Ag Chat with Kristin Smith - Dec. 28th

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ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- Some Wisconsin dairy experts are encouraging farmers to rethink their contracts as an oversupply of milk strains the market. In the past, farmers didn't need to worry about producing too much milk because finding another buyer was never a problem. But an oversupply of milk has changed the market and Wisconsin producers no longer have that flexibility. Troy Schneider, an attorney from Chilton who focuses on agriculture said milk contracts should include an amount farmers expect to produce to ensure their milk has a market. But, Shelly Mayer, executive director of the Professional Dairy Producers group, disagrees that managing milk production is the best way to address oversupply. Mayer has said more communication between farmers and their buyers can help farmers make the right decisions.

Photo: Pixabay / MGN

And in Wisconsin, there were 300,000 hogs and pigs on Wisconsin farms in December, according to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service. Inventory was down 10 percent from last December's 335,000 head. Market hogs totaled 255,000 head while the rest were breeding hogs. In the U.S., inventory of all hogs and pigs for December was 73.2 million head. This was up 2 percent from last December, but down slightly from September 2017. Breeding inventory was at 6.18 million head, while the market hog inventory came in at 67.1 million head.

Monsanto being bought by Bayer-Ag has increased CEO Hugh Grant's pay by 64 percent to $19.5 million for 2017. He received a $6 million bonus plus $11 million in stock awards, as well as $1.5 million in salary. No stock options for Grant because Bayer doesn't allow it. Monsanto met there 2017 performance goals, but fell short in 2016. Bayer-Ag purchased Monsanto for $66 billion.

A cautionary sign for US meat processors as the level of chicken meat in cold storage has hit its highest level at 897 million pounds in more than a decade, according to the USDA. JPMorgan analysts question whether the buildup shows too much industry supply versus demand, though they also note that poultry producers continue to struggle with lower-than-normal levels of hatching rates, which has made expansion of US poultry flocks difficult. Investors are watching poultry companies like Tyson Foods, Sanderson Farms and Wayne Farms expand poultry production, saying that domestic and international demand merit new plants. But the chicken business historically has struggled through booms and busts.

Cooperatives Working Together has accepted 11 requests for export assistance from three cooperatives. These cooperatives have contracts to sell 1.42 million pounds of Cheddar and Monterey Jack cheese, and a little over 220,000 pounds of butter to customers in Asia and the Middle East. The product has been contracted for delivery from December 2017 through March 2018. This brings the total CWT-assisted member cooperative 2017 export sales to 73.38 million pounds of American-type cheeses and 5.9 million pounds of butter to 21 countries on five continents.

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