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LETTER: Vote 'yes' on the wheat referendum

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Dear Editor:

As a fellow wheat farmer, I am writing to encourage other wheat producers to vote to permanently reapprove the current two-cent per bushel wheat assessment. This increase was approved in 2007, with the provision that wheat farmers would have seven years to evaluate the effectiveness of the increased funding for wheat research, market development and education programs and vote to reapprove in 2014. More than 50 percent of the fully refundable increase from one cent per bushel has been allocated to wheat research.

This expanded funding continues our wheat research program at Colorado State University (CSU), bringing us wheat varieties tailored for Colorado, such as Hatcher, Byrd and Brawl CL Plus. I am also growing Snowmass developed by CSU and receiving a 65 cent per bushel quality premium. The future promises even faster development and release of better varieties through implementation of new breeding technologies including doubled-haploid breeding and the capacity to more rapidly respond to new insect and disease threats. Even more exiting varieties are in the pipeline at CSU, to ensure a bright future for wheat in Colorado. 

Budgets are developed and approved by the Colorado Wheat Administrative Committee (CWAC) which is the producer-elected board of control (directors), Administrative costs have remained low and about 91 percent of the budget goes directly into research, market development and education programs. The Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture must review and approve the budget each year.

What will this permanent increase really cost us as producers? I maintain that it will cost us nothing and we as wheat producers will actually benefit. By continuing to develop new varieties with higher yields and better quality, and by developing new markets, we will gain in the market place.

Colorado wheat producers took a gigantic step forward in 2007 to take greater control of our future. I believe CWAC has wisely invested the increased assessment funds over the past seven years and we have already reaped some of the benefits with Byrd and Brawl CL Plus. I strongly urge you to join me in voting yes because the best is yet to come. Let’s continue to invest in and protect our wheat and our future.

Sincerely,

Steve Beedy

Genoa