FARGO, NORTH DAKOTA, U.S. — The North Dakota Wheat Commission (NDWC) met July 12 in Mandan, North Dakota, U.S., to elect officers and finalize the budget for fiscal year 2011-12. Fran Leiphon was elected chairman, and David Clough was elected vice-chairman. Leiphon and Clough are both serving their second four-year term on the commission. Leiphon replaces Harlan Klein as chairman. Bruce Freitag was reappointed as the at-large member to the commission and began his second term on July 1.

Commissioners serving on the N.D. Wheat Commission board are as follows:

  • District 4: Fran Leiphon, Crary – chair
  • District 3: David Clough, Fessenden – vice-chair
  • At-Large Member: Bruce Freitag, Scranton
  • District 1: Harlan Klein, Elgin
  • District 2: Louis Kuster, Stanley
  • District 5: Greg Svenningsen, Valley City
  • District 6: Brian O'Toole, Crystal

Leiphon and Clough were elected to represent North Dakota producers on the U.S. Wheat Associates board of directors. Klein and O'Toole were elected to represent the commission on the Wheat Granting Committee of the State Board of Agricultural Research and Extension.

Clough will continue to serve on the board of directors of the Northern Crops Council where he is past Chairman. O'Toole will serve on the board of the Wheat Marketing Center in Portland, Oregon, U.S., which focuses on Asian marketing opportunities.

Commissioners appointed to serve as liaisons to other organizations are as follows:

  • North Dakota Grain Growers Association - Bruce Freitag
  • U.S. Durum Growers Association - Louis Kuster
  • North Dakota Crop and Seed Improvement Association — Brian O'Toole
  • North Dakota Ag Foundation - Fran Leiphon
  • North Dakota Ag Coalition - Bruce Freitag
  • Wheat Foods Council - David Clough
  • National Pasta Association - Louis Kuster
  • North Dakota Ag Rail Council - Bruce Freitag

The commission's overall budget totals $4.87 million with the research and customer service category funded at over $1.5 million, the largest program area. Funding for research is slightly higher than last year with main commitment areas being the spring wheat, durum, and winter wheat breeding and quality programs, the NDSU greenhouse facility and equipment purchases.

Export marketing, domestic policy, trade policy and domestic promotion are other main program areas. Additional funding for research has been a priority for the commission in recent years as funding for that area is over $1 million higher than two years ago. NDWC Chairman Fran Leiphon said the commitment to research is important to our state's producers, "we need to continue to develop new wheat varieties with strong quality characteristics to keep North Dakota producers competitive in the world market. We can't do that without the staff, equipment and supplies that the Commission helps fund. We also put resources into important research areas such as scab, cadmium uptake in durum, rust resistance, wheat midge, sawfly and germplasm enhancement."

Leiphon said, "While research is important, we must also continue to support market promotion activities - primarily through U.S. Wheat Associates (USW). USW has direct contact with our overseas customers and works to promote North Dakota wheat worldwide and address customer concerns and issues; this becomes even more important in an increasingly competitive world wheat market."

The NDWC's work is funded entirely by North Dakota wheat producers with a checkoff of a penny and a half per bushel of wheat sold. The budget covers programs in export marketing, trade issues, research, product promotion, domestic policy, and public information.