on May 31st the assessment must be postmarked by June 30th. If the wheat transaction is settled June 1st, the assessment must be postmarked July 31st.
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 purchaser on or after
May 1, 2012 is assessed one half of one percent (.005) of the net value of the wheat. Net value of the wheat is the price received by the producer after discounts have been taken (i.e. $1,000 x .005 = $5.00). 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. (This process is very similar to the soybean check-off program.)
Q: Do I assess the 1/2 of 1% (.005) before or after discounts, storage and drying costs?
A: The net value of the wheat is calculated after quality discounts have been taken including moisture or quality grade. Other fees such as storage, trucking and drying are services provided by the elevator and are deducted after the assessment has been calculated.
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).
Q: What if I don’t 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: 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. 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.
Q: If I don’t purchase wheat during any single month, do I need to submit a report?
A: Yes, even if you do not purchase wheat, you need to submit an assessment form that shows no wheat was purchased. If you do not report, you will receive notification from the Michigan Wheat Program that your paperwork and payment are late.
Q: What about 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 grown in Michigan and sold.
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. If you have no purchases in a month you can scan and email your form to firstname.lastname@example.org or fax to: 517-625-6061.
Q: Is there an organic wheat exemption?
A: No, there are no organic exemptions for the wheat check-off. All wheat grown in Michigan and sold is checked-off.
Q: How is wheat seed assessed?
A: The assessment shall be collected by the first purchaser. The assessment will be based on the volume of clean seed sold, valued at a price determined by the Michigan Wheat Program board by June 1st of each year. Assessments are due by December 1st each year.