Ag Chat with Bob Bosold - March 2nd

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- The official Class 3 dairy price for February is nothing to brag about. It's $13.40 a hundred-60 cents less than the January price and $3.48 less than last February. It's also the lowest Class 3 price since June of 2016. For 2017, the Class 3 price averaged $16.17--$1.30 more than the average Class 3 price in 2016 of $14.87.

We could get a look at the new farm bill, as proposed by the House Agriculture Committee, very soon. Committee chair, Congressman Mike Conaway of Texas, says he's just waiting for the ok from House leadership to release his committee's plan. Conaway says he wants to start marking up the new bill before the Easter recess and have it ready for the House floor sometime in April. And he said House budget writers shouldn't come asking for him to make big budget cuts in the bill since the agriculture community is facing such tough times right now.

The Bayer Corporation says it is getting rid of more of its assets so regulatory bodies in various countries will ok its buyout of Monsanto. The latest Bayer sell-off means the company is moving its entire vegetable seed business with potentially more divestitures coming in the future.

Company officials didn't say who might be buying that division but they hope it satisfies concerns expressed by European Union regulators. Bayer now says it might take until later this summer to finalize the deal which is costing Bayer 62 and a half billion dollars. The U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment oked the deal last year.

A couple of large Midwest farmer owned Cooperatives are in the news. Land O'Lakes, one of the largest farmer owned co-ops, headquartered in the Twin Cities, is reporting that 2017 was a very good year for their bottom line. They had record net earnings last year of $364.8 million on sales of $13.7 billion. That's up from their 2016 bottom line of $319.9 million in net earnings on sales of $13.2 billion in 2016. It's the 4th consecutive year of positive net earnings growth for Land O' Lakes. The sales breakdown shows dairy food sales of $3.9 billion, crop input sales of $5.7 billion and animal nutrition sales at $3.7 billion.

And Foremost Farms USA dairy cooperative, headquartered in Baraboo is closer to building a new 55,000 square foot processing plant in Greenville, Michigan. Co-op officials say the Michigan Strategic Fund has approved plans for the plant to start by processing just over 3million pounds of raw milk a day into cheese, butter and yogurt with the plant eventually expanding to process 6 million pounds of milk a day.

The U.S. Senate has approved 3 of President Trump's nominees to jobs in the U.S. Trade Ambassador's office. The most important approval was for Kansas native Greg Doud to become the chief agricultural negotiator in the office with Dennis Shea and C.J. Mahoney approved for lower level ag trade positions. Doud was nominated back in June of last year but Arizona Republican senator Jeff Flake put a hold on the nomination until earlier this week. For the past 4 years, Doud has been the president of the Commodity Markets Council.

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