BILLINGS - This year’s severe drought certainly took its toll on Montana’s overall wheat and barley production, creating lots of challenges for farmers and organizations like the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee which helps them.
But even though checkoff dollar collection is projected to be down 50 percent this year as a result of lost production, the MWBC remains focused on funding important research projects.
“Well, a lot of these research projects are multi-year projects,” said MWBC chairman Mike O’Hara, a farmer from Fort Benton. “Once you start you can't drop the ball. So, we're going to maintain these programs. We'll find a way to fund these programs. It's going to be challenging, but hopefully we will also get some help from Mother Nature.”
Another priority for the coming year will be promoting Montana’s high-quality wheat and barley to those important international customers.
“We really do have some of the finest wheat in the world, and definitely in the United States,” said O’Hara. “This is where the research goes into the breeding programs for the end product. So, we have some new varieties that'll work for the farmer but at the same time for our international customers.”
He says in both the good times and bad, the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee remains committed to helping farmers raise better crops and increase their own profitability while reminding global customers that Montana is open for business.