Leaders of the U.S. wheat industry failed to pass an industry consolidation plan on Sunday.

The failure of the consolidation plan, which would have merged the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG), U.S. Wheat Associates, and the Wheat Export Trade Education Committee (WETEC), sparked talk that some states may reduce their financial support to U.S. Wheat Associates, which voted it down.

WETEC handles education issues. NAWG focuses on domestic policy. U.S. Wheat Associates markets domestic wheat to foreign buyers.

Opponents said a merger would weaken the expertise U.S. Wheat group has in export circles and leave state wheat commissions, which are well funded with grower dollars, lacking sufficient control over how those dollars were spent.

"We have taken an oath to protect the public dollars," said Dan DeBuff, vice chairman of the Montana Wheat and Barley Committee, which voted against the merger.

North Dakota and Oklahoma also voted against the proposal, barely denying the two-thirds majority required.

But supporters said it was critical for the average wheat farmer that a consolidation takes place to help the wheat industry present a unified front on both domestic and export issues.