The North Dakota Wheat Commission works to market and promote North Dakota wheat, both domestically and internationally, invests in wheat research, and ensures wheat producers have an effective voice on domestic and trade policy issues. Programs and activities of the North Dakota Wheat Commission are totally funded through a per bushel checkoff on producer wheat sales, currently at a penny and a half. International marketing efforts are in collaboration with U.S. Wheat Associates, the Northern Crops Institute, the Wheat Marketing Center, and North Dakota State University. Domestic marketing efforts are in collaboration with the National Pasta Association and the Wheat Foods Council. Research efforts are primarily in cooperation with North Dakota State University with emphasis on variety development, end-use quality enhancement and addressing critical agronomic issues in wheat, as well as transportation and economics. Policy efforts are in collaboration with the North Dakota Grain Growers Association, the U.S. Durum Growers Association, the National Association of Wheat Growers and U.S. Wheat Associates.
The North Dakota Wheat Commission is directed through a grassroots approach. Producers representatives are elected from each county in the state, and from this group, six Commissioners are selected to serve on the Board, based on Districts. The governor appoints a seventh commissioner from a list of nominees submitted by major farm and grower organizations. These seven producers that make up the Board, develop policy and programs, oversee their implementation and approve budget expenditures. Commissioners can serve no more than three four-year terms. Four employees administer programs and activities.
A couple taglines that have been used to encompass the work and focus of the North Dakota Wheat Commission include: “Building Bigger Better Markets” and “Committed to Exceeding Customer Expectations”
The wheat industry in North Dakota consists of approximately 20,000 wheat producers growing 300 million bushels of wheat annually. This typically ranks our state as the second leading producer of wheat nationally, but some years we have been the top state. Total wheat acres in the state have averaged 7.5 million in recent years, or roughly 1/3rd of total crop acres in the state. Average wheat yields are in the 35 to 40 bushel per acre range. It is all dryland production with the yields increasing from west to east across the state based on average annual rainfall and soil types. Main crops that compete for planted acres in the state are soybeans, corn, canola, peas, barley and other minor crops.
North Dakota is best known for its high quality production of two main classes of wheat, hard red spring and durum. We are the top producer in the nation of both classes, accounting for one-half of the hard red spring wheat, and roughly 60 percent of the durum. The high protein content and inherent functional quality of our hard red spring wheat makes it ideally suited for specialty breads; for blending with, and improving protein content and quality in many baked products; frozen and refrigerated dough products; and Asian noodles. Our durum is valued for its protein content, the bright, yellow semolina it produces and gluten qualities.
Top markets for hard red spring wheat from North Dakota include U.S. domestic mills, the Philippines, Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Italy and many smaller countries in the Caribbean and Central America. Durum is primarily marketed to U.S. domestic mills, Italy, Algeria, Nigeria and Venezuela. North Dakota has 4 wheat mills within the state.