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LANSING, MI -- The chairman of the board for the Michigan Wheat Program was elected Secretary of the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) at the Commodity Classic in Texas recently.  Longtime ag leader and Cass City wheat farmer David J. Milligan was elevated from a NAWG board member representing Michigan growers to the position of board secretary for the national association of wheat growers by his fellow wheat farmers from across the nation.

“We are so pleased to have Dave serving the national wheat industry as a national officer for NAWG,” said Jody Pollok-Newsom, executive director of the Michigan Wheat Program.

“We were created as a state wheat check-off in 2011, and became a NAWG member in 2013.

To have wheat farmers across the nation, see Dave’s leadership and vote him to serve the organization as an officer, is a true testament to Dave’s dedication to the industry.

"Dave will join the executive committee as secretary and throughout the next four years work his way through the chain of command.”

Milligan ran for the post, saying it “provided a unique opportunity to continue building NAWG’s reputation, and to create new opportunities for wheat farmers in the future.”  He has a particular interest in research on wheat diseases, as well as new marketing opportunities.

Milligan has served on several NAWG committees including Domestic & Trade Policy, Joint International Trade Policy, Environment & Renewable Resources, Joint Biotechnology, Operations & Planning, Budget, Nominating and Research & Technology, of which he was chair.

Milligan is a graduate of the Wheat Industry Leaders of Tomorrow program, and serves on the American Farm Bureau Wheat Committee.

He previously served on the American Dry Bean Board for seven years, including two as chair; and is active in Michigan Farm Bureau.

On his home farm in Cass City, Milligan Farms LLC, Milligan raises wheat, corn, soybeans and dry beans.

In supporting his nomination to NAWG board secretary, Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development director Jamie Clover Adams called Milligan “a genuine leader who not only is approachable, but also has a passion for doing what is right – regardless of the time and energy commitment.”

Milligan was part of the charter wheat committee that worked for 10 years to bring the state wheat check-off board into existence.

The Michigan Wheat Program was voted in by a slim majority of the state’s wheat farmers in the summer of 2011, with the board being named by the governor later that year.  Milligan has served as its chairman since that time.

Dave’s leadership lead the board through not only its development, but through its first continuation vote which was overwhelmingly approved by 80 percent of the growers voting in its first continuation referendum in early 2016.

“Dave’s focus is always on what will benefit wheat farmers in Michigan the most,” said Dean Kantola, vice chairman of the Michigan Wheat Program and wheat farmer from Ravenna.

“As Dave fills this national leadership position, growers from across the US will also see what a strong leader and advocate he is for agriculture.”

The Michigan Wheat Program is funded by nearly 8,000 farmers who grow wheat in 50 of Michigan’s 83 counties.  The Michigan Wheat Program board seeks to promote the state’s wheat industry by funding and supporting the strategic priorities of wheat farmers by working with input suppliers, seed producers, millers, end users and consumers.

Research on wheat production practices and grower education is a primary emphasis for the Michigan Wheat Program.

Information about Michigan’s wheat industry is found at the miwheat.org website, or by calling 888-WHEAT01 (888-943-2801).

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