Washington Grain Commission board members recently passed a $7.3 million budget, up from $6.3 million last year.
The biggest funding increase was in public relations and transportation-related activities, in the commission’s own public education spending and through its contract with the Washington Association of Wheat Growers.
“Certainly there is more pressure on the transportation system — primarily the navigation system,” said Glen Squires, commission CEO.
The commission expects assessment income for the current year to be approximately $7.6 million for wheat and barley combined.
Growers are assessed .0075% for wheat and 1% for barley net receipts collected at first point of sale.
COVID-19 pandemic impacts led to reduced travel, conferences, trade teams and consultants, Squires said.
“We have tried to compensate with virtual meetings where feasible,” he said.
Research efforts continued with adjustment to account for COVID protocols.
All research projects proposed for funding were supported and most included slight increases due to increased wages. Roughly 67% goes to breeding related projects. Squires said.
“Even the Wheat Week education efforts had to adjust due to lack of classroom in-person teaching,” Squires said.
The board voted to add $400,000 from cash accounts to an assigned reserve fund balance at the beginning of the 2022 fiscal year, bringing the total to $5.4 million. There is also an assigned marketing reserve fund balance of $1.35 million, bringing total reserved fund balance accounts of $6.75 million for the fiscal year.
Fiscal year 2022 programs are funded by assessments collected during the 2021 crop year.