Grain News

Research and Export Development Remain Top Priorities For ND Wheat Producers

Date Posted: December 23, 2011

Producer representatives to the North Dakota Wheat Commission (NDWC) discussed their priorities for funding commission activities at the Annual Meeting for County Representatives in Bismarck last week.

Research remains the top program area for producers with emphasis on breeding new varieties, maintaining quality and strong agronomics, and exploring new technologies in wheat breeding and research.

Research is the largest area of funding in the 2011-12 Commission budget, with over $2 million invested in research and customer service activities.

Chairman Francis Leiphon says check off investment in research has strong producer support.

“We made a commitment two years ago to step up our research investment.

"It is something our producers are passionate about and maintaining excellent breeding and quality programs gives our producers a leading edge in the world market.”

Funding for research has more than doubled in the last two years.

Another top priority area is export development, which is done primarily through a partnership with U.S. Wheat Associates (USW).

About $1.2 million is budgeted for market development activities in 2011-12.

Producers specifically cited a need to maintain and expand market share around the world to ensure a customer base for their products. Producers also mentioned the need to support USDA funds that help support export programs carried out by USW, by matching producer dollars more than $2.5:1.

Domestic policy was a program area that seems to have increased in priority this year, due in large part to the upcoming Farm Bill debate.

The NDWC contracts with the ND Grain Growers Association and U.S. Durum Growers Association for these activities.

Trade policy was discussed as a priority as producers feel the need to monitor free trade agreements and any trade barriers that may affect market access for North Dakota wheat.

Also on the list of priorities was domestic promotion and public information.

The Commission supports domestic promotion through the Wheat Foods Council and National Pasta Association.

Since nearly half of U.S. wheat is consumed domestically it is important that consumers receive fact-based information on the nutritional benefits of wheat.

County representatives also stressed the importance of educating both producers and the general public on the benefits of the wheat check off.

Prior to the in-depth discussions on priorities, producers sat in on presentations covering wheat research, trade policy, supply and demand of the 2011 crops, industry perspectives, wheat breeding and domestic policy.

For more information, call 701-328-5111.

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