News Roundup

News Roundup: Oct. 14-20

By on October 20, 2017

News Roundup - this week's top news stories about NC agriculture

Each week we round up the latest N.C. agricultural headlines from news outlets across the state and country, as well as excerpts from the stories.

  • “Arnold brings home the bacon for brothers,” The Stanly News & Press: Just because you can’t put lipstick on a pig, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t moisturize boss hog twice daily. Arnold has the strut of a peacock, posture of a thoroughbred, markings of a Holstein dairy cow, cleanliness of a feline and the title of Grand Champion. Arnold, a crossbred hog, was recently crowned Grand Champion at the N.C. State Fair. Arnold is the show hog of brothers Griffin and Eric, the sons of Rodney and Janet Huneycutt, all of Stanly County. For the last several years Griffin and Eric have been showing pigs in hopes of capturing the coveted championship at the annual fair. “This has been our goal for the past five years,” Griffin said. …
  • “As NC craft beer industry grows, New Belgium Brewing exec hired to guide brewers,” The News & Observer: The North Carolina Brewers Guild hired a new director who has been the top lobbyist for one of the country’s largest independent breweries. Andrew Lemley, a former Lutheran pastor, will come to Raleigh from New Belgium Brewing in Fort Collins, Co., where he led the company’s lobbying efforts for the past three years through its government affairs program. He’ll be well acquainted with North Carolina’s beer policies, as New Belgium’s East Coast outpost has been up and running in Asheville for more than a year. “He will be a great asset for us as we continue to move things forward, whether advancing the interests of brewers in the state or playing defense against anything that comes up,” said Jamie Bartholomaus, vice president of the guild’s board and founder of Foothills Brewing in Winston-Salem. “It’s a fairly tough job, honestly,” he said. “There’s a combination of skills required to be successful. Andrew had a mix of all the things we feel are important.” Lemley replaces Margo Metzger, who left the guild in August to become marketing director for Our State magazine. He is the first director to come from a brewery and the first person from out of state. …
  • “Randleman man’s pumpkin sets State Fair record: 1,458.5 pounds!” Asheboro Courier-Tribune: A 1,458.5-pound pumpkin grown by Elijah Meck of Randleman and a watermelon weighing 316 pounds grown by Todd Dawson of Garner took the top prizes in the Great Pumpkin and Watermelon Weigh-Off at the N.C. State Fair. Both entries shattered the previous state records of 1,404 pounds for a pumpkin and 262.5 pounds for a watermelon, according to contest officials. Meck’s super-sized fruit spent 116 days on the vine. When asked about his secret to success, Meck replied, “You have to know your soil and know your seed.” The second-place pumpkin of 1,118 pounds was grown by Mark Rollins of Clyde. Third place went to Susie Zuerner of Arden with a pumpkin that weighed 791.5 pounds. Gary Lovitt of Macclesfield took home the Howard Dill Award for the prettiest pumpkin. …
  • “Beekeeping, Farmland Grants Available,” Coastal Review Online: County governments, nonprofit organizations and certified beekeepers pursuing farmland preservation projects and beehive grants have until Dec. 15 to apply for funding assistance from the North Carolina Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced Tuesday. This year’s request for proposals includes statewide general appropriations for traditional farm preservation projects and the new North Carolina Beehive Grant Fund for the purchase and construction of beehives. The Beehive Grant Fund is accepting its first cycle of applications this fall for certified beekeepers to establish new beehives. The request for proposals includes $25,000 for beehive projects on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible recipients. “The new beehive grants will further support family farms in North Carolina,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in the announcement. …
  • “James Sprunt’s small business center to offer farm school,” Sampson Independent: The JSCC Small Business Center will offer “The Business of Farming,” an intense 8-week program designed to help farmers thrive and grow. The specialized training sessions for the farm school starts Oct. 24. Farmers will learn how to build the perfect business plan, create marketing tactics and tech-niques, and understand budget and financial issues. After completion, farmers will be better equipped to make strategic decisions and learn from best practices of other farmers. Classes will be held every Tuesday from Oct. 24 to Dec. 12 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dinner will be served from 5 – 6 p.m. for attendees. Classes are free for individuals and are offered as a service of the Small Business Center to the community. …
  • “Henderson County students get first-hand look at agriculture jobs,” WLOS: Local students got a look at future careers they could — one day have — right here in the mountains. “Oh my god, look at this one,” one student exclaimed while picking peppers. About 100 eighth-graders from four Henderson County public schools toured North River Farms and a farm research center. The students learned about local agricultural jobs and met with professionals. Organizers said the agriculture field offers a wide range of jobs. “We want kids to understand that farming is playing in the dirt, working in the field,” county extension agent Steve Pettis said. “There’s a whole lot of appendant careers that go along with it that have to do with technology.” The produce the students picked was for the nonprofit hunger relief group he Society of St. Andrew. It will be sent to local food banks. …
  • “Organic Growers School workshop explores structuring labor on small farms, Dec. 4,” Mountain Xpress: Farming on a small farm requires significant labor, not just from the farmer herself, but from others as well. Sometimes these are family members, especially on small farms, but often farmers hire hourly workers or engage in apprenticeship programs to fill their labor needs. In 2015, Organic Growers School conducted a “Barriers to Farming” survey and concluded that labor was a significant barrier to farm success. According to Steven Beltram, of Balsam Gardens in Asheville, a mixed vegetable farm managing 30 acres of certified organic produce, “Managing labor is an entirely different story and an entirely different skill set than managing plants and animals. I think that fair pay, good working conditions, not expecting anyone to do anything you wouldn’t do, and just being nice to people are all things that I prioritize.” However, to do that well, farmers are often balancing production demands, seasonality of work, ebbs and flows of product, and learning how to train and educate farm employees and apprentices. At Balsam Gardens, “Most people need employment year round and so the seasonal nature of this business creates turnover and bottlenecks in training. Even in season, we have peaks where we need lots of people for a few weeks and then less other times,” Beltram said. …

Recipe: Apple Stuffed Pork Loin and Maple Dough Balls

By on October 19, 2017

October is National Pork Month, which makes it a great time to celebrate the pork industry in North Carolina. Our state ranks second nationally in pork production. Duplin, Sampson, Bladen and Wayne counties are our top hog-producing counties. This week

Today’s Topic: Junior Livestock Sale of Champions raises record $182,500

By on October 17, 2017

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.” The annual Junior Livestock Sale of Champions at the N.C. State Fair raised a record $182,500. The money raised by the auction of champion

NC honeybees

Beekeepers can apply for new beehive grant

By on October 16, 2017

Interest in beekeeping has grown exponentially since the North Carolina State Beekeepers Association signed their first 38 charter members in 1917. Today, the NCSBA has grown to 4,000 members and has become one of the largest organizations working to protect

News Roundup

News Roundup: Oct. 7-13

By on October 13, 2017

Each week we round up the latest N.C. agricultural headlines from news outlets across the state and country, as well as excerpts from the stories. “North Carolina farmers are turning over a new leaf in the hemp industry,” WGHP: (Video)

In the Kitchen with Brian and Lisa: Fig Favorites

By on October 12, 2017

WRAL reporter Brian Shrader and our own Lisa Prince feature seasonal recipes in their weekly Local Dish Cooking segment. This month they feature in-season figs. Figs are available at farmers markets across the state from late summer to early fall.

Don’t trip over your shoestrings! Shoestring root rot, that is!

By on October 11, 2017

Autumn is upon us and temperatures are cooling across North Carolina. We have had adequate moisture this year and many fungi have already, or are currently producing, reproductive structures such as mushrooms. Shoe string root rot, also known as honey

Today's Topic

Today’s Topic: 150th NC State Fair opens Oct. 12

By on October 10, 2017

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.” The 2017 N.C. State Fair opens Oct. 12, and it’s a milestone year. This year marks the 150th N.C. State Fair. To highlight

News Roundup

News Roundup: Sept. 30-Oct. 6

By on October 6, 2017

Each week we round up the latest N.C. agricultural headlines from news outlets across the state and country, as well as excerpts from the stories. “Ag Secretary Perdue Says Communication With the Non-Farming Public Up to Farmers,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio)

scuppernong ice cream

In the Kitchen with Brian and Lisa: Recapping Wine and Grape Month

By on October 5, 2017

WRAL reporter Brian Shrader and our own Lisa Prince feature seasonal recipes in their weekly Local Dish Cooking segment. Last month, Lisa’s featured NC-grown scuppernongs and muscadines. A recent study found that North Carolina’s wine and grape industry continues to