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Becoming a Christian does not make life easier. Becoming a Christian makes you acceptable to God. Therefore, we can endure rotten things with joy because our biggest problem has been solved.

- Todd Friel


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 Agriculture News


Monthly Crop and Weather Report

    FARGO, N.D. - For the month of February 2018, topsoil moisture supplies rated 15 percent very short, 38 short, 46 adequate, and 1 surplus, according to the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service. Subsoil moisture supplies rated 13 percent very short, 40 short, 46 adequate, and 1 surplus.

    Field Crops Report

    Winter wheat condition rated 4 percent very poor, 14 poor, 52 fair, 28 good, and 2 excellent.

    Livestock Report

    Cattle and calf conditions rated 0 percent very poor, 2 poor, 17 fair, 67 good, and 14 excellent. Cattle and calf death loss rated 1 percent heavy, 53 average, and 46 light. Calving progress was 9 percent complete.

    Sheep and lamb conditions rated 1 percent very poor, 2 poor, 17 fair, 73 good, and 7 excellent. Sheep and lamb death loss rated 1 percent heavy, 49 average, and 50 light. Lambing progress was 20 percent complete.

    Hay and roughage supplies rated 10 percent very short, 24 short, 57 adequate, and 9 surplus.

    Stock water supplies rated 5 percent very short, 16 short, 78 adequate, and 1 surplus.

    The next monthly report (for March) will be issued March 26, 2018. Weekly reports will begin April 2nd for the 2018 season.


    FARGO, ND (NDSU) - Agricultural producers have until March 1, 2018, to file their 2017 income tax returns without penalty if they have not made estimates.

    "Producers have until April 17 to file without penalty if they have paid their estimated tax by Jan. 16, 2018," says Ron Haugen, North Dakota State University Extension Service farm economist.

    Items to note for 2017 income tax preparation:

* The 179 expense election is $510,000. Generally, the 179 expense election allows producers to deduct up to $510,000 of machinery or equipment purchases for the year of the purchase. There is a dollar-for-dollar phase-out for purchases of more than $2,030,000.

* The additional 50 percent first-year bonus depreciation provision is in effect for 2017. It is equal to 50 percent of the adjusted basis after 179 expensing. It only applies to new property that has a recovery period of 20 years or less.

* The standard deduction is $12,700 for those who are married and filing jointly. The deduction is $6,350 for singles.

* The personal exemption amount is $4,050.

* Long-term capital gains and qualified dividend income is taxed at a 0 percent rate for individuals in the 10 or 15 percent tax brackets and at 15 percent for those in the 25 to 35 percent brackets and 20 percent for those in the top income bracket.

* The annual individual retirement account contribution is $5,500 for 2017 or $6,500 for individuals 50 or older.

* The annual gift tax exclusion for 2017 remains at $14,000.

* The 2017 Social Security wage base is $127,200.

* The business mileage rate for 2017 is 53.5 cents per mile.

* Crop insurance proceeds, if received in 2017, may be deferred to 2018 if you qualify. You must use cash accounting and show that, under normal business practices, the sale of damaged crops would occur in a future tax year.

* A livestock deferral can be made by those who had a forced sale of livestock because of a weather-related disaster.

* Remember that qualifying farmers can elect to compute their current tax liability by averaging, during a three-year period, all or part of the current year's elected farm income. This is done on Schedule J. North Dakota farmers who elect to use income averaging for federal purposes also may use Form ND-1FA, which is income averaging for North Dakota income tax calculations.

* Some producers may have generated a net operating loss (NOL) for 2017. Agricultural producers can carry a loss back five years for a refund. They may elect to carry the loss back only two years or elect to carry the loss forward up to 20 years. Note that self-employment tax is not refundable.

    Information on agricultural tax topics can be found in the "Farmers Tax Guide," publication 225. It is available at any IRS office or can be ordered by calling 800-829-3676. Any questions about these topics or further updates should be addressed to your tax professional or the IRS at 800-829-1040 or Call the North Dakota Tax Department at 877-328-7088 or go
to for answers to North Dakota income tax questions.



   (Copyright 2018 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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