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POTTER, NE

Nebraska wheat plantings drop

Due to a dismal financial outlook, Nebraska farmers will plant less wheat acre than ever before. Producers planted 1.09 million acres of hard red winter wheat last fall to harvest in 2017, 20 percent less than the year prior and about half what got planted a decade ago for harvest in 2007, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service.

"Right now, the cost of wheat production is higher than the price per bushel," said Caroline Brauer of the Nebraska Wheat Board, adding that farmers in some areas of Nebraska would lose a dollar a bushel if they planted wheat this year.

"From a business standpoint, it's just not sustainable to plant that. It's not a viable option," she said. "Farmers had to make a decision in some instances that led to saying it's not economically viable to plant a wheat crop on some acres this year."

Farmers have been sowing fewer wheat seeds nationally as well. The USDA estimated 36.6 million acres of winter wheat got planted last fall, down 7 percent from the year prior. The decrease in wheat planted in Nebraska has been happening for much longer than can be blamed on current financial woes.

Corn and soybeans, generally the better yield-price combination, have been encroaching on wheat acres for decades; current finances simply hastened the process.

STANTON, NE

Man pinned under gates on farm

Authorities say a man was injured in an accident on a Stanton County farm. Norfolk radio station KNEN reports that medics and deputies were sent March 22 to the farm about 10 miles southeast of Stanton. The Stanton County Sheriff's Office says 60-year-old Richard Prokopec was working alone in a trailer when he became pinned under heavy metal farm gates. He used his cellphone to call for help.

The Sheriff's Office says Prokopec was flown to an Omaha hospital for treatment.

EAST LANSING, MI

Fish honored for lifelong leadership, service to the dairy industry

James A. Fish, Sr. was recently honored by the Michigan Dairy Memorial and Scholarship Foundation (MDMSF) at Michigan State University (MSU) for his many decades of progressive leadership contributions to the state and national dairy industry, his numerous accomplishments as a successful dairy herd manager, in addition to his sustained efforts in tree farming, wildlife habitat, and conservation.

The citation honoring Fish was presented during the Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference held in Frankenmuth in February.

A supporter of artificial insemination, Fish was one of the first dairy producers to use estrus synchronization and partnered with MSU and Upjohn Animal Health on numerous research projects. He owned one of the top Guernsey herds in the country, and eventually converted the herd to grade and Registered Holsteins. Fish was a respected judge nationally and internationally, and also won multiple awards exhibiting his cattle at local, state, and national shows.

Fish was respected for his leadership contributions, and served in numerous leadership capacities. He was responsible for the breed implementing the U.S.D.A. Cow Indexes for recognizing superior Guernsey females, thereby making this breed the first to use genetic evaluations for identifying top cows in the breed.

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK

Metal suspected in recalled chicken 

Mexico's leading producer and processor of poultry and other food products, announced that its subsidiary OK Foods, located in Arkansas and Oklahoma, has begun a recall of approximately 1 million pounds of breaded chicken. The products, which were produced at its Oklahoma City plant between December 19, 2016 and March 7, 2017, could be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically metal.

Most of affected product remains in the company's inventory control and there have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products.

The company has identified and isolated the problem to one production line in its recently acquired Oklahoma City plant, and it has taken immediately actions to eliminate the problem through increased quality control measures.

CHAMPAIGN, IL

Bayer Invests $8.1M in Soybean advancement

Growers in Illinois and across the Midwest now have the added benefit of a state-of-the-art soybean research facility, increasing accessibility of high quality, locally adapted seeds and raising the bar for yield opportunity.

Bayer announced the grand opening of the Soybean Breeding and Trait Development Center at the Midwest Field Technology Station (MFTS). The new station will house research and development to identify, develop and test new varieties, using modern breeding methods, pushing the limits of yield potential for growers in the Midwest.

The new expansion is one of three soybean research stations Bayer will open in 2017 and part of a three-year, $1 billion commitment from Bayer to invest in new research facilities, expansions and renovations around the country. The four-building, 28,000 square foot facility features space to accommodate a large-scale breeding program to develop top performing soybean products across Illinois and the Midwest.

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