BILLINGS — The Montana Wheat and Barley Committee (MWBC) and the Montana State University Plant Sciences and Plant Pathology Department are inviting the public to help name four new wheat and barley varieties released this year.
Among the suggested name: Duke Silver, War Cat, and Cowgirl. While those names may give you little chuckle, the ultimate goal is to raise awareness about varieties.
“Growers obviously support these programs with their checkoff dollars, and we make sure that those growers' needs are heard,” said MWBC Executive Vice President Cassidy Marn. “These varieties are being bred specifically for certain needs for Montana producers. We wanted growers to have a little bit more voice in that development process so we thought this naming contest would be a great way to do that.”
Jason Laird, marketing director for MWBC, said calling attention to varieties is important.
"Any time MSU breeds a new wheat, barley, or durum variety those varieties are really tailored in to the state of Montana. Our whole goal with this is just to draw a little bit more attention to those not only from a producer standpoint but agriculture is our biggest industry here in Montana. We want the public to also know just what's going on in their own backyard,” said Laird.
Marnsays the response from growers has been great.
“Just knowing we have that grower support and they're excited to be a part of this process has been really fun to see,” said Marn. “It's also helped to bring a lot of attention to the university and help bring some good attention to the varieties that are available for growers. The ultimate goal is to release varieties that are going to benefit both Montana producers and our end users, and MSU does a fantastic job. So, the more attention we can bring to that, the better.”
A list of names has been compiled—some clever, others honoring industry legends or locations across the state—and voting is open through March 31. To check out the names and to cast your vote, just visit the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee’s website.