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LANSING, MI -- Michigan wheat farmer David Milligan, of Cass City, has assumed chairmanship of the Research & Technology Committee of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG).

Milligan has served on the NAWG board since 2013 representing Michigan’s nearly 8,000 wheat farmers.  During that time, he has served or is still serving on most of the NAWG committees including the Domestic & Trade Policy Committee; Joint International Trade Policy Committee; Environment & Renewable Resources Committee; Joint Biotechnology Committee; Operations & Planning Committee; Budget Committee; and Nominating Committee.

In addition, Milligan also completed the exclusive Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow (WILOT) program, a leadership development program developed by NAWG and the National Wheat Foundation.

“Research was a founding principle for the Michigan Wheat Program, and Dave was a charter member of our founding committee, so it makes all the sense in the world that the national organization would tap him to help steer national wheat research efforts,” said Jody Pollok-Newsom, executive director of the Michigan Wheat Program (MWP).  Pollok-Newsom serves as scribe to the Research & Technology Committee, supporting Milligan’s tenure.

Milligan and Pollok-Newsom attended NAWG meetings in Colorado earlier this month, where wheat growers from across the US helped set the future direction of the organization and discussed NAWG’s priorities for the upcoming Farm Bill.

At Milligan’s first Research & Technology Committee meeting, discussion focused on new technology, new opportunities and an update on the first annual national wheat yield contest.

“The opportunity to serve on these NAWG committees, gives you a real chance to compare your farm with those from other states,” Milligan said.  “Sometimes we find best practices that we can utilize in Michigan and sometimes we find some unique things about Michigan that we can share nationwide.”

NAWG’s Research and Technology Committee is responsible for assessing research needs, providing direction for public and private researchers and working to ensure public wheat research programs are adequately funded.  More than three-quarters of U.S. wheat varieties are developed by public research programs, making research and innovation a top priority for the national board.

NAWG is a national federation of state wheat grower organizations working on the broad range of issues facing today's wheat farmers.  Founded in 1950, the organization is located in Washington, D.C., where it is funded and governed by wheat growers from 22 states.

Michigan ranks 12th in the nation for winter wheat production and produces 2.4 percent of all U.S. wheat.  Michigan growers benefit from five mills in the state that add value to the commodity, and several significant end users including Kellogg, Kraft, Nabisco, Post and General Mills.

The Michigan Wheat Program is a check-off organization funded by nearly 8,000 wheat farmers who grow wheat in 50 of Michigan’s 83 counties.  Michigan wheat producers plant 500,000 acres of red and white wheat annually, resulting in a crop of about 40 million bushels on average.  The state’s wheat crop has a total economic impact of about $388 million annually. Additional information about Michigan’s wheat industry is found at www.miwheat.org, or by calling 888-WHEAT01 (888-943-2801).

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