Promotion and market development through research, education and information
The Kansas Wheat Commission is funded by a 1.5 cent per bushel, voluntary assessment on each bushel of wheat grown in Kansas and sold to a Kansas grain elevator. According to state statute, “…Such assessment shall be levied and assessed to the grower at the time of sale, and shall be shown as a deduction by the first purchaser from the price paid in settlement to the grower.”
The Kansas Wheat Commission was created by the Kansas Legislature in 1957 to conduct a campaign of grain commodity promotion and market development through research, education and information.
2008 State Legislature
The Kansas Association of Wheat Growers solicited the 2008 Kansas Legislature for an increase in the wheat assessment authority from 10 mills per bushel to 20 mills per bushel. The initial legislation was House Bill No. 2661. The final legislation to pass the Kansas House of Representatives, Kansas Senate and has been signed by Governor Kathleen Sebelius is House Bill No. 2897.
This 2008 legislation gives authority to the Kansas Wheat Commission to collect up to two pennies per bushel. This does not raise the actual assessment to two pennies. Since this legislative authority has been approved, Kansas Wheat producers will have opportunities for input into the assessment rate collected, before any decision is made by the Commission to collect a higher amount.
Kansas Wheat Survey of Producers
A 2007 survey of Kansas wheat producers found that 94% of respondents are willing to contribute 10 mills or more to the wheat assessment. Thirty-six percent of respondents are willing to contribute 15 mills or more, with 21% who are willing to contribute 20 mills or more. Respondents ranked research as their first priority for use of the wheat assessment.
Results of 2007 Survey of Kansas wheat producers
Areas of Need
There are three areas that producer board members have identified as priorities in need of additional investment: research and biotechnology, cellulosic ethanol and consumer education.
Since 2001, Kansas State University has experienced a loss of 15 - 20% in state support, just in wheat research. For the past few years, wheat producers have been asked to fill in this gap. This struggle for funding is making it harder and harder to keep young, aspiring scientists interested in wheat.
Advances have been made in crop science to utilize biotechnology traits such as plant resistance to insect or disease as well as tolerance to herbicide and environmental conditions such as drought. Yet wheat has not enjoyed any of these new traits because of consumer perceptions about this technology. As the world’s most consumed food grain, we must work with consumers to gain acceptance!