Arizona grain growers will pay a higher assessment rate on wheat and barley sales beginning with the 2013 crop, following recent action by the Arizona Grain Research and Promotion Council (AGRPC).

The new assessment rate is $.025 per hundred pounds ($.50 per ton) of grain sold. The new rate could raise about $30,000 in additional annual revenue.

Previously, growers had contributed $.40 per ton to the grain fund since the AGRPC’s inception in 1987.

The AGRPC will use the additional dollars to build a modest reserve to fully exercise its mandate for funding barley and wheat research, and promoting the state’s grain industry in Arizona and the world.

The reserve will buffer these programs from major swings in grain acreage and provide a resource to deal with occasional threats to the industry.

The increased assessment is tied to funding sweeps after the State of Arizona swept $80,000 from the grain fund in 2008, says AGRPC Chairman David Sharp.

“Council members were determined to shield grower funds from further losses after losing the battle over the legality of sweeps, so they kept the grain fund reserves to a minimum while successfully pursuing legislative recognition of the grain fund as a trust fund intended specifically for enhancing the profitability of grain farming in Arizona.”

Legislation, signed by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer last summer, essentially eliminates the threat of losing grower funds to expropriation by the state for other uses, Sharp says.

For more information, contact AGRPC Executive Director Al Simons at absimons@cox.net or Lisa James at the Arizona Department of Agriculture at ljames@azda.gov).