It can be commonly agreed on that it takes a village to raise a child, but as it turns out, it takes a village to do other things too, like market wheat. Formed over 50 years ago, the Montana Wheat and Barely Committee (MWBC) is comprised of industry knowledgeable individuals who are dedicated to working behind the scenes using checkoff funds to support research efforts, in addition to developing markets, for Montana’s premium grown wheat.
The MWBC is completely producer-funded. In its beginning, the committee was primarily wheat-focused until a barley checkoff was added in 1973. Growers of both cereal crops pay a per bushel checkoff for wheat and a per hundredweight (cwt) checkoff for barley. The generated funds are budgeted and allocated by a seven-member, Governor-appointed board of directors.
“To be a board member you have to be actively engaged in farming. Our board members are very passionate about what they do,” said Sam Anderson, Industry Analyst and Outreach Coordinator for the MWBC.
Supporting research efforts specifically geared towards the interests of Montana growers is the primary avenue for the MWBC checkoff funds. Nearly $2 million or about 44 percent of the MWBC funds are budgeted for research each year. In addition to researching solutions to industry problems, MWBC works closely with Montana State University on variety development research, especially work on varieties that will grow successfully in Montana’s diverse climate.
“Everything we fund is voted on by our directors so they are aware of what kind of challenges Montana farmers are facing and what will impact them the most,” Anderson stated.
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