Monday, October 23, 2017

Monday October 23 Crop Progress Reports + Ag News


For the week ending October 22, 2017, temperatures averaged four to eight degrees above normal across Nebraska, according to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. Only minimal precipitation was recorded in the northwest and a few eastern counties, which allowed farmers to take advantage of the open week to make significant progress on the State’s soybean harvest. There were 6.5 days suitable for fieldwork. Topsoil moisture supplies rated 2 percent very short, 8 short, 84 adequate, and 6 surplus. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 3 percent very short, 14 short, 80 adequate, and 3 surplus.

Field Crops Report:

Corn condition rated 3 percent very poor, 8 poor, 23 fair, 46 good, and 20 excellent. Corn mature was 97 percent, near 99 last year, and equal to the five-year average. Harvested was 26 percent, well behind 48 last year and 52 average.

Soybean condition rated 2 percent very poor, 8 poor, 26 fair, 50 good, and 14 excellent. Soybeans harvested was 67 percent, behind 76 last year and 83 average.

Winter wheat condition rated 3 percent very poor, 10 poor, 33 fair, 45 good, and 9 excellent. Winter wheat planted was 94 percent, behind 100 last year, and near 98 average. Emerged was 77 percent, behind 93 last year and 82 average.

Sorghum condition rated 3 percent very poor, 2 poor, 20 fair, 53 good, and 22 excellent. Sorghum mature was 96 percent, near 100 last year and 98 average. Harvested was 34 percent, well behind 65 last year, and behind 51 average.

Alfalfa fourth cutting was 93 percent complete, ahead of 88 last year.

Pasture and Range Report:

Pasture and range conditions rated 2 percent very poor, 11 poor, 43 fair, 39 good, and 5 excellent.  Stock water supplies rated 1 percent very short, 3 short, 95 adequate, and 1 surplus.


Iowa farmers had a good week for harvesting with 5.0 days suitable for fieldwork during the week ending October 22, 2017, according to the USDA, National Agricultural Statistics Service. However, corn and soybean harvest progress remains behind both the previous year and the five-year average. On the positive side, there were several reports for both corn and soybeans that yields were better than expected. Activities for the week included harvesting corn for grain and soybeans, spreading manure, applying fertilizer, and starting fall tillage.

Topsoil moisture levels rated 3 percent very short, 6 percent short, 79 percent adequate and 12 percent surplus. Subsoil moisture levels rated 7 percent very short, 15 percent short, 71 percent adequate and 7 percent surplus.

Nearly all of the corn for grain crop had reached maturity or beyond, three days behind average. Twenty-three percent of the corn for grain crop has been harvested, remaining the smallest percentage harvested by this date since 2009 and over two weeks behind average. Moisture content of corn being harvested for grain averaged 20 percent. Corn condition rated 64 percent good to excellent.

Nearly a third of the soybean crop was harvested this past week increasing to 61 percent harvested, but this is also the smallest percentage harvested by this date since 2009. Southwest and south central Iowa remain the only districts to not reach 50 percent harvested. Soybean condition rated 64 percent good to excellent.

Pasture conditions have continued to improve for the fourth week in a row from recent rains to 35 percent good to excellent. Livestock conditions were reported as good, with reports of some cattle being turned out to graze corn stalks. Feedlots remain muddy.

USDA Weekly Crop Progress

The U.S. soybean harvest picked up speed while the corn harvest continued to fall further behind the average pace for the week ended Oct. 22, according to USDA's latest Crop Progress report released on Monday.

USDA estimated that 38% of corn was harvested as of Sunday, 21 percentage points behind 59% last year and also a five-year average of 59% harvested. In last Monday's report, the corn harvest was 19 points behind the average pace.  Sixty-six percent of the corn crop was rated in good-to-excellent condition.

While corn harvest continued to move slowly, the soybean harvest gained momentum last week, jumping 21 percentage points from the previous week and coming to within 3 percentage points of the average pace. That was an improvement from last Monday's report when soybean harvest lagged the average pace by 11 points. USDA estimated that 70% of the soybean crop was harvested as of Sunday, down from 74% a year ago and down from a five-year average of 73% harvested. USDA has stopped reporting national soybean crop conditions for the year.

Meanwhile, USDA said 75% of winter wheat was planted as of Sunday, down from 78% a year ago and below the five-year average of 80% planted. Fifty-two percent of winter wheat was emerged, down from 58% a year ago and down from a five-year average of 57%.

Sorghum was 47% harvested, behind the five-year average of 59%.  Cotton was 87% in the bolls opening stage and the crop was 37% harvested nationwide, slightly ahead of the average pace of 35% harvested.


Keeping Your Equipment and Fields Fire Safe At Harvest 

John Wilson - NE Extension Educator, Burt County

After a wet start in late September and early October, harvest is now progressing across the state. While getting the crop in is your first priority, don't make safety your second.

Besides my job for Nebraska Extension, I have another job... that of a volunteer firefighter and EMT for almost 35 years. Each fall our calls increase, largely due to field fires during harvest. Combines can present problems unique to their use. To stay safe from fires combine operators should check for:
-    The build-up of combustible crop residue around the engine and exhaust system.
-    Concealed drive belts and pulleys which can overheat due to friction when there is an accumulation of crop residue around them.
-    Electrical wiring and connectors that have become worn or frayed, resulting in sparks which can ignite grain dust, crop residues or fuel vapors.

Maintain Equipment

Preventative maintenance is key to preventing many of the fires that occur on farm equipment. Good preventative maintenance not only prolongs equipment life but also reduces fire hazards. If you haven’t done so already, here are a few things you can do to prevent fires:
-    Keep all bearings and gears well lubricated to prevent heat buildup and keep lubricants at proper levels.
-    Repair any leaks in the fuel system and any damaged electrical wiring.
-    Repair or replace damaged or worn out exhaust systems. In addition to a good exhaust system, a spark arrestor can be installed to catch burning particles. The arrestors are easy to install and require little maintenance.

Use Safe Fueling Practices

Too often during harvest season, safe fueling practices are ignored in an effort to save time. The few seconds saved are insignificant when compared to the loss of expensive farm equipment or weeks or even months spent in a hospital burn ward. Follow these safety practices:
-    Never refuel equipment with the engine running. Always shut the engine off.
-    Allow hot engines to cool 15 minutes before refueling.
-    Extinguish all smoking materials before refueling.
-    If fuel spills on an engine, wipe away any excess and allow the fumes to dissipate before starting the engine.

Be Prepared for Fire

In the rush to harvest it's often overlooked, but starting to harvest a field on the downwind side can help keep a fire from spreading. If a fire does occur, the flames will be pushed toward the harvested portion of the field.
-    Always carry two fire extinguishers on the combine, one in the cab and one that you can access from the ground. Also carry a fire extinguisher in your grain hauling equipment.
-    Always carry a cell phone or alternative for communicating with others in case of an emergency.
-    If a field or equipment fire does occur, call 911 before trying to extinguish it yourself.
-    Have a tractor hooked to a disk near the field you are harvesting, but located where it wouldn’t be affected if a field fire should occur.
-    If using a fire extinguisher, stay between the fire and your path to safety.
-    When using a fire extinguisher, remember to PASS. P-A-S-S stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep.
        + Pull the safety pin on the extinguisher.
        + Aim at the base of the fire.
        + Squeeze the handle.
        + Sweep the extinguisher back and forth while releasing the contents.

Following these safety tips can seem like common sense, but with the long hours and the rush to get harvest done, sometimes these are forgotten.

I want to wish everyone a prosperous and safe harvest season.  For more information on harvest safety, contact you equipment dealer, your local fire department, or your local Nebraska Extension office.


The FFA State Land Judging Contest was held Wednesday, October 18 in Scribner.  The team from West Point High School finished first with the top score of 1060 points.  Team members are:  Austin Streeter, Bryce Ulrich, Chase Streeter, and Blake Anderson.

Southern Valley placed second with a score of 985.  Third place went to Johnson County with 971 points.  Fullerton and Aurora came in 4th and 5th.  The top five teams will advance to the National Competition to be held in Oklahoma City in the spring.

The top individual award went to Austin Streeter of West Point with a total score of 365.  Pete Brown of Southern Valley was second, Elsa Rasmussen of North Bend was third, Racole Wetzel of Palmer was fourth, and Chase Streeter of West Point came in fifth.

In the adult division, Craig Teten of Johnson County took first place with 361 points.  Kevin Wetovick of Fullerton was second and Joel Miller of Hampton was third.

The contest was hosted by Duane and Scott Muller of Scribner.  The site provided good diversity in soils and landscape positions for the students.  The contest helps the students make informed decisions regarding soil utilization in the future.  Scoring was completed at the Scribner Public Library.

To qualify for the contest, teams had to be a top finisher at one of seven regional contests in October.  120 students qualified for the event from the following 38 high schools across Nebraska:  Adams Central, Alma, Auburn, Aurora, Banner County, Bayard, Blue Hill, East Butler, Falls City, Fillmore Central, Franklin, Fullerton, Hampton, Holdrege, Howells-Dodge, Johnson-Brock, Johnson County, Lewiston, Leyton, Mead, Milford, Newman Grove, Norfolk, Norris, North Bend, Ord, Palmer, Pawnee City, Pender, Raymond Central, Scottsbluff, Shelby-Rising City, Southern Valley, Tekamah-Herman, Tri County, Twin River, West Point, and Wilber-Clatonia.

The Nebraska Association of Resources Districts, the Lower Elkhorn Natural Resources District, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, Scribner High School, and the Nebraska FFA State Land Judging Committee organized and sponsored the contest.


The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will survey producers in 42 states, including Nebraska, for its County Agricultural Production Survey (CAPS).

“County-level yields have a direct impact on farmers around the State. USDA’s Farm Service Agency uses the data in administering producer programs such as the Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) included in the 2014 Farm Bill, and in determining disaster assistance program calculations,” said Dean Groskurth, director of the NASS Northern Plains Field Office. “NASS cannot publish a county yield unless it receives enough reports from producers in that county to make a statistically defensible estimate. So, it is very important that producers respond to this survey. In 2016, NASS was unable to publish several large producing counties due to an insufficient number of responses.”

“As required by Federal law, all responses are completely confidential,” Groskurth continued. “We safeguard the privacy of all respondents, ensuring that no individual operation or producer can be identified. Individual responses are also exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.”

Many producers respond by mail or on-line via NASS’s secure reporting website. NASS will also contact producers by phone or in person, particularly in low-response counties, to ensure producers their opportunity to represent Nebraska agriculture. County-level crop acreage and production data is available at NASS’s Quick Stats Database at


Bruce Anderson, NE Extension Forage Specialist

               Corn harvest is ongoing and cows are starting to graze the stalks.  How should this grazing be managed to get the most out of them?

               Grazing corn stalks during winter has many benefits.  It can save over a dollar a day per cow compared to feeding expensive hay.

               But, the way you manage grazing of stalks by your cattle can have a big effect on its success.  For instance, maybe you want to feed as little protein supplement as possible while winter grazing.  Then you must make sure you have enough acres of corn stalks so your cattle only need to select just the higher quality plant parts to eat.  And whenever the grain and husks are gone, move to a fresh field.

               Or, maybe you use stalks just as a filler to keep cattle from bellowing while you limit feed corn, distiller’s grains, or other more nutrient dense feeds.  Then high stocking levels and unrestricted access might be best.

               Another strategy might be to stretch winter stalks as far as possible.  In that case, restricting animal access to smaller areas at a time by strip grazing until nearly all the grazable stalk parts are gone might be best.  Be careful, though, about forcing cows to eat the lower stalks.  They won’t get much protein or energy from lower stalks but the nitrate levels might be dangerously high.

               Whatever your strategy, consider carefully what kind of nutrition animals are getting from the stalk pasture so you neither underfeed nor overfeed expensive supplements.

               Be sure to provide salt, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin A free choice at all times.  And once all the grain is gone, cows need about half a pound per day of an all natural protein to meet nutrient needs.

               Stalk season is here.  Make wise decisions to use them best.

Effects of Proposed 2017 Tax Reform on Farmers 

Tina Barrett - Executive Director of Nebraska Farm Business Inc.

It looks more likely each day that Congress will pass some sort of tax reform this session. This article looks at how the current tax reform changes proposed by President Trump would impact farmers and ranchers.  Two of the main goals of the proposed changes are to reduce the taxes for families and businesses and to simplify the tax code, both of which would be great for farmers.

Increased Standard Deduction

The first proposed change was to increase the standard deduction to $24,000 and eliminate the personal exemption. The standard deduction has been a set amount ($12,700 for Married Filing Joint Returns in 2017) that reduced total income before tax was calculated. Essentially, this means everyone got this much income at a 0% rate. If you itemized your deductions and they were more than the standard deduction, you could replace the $12,700 with your number. Personal Exemptions offer another means for reducing taxable income. You get one Personal Exemption for each person in the household. For a married couple, you would get two plus one for each dependent child. The personal exemption amount was $4,050 per person in 2017.

Tax time banner

If we look at this to simplify a tax return, it certainly does that. One of the complex issues facing preparers is the definition of a child, especially with split and blended families where the child doesn’t live with both parents all year long. By eliminating the personal exemptions, we eliminate much of this problem. We will still need to work on that definition for purposes of some credits like the Child Tax Credit or the Earned Income Credit, but those affect a smaller number of returns than the personal exemptions that were on almost all returns.

The drawbacks come for larger families. If you are married and have one child, you were getting three personal exemptions or $12,150 in personal exemptions and $12,700 in a standard deduction or $24,850 at “0% tax.” If you have more children, the proposed law will actually reduce the amount of income at the zero rate. There is a proposal to increase the amount of the child tax credit to help offset this difference.

The other drawback and simplification is that with a higher standard deduction, there will be fewer people who can itemize their deductions. This is a big simplification as Schedule A (the form for itemizing deductions) can be very complicated, so that’s good. The drawback is that there may be less incentive to give to charities, own your own home, etc. if you don’t get a tax deduction for those things.

Change to the Individual Tax Rate Structure

Another proposal reduces the number of individual income tax brackets from seven to three. I don’t believe this is a major simplification as the seven brackets were really just a math formula to follow to calculate tax. Whether this change creates a significant difference in the tax you pay depends on where they set the breaks for the brackets. The proposed brackets are 12%, 25% and 35% but the breaks were not part of the proposal.

Enhanced Child Tax Credit

As I mentioned above, the proposal “significantly increases” the amount of the Child Tax Credit and would raise the point where is phased out. The Child Tax Credit is currently set at $1,000 per child under the age of 17 on December 31 each year. The credit phase-out starts at $110,000 of Adjusted Gross Income. This means that if your income is above $110,000, the $1,000 per child is reduced. If this is passed, it will go a long way to replacing personal exemptions as a $1,000 credit is better for most people than a $4,000 deduction, since the credit reduces tax paid and the deduction only reduces income.

Itemized Deductions

I’ve mentioned Itemized Deductions as an alternative to the Standard Deduction, but they are proposing major changes to these as well. There are many itemized deductions, including everything from out of pocket medical expenses, personal Real Estate Taxes, mortgage interest, and charitable donations to lesser ones such as investment expenses, unreimbursed employee expenses, tax preparation fees, etc. The proposal eliminates most of these deductions. The ones expected to remain are home mortgage interest and charitable donations; however, with a higher standard deduction, fewer people will be able to itemize. According to USA today, only 30% of Americans itemized under the current law, and they expect the higher standard deduction to significantly reduce that percentage. Remember, farmers can donate grain to charities, so that may be a great practice to get back into as it will reduce farm income and you won’t need to itemize to get the benefit.

Eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)

The AMT tax was imposed many years ago with the idea that it kept high-income taxpayers from taking advantage of too many tax benefits; however, the limits were not indexed for inflation, so the levels where the AMT tax would kick in started to affect many taxpayers. The limit has been raised over the past few years, but eliminating this tax would greatly simplify the farm returns we prepare. It would allow for some flexibility in tax strategies, such as doubling up itemized deductions, which we have essentially quit doing due to the impacts of AMT.

Estate and Generation-Skipping Taxes

The proposed reforms would eliminate the “death” tax and the generation-skipping transfer taxes. Any proposal in the past to eliminate this tax also eliminated the step-up in basis. This will affect every farm, instead of just those whose net worth exceeds $11 million (for a married couple). Whether elimination is better than keeping the tax depends on the farm. The heirs of an active farmer who passes away will almost always receive better tax treatment from the step-up in basis than elimination of the estate tax, but a retired landowner with significant assets may be better off forfeiting the step-up.

The other challenge that producers will face is proving basis if the step-up is eliminated. The way it is now, we have a basis “reset” every generation, so the farthest we must look back to determine basis is “when Dad died.” If we don’t get that reset, we will have to find what Grandpa paid for that ground 70 years ago if we need to sell it. That will create a recordkeeping nightmare for accountants and attorneys to try and put that information together when everyone who had firsthand knowledge of the event has passed away.

New Tax Rate for Small Businesses

Sole proprietorship (you file a Schedule F), partnerships, and S corporations will have a maximum tax rate of 25% on their business income. This means that even if you are in the top bracket of 35% for ordinary income, your farm income will only be taxed at 25%. This doesn’t simplify the tax calculation, but it will reduce the taxes paid by farmers. This could be a significant impact for high-income producers. This would also reduce the incentives for creating entities, which would go back to simplifying the process for producers.

New Tax Rate for Corporations

The corporate tax rate (for C-corporations) would be limited to 20%. It doesn’t say in the proposal if the 15% bracket would stay a part of the structure and the max would be 20%, or if all income recognized would be paid at 20%. Depending on how this is set, taxes could increase for those producers using the 15% tax bracket in a C-Corp.

There is also mention of “reducing the double taxation of corporate earnings.” Without more details, it’s hard to know what that means or how it will impact farmers, but reducing that tax would be a huge benefit to those operations with a significant deferred tax liability.

Unlimited Section 179

The proposal would lift the limit on how much you can expense for capital purchases in the year of acquisition for assets purchased after September 27, 2017 and for at least five years. This would apply to all assets except structures. There was no mention if there would still be a purchase limit in place or what would happen after the five years. It could be that there would be no Section 179, or it could go back to the levels we have today. We would be back to the uncertainty of “what are they going to do” that we have been faced with for so many years.

While this sounds like a great deal, remember that if you are front-loading depreciation on assets that you have financed, you could create a cash flow problem since you are not matching your cash outlay with a deduction on your return. It will take some discipline to use this tax benefit appropriately.

Interest Expense

There has been a lot of discussion about eliminating the deduction for interest paid. The proposal only eliminates the deduction for C-corporations, but the committee has been given direction to consider the appropriate deduction for non-corporate taxpayers. The elimination of this deduction could be huge for highly leveraged producers. Our average producers spent $35,000 in interest last year. That, with today’s brackets, would cost the producer almost $16,500 in additional taxes (assuming 15.3% self-employment taxes, 25% federal income taxes, and 7% state taxes). This will be a very interesting proposal to watch.

Domestic Production Activities Deduction

The final major change for producers is a proposed elimination of the Domestic Production Activities Deduction. This deduction has been around since 2004 and now amounts to 9% of income or 50% of wages paid, whichever is less. Elimination of this would very much simplify farm tax returns since there is an impact for the cooperatives that producers work with and the calculation is complicated. The impact of this would depend on the profitability of the operation and how much they are paying in wages. For some operations, this will have no impact and for others, it could increase taxable income by more than $50,000. This deduction has always been one that has been received with no expense so while it could have a big impact, it was a “free” deduction before.


Tax law changes are never all good or all bad. Many aspects of the proposed reforms will benefit farm taxpayers, however, the reality is that a lot of compromises will need to be made before any of these changes become law. This will certainly complicate the tax planning season as we don’t know exactly how to plan what’s best for producers. It will also complicate filing season since these types of sweeping changes will significantly impact the forms, calculations, and other aspects. The longer Congress takes to pass something with retroactive provisions, the more delays you should expect in the filing season.

Wintersteen named Iowa State University president

The Board of Regents, State of Iowa, today named Wendy Wintersteen the 16th president of Iowa State University.

Wintersteen’s appointment concludes a nearly six-month national search. She will take office on Nov. 20, 2017. Wintersteen, endowed dean of Iowa State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and director of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station, will succeed Benjamin Allen, who has served as interim president since May 8. Steven Leath, Iowa State’s 15th president, assumed the presidency at Auburn University last spring.

Wintersteen, 61, has led the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences since 2006. During her 11 years as dean, she helped raise more than $247 million in donor support for students, faculty and staff. Undergraduate enrollment in the college has grown by 90 percent, and the college’s placement rate for recent graduates has consistently been 97 percent or higher.

Wintersteen has been with Iowa State since 1979, leaving only briefly (1989 to 1990) to serve as acting National Pesticide Education Program leader for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Extension Service, Washington, D.C.

Prior to becoming dean, Wintersteen served as the college’s senior associate dean and associate director of the Experiment Station. In her career at Iowa State, she also has served as professor of entomology, director of Extension to Agriculture and Natural Resources, and coordinator of pesticide management and pesticide applicator training programs. She serves on the board of trustees of the Farm Foundation and the board of directors of the U.S.-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund. She is president of the board of directors for the Charles Valentine Riley Memorial Foundation.

Wintersteen received the Carl F. Hertz Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award from the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers in 2016. She was honored as a Kansas State University Alumni Fellow for professional accomplishments and distinguished service in 2007. She also is a member of the Entomological Society of America and the American Association of University Women.

Wintersteen earned a bachelor of science in crop protection (1978) from Kansas State University and her doctorate in entomology (1988) from Iowa State.

Her annual salary at Iowa State has been set at $525,000 in year one, $550,000 in year two, and $590,000 in year three. She also will receive a three-year deferred compensation plan with an annual contribution of $125,000 in year one, $150,000 in year two, and $200,000 in year three. Wintersteen’s contract is for five years.

U.S. Pork Industry Seeks 2018 Pig Farmers of Tomorrow

The National Pork Board is searching for the next Pig Farmers of Tomorrow, with applications now open for the industry award through Nov. 21 at www.pigfarmersoftomorrow. The award, in its second year, is designed to recognize, inspire and connect with the next generation of American pig farmers.

This award recognizes future farm leaders, ages 18 to 29, who intend to make pig farming their life’s work and are committed to the U.S. pork industry and to raising pigs using the We CareSM ethical principles.

“One of the National Pork Board’s primary responsibilities is to train and motivate future pork industry leaders,” said National Pork Board President Terry O’Neel a pig farmer from Friend, Nebraska. “The award is designed to recognize and inspire youth who are investing their time and energy into responsible pig farming.”

Up to three award recipients will be selected. Winners will be invited to speak at National Pork Board events, including the March 2018 National Pork Industry Forum in Kansas City. They also will be responsible for providing content for the pork industry’s social media program, #RealPigFarming. To apply, applicants must be actively involved in raising pigs in the United States on a full- or part-time basis and be between the ages of 18 and 29 as of Jan. 1, 2018. Students currently enrolled in a college program also are encouraged to apply.

Applicants must have a completed Common Swine Industry Audit or be willing to have one conducted and paid for by the National Pork Board. Applicants must submit up to five photos that represent them as a Pig Farmer of Tomorrow. The National Pork Board selection committee will name up to eight semi-finalists who will be interviewed by a panel of judges to select the finalists. Three winners will be chosen based on a combination of all application materials.

“It is important for youth in our industry to make the right connections at the right time as they build a career in agriculture,” O’Neel said. “As the winners share their personal stories, the program will both recognize these future leaders and introduce them to experienced producers and networking opportunities.”

USDA Cold Storage September 2017 Highlights

Total red meat supplies in freezers on September 30, 2017 were up 4 percent from the previous month but down 5 percent from last year. Total pounds of beef in freezers were up 2 percent from the previous month but down 6 percent from last year. Frozen pork supplies were up 7 percent from the previous month but down 4 percent from last year. Stocks of pork bellies were up 9 percent from last month but down 17 percent from last year.

Total frozen poultry supplies on September 30, 2017 were up 1 percent from the previous month and up 8 percent from a year ago. Total stocks of chicken were up 5 percent from the previous month and up 7 percent from last year. Total pounds of turkey in freezers were down 5 percent from last month but up 11 percent from September 30, 2016.

Total natural cheese stocks in refrigerated warehouses on September 30, 2017 were down 2 percent from the previous month but up 6 percent from September 30, 2016.  Butter stocks were down 8 percent from last month and down 5 percent from a year ago.

Total frozen fruit stocks were down 3 percent from last month and down 7 percent from a year ago.  Total frozen vegetable stocks were up 17 percent from last month and up 5 percent from a year ago.

CWT Assists with 1.8 million Pounds of Cheese and Butter Export Sales

Cooperatives Working Together (CWT) has accepted 14 requests for export assistance from members Dairy Farmers of America, Northwest Dairy Association (Darigold) and United Dairymen of Arizona that have contracts to sell 1.702 million pounds (772 metric tons) of Cheddar, Gouda and Monterey Jack cheese and 144,403 pounds (66 metric tons) of butter to customers in the Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. The product has been contracted for delivery in the period from October 2017 through January 2018.

So far this year, CWT has assisted member cooperatives who have contracts to sell 57.895 million pounds of American-type cheeses, and 4.701 million pounds of butter (82% milkfat) to 21 countries on five continents. The sales are the equivalent of 640.147 million pounds of milk on a milkfat basis.

Assisting CWT members through the Export Assistance program in the long term helps member cooperatives gain and maintain market share, thus expanding the demand for U.S. dairy products and the U.S. farm milk that produces them. This, in turn, positively affects all U.S. dairy farmers by strengthening and maintaining the value of dairy products that directly impact their milk price.

Syngenta named top agriculture employer in 2017 Science Careers survey

Syngenta ranked in the top 20 among the world’s leading biotech employers, in an annual survey conducted by Science magazine. The company placed 12 out of 20 employers listed in the survey, which garnered more than 7,000 responses worldwide.

The Science Careers Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical and related industries. Respondents to the web-based survey were asked to rate companies based on 23 characteristics. The top three characteristics for Syngenta were treating employees with respect, being socially responsible and having loyal employees.

“This is a tumultuous time for the ag industry, where we as a company rely fully on the continued creativity and dedication of our people to deliver innovation into the hands of farmers around the world,” said Michiel van Lookeren Campagne, head of global seeds research, Syngenta. “We are very happy that despite these challenges, we have been able to maintain our reputation as a great place to work. This is absolutely essential for sustaining our innovation leadership in the industry.”

Syngenta is a leading innovator and collaborator in plant genetics, with biotechnology and seeds research operations based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., and Beijing, China.

A robust R&D investment and pipeline enables Syngenta researchers to develop seed trait technologies that are beneficial to farmers, consumers and the future of agriculture. These efforts also help Syngenta deliver on The Good Growth Plan, the company’s global framework of sustainability commitments that include making crops more efficient.

This year marks the 8th year that Syngenta has ranked as one of the top 20 best biotech companies for which to work worldwide.

The complete rankings of the 2017 Science Careers Top Employers survey can be found online at the Science magazine website.

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