Colorado wheat farmers vote to continue two-cent assessment

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Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture John Salazar announced April 3 that Colorado’s wheat farmers voted to continue the two-cent per bushel wheat assessment in the Colorado Wheat Marketing Order. One and one half cents of the assessment is refundable.

The wheat referendum was conducted by the Colorado Department of Agriculture March 12-21. 1,013 wheat farmers voted to continue the two-cent assessment, while 525 were opposed. A simple majority was required for passage.

The assessment increase was initially passed in 2007, with a provision that wheat farmers would vote again in 2014 to make the increase permanent. More than 50 percent of the assessment increase has been and will continue to be allocated to wheat research.

The Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee (CWAC) is the producer-elected board of control (directors) that administers the Colorado Wheat Marketing Order, approved by a referendum of Colorado wheat farmers in 1958, pursuant to the Colorado Agricultural Marketing Act of 1939. Assessment funds must be used for research, market development and education programs to increase the consumption and utilization of Colorado wheat.

“This vote will allow us to continue our vital wheat research program at Colorado State University (CSU), bringing us wheat varieties tailored for Colorado, such as Hatcher, Byrd and Brawl CL Plus,” said CWAC President Steve Beedy, a wheat farmer from Genoa, “The future promises even faster development and release of better varieties through implementation of new breeding technologies, including genomic selection, doubled-haploid breeding and the capacity to more rapidly respond to new insect and disease threats. Even more exciting varieties and non-GMO traits such as herbicide tolerance are in the pipeline at CSU, to ensure a bright future for wheat in Colorado. We thank Colorado wheat farmers for the support and faith they have placed in CWAC.”