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Knutson Gives Back to Agriculture Students

David Knutson, '53, always wanted to be a farmer, but once he got there, he found it wasn't for him. A decade after graduating from the College of Natural Resources with a degree in agricultural science, Knutson bought 600 acres of sod farmland outside Riverside. "I wasn't having too much fun," he decided three or four years later, and sold the farm.

The experience was a brief but meaningful interlude in Knutson's life; without it, he wouldn't be able to say today that he'd met all his goals. But he has, and then some. As president of Stover Seed Company, which he's owned since 1972, Knutson is practicing just what his CNR classes prepared him to do. Now he is supporting some of today's Agriculture and Resource Economics students as they do the same.

"I wanted to help students who have an interest in agriculture," he said. "I felt that the College of Natural Resources really helped me focus my attention on what I wanted to be in agriculture and in business." Knutson himself attended Cal with some financial support, motivating him to establish the David Knutson Scholarship Fund in 2005. "I want students to have the same opportunities that I had."

Knutson was raised in the Central Valley farming town of Patterson, where his uncles grew beans, tomatoes, and alfalfa. He worked with them throughout high school and college, but after graduating he was drafted, and served two years in the Army. Upon his return he found work in the field seed business, and four jobs later made the move to Stover, which he built into an international company selling lawn, flower, vegetable, and native plant seeds.

Knutson's most recent gift to augment the David Knutson Scholarship Fund was through an IRA Charitable Rollover. Legislation on the rollover, which has been repeatedly extended and is in place for 2011, allows individuals 70 and older to make income tax-free contributions from retirement funds to 501(c)(3) organizations such as UC Berkeley.

Knutson, who has made gifts totaling $45,000 for his endowed scholarship fund, also gives to intercollegiate athletics, the California Alumni Association, and other Cal programs. "I have a great fondness for UC Berkeley," he said.

- By Nate Seltenrich

Making the Most of Charitable Rollovers

The IRA Charitable Rollover allows individuals age 70 and older to make direct transfers totaling up to $100,000 per year ($200,000 for federally recognized married couples if each spouse has his or her own plan) to 501(c)(3) charities, without having to count the transfers as income for federal income tax purposes. A donor can name a fund and choose its purpose with a gift of $50,000.

Transfers must be made directly from a traditional or Roth IRA account by your plan provider to the charity and can be used to satisfy your Minimum Required Distribution. Funds that are withdrawn by you and then contributed do not qualify.

For more details contact Kathryn Moriarty Baldwin: or (510) 643-6641.