News Roundup

News Roundup: Aug. 12-18

By on August 18, 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.

  • “Williams joins state committee; Could boost local farming,” Hendersonville Times-News: Agribusiness Henderson County Executive Director Mark Williams has been named to the state Food Processing Innovation Center Advisory Committee, focusing on employment, investment and value in food processing. The appointment, he says, may be a great opportunity to assist Henderson County’s growing food production market. Food processing and creating value-added products is a way to increase profit margins for farmers, including grading and repackaging vegetables, manufacturing wine and cider and more, a field where Henderson County continues to grow. The Food Processing Innovation Center, planned for the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis, will be a place for research and development in packaging methods, equipment and more. Representing food manufacturers, and perhaps the only Western North Carolina resident on the 14-member council, Williams will serve through Dec. 31, 2020. Also on the committee are state Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler, state Secretary of Commerce Tony Copeland and Dean of N.C. State’s College of Agriculture and Life Science Rich Linton. The committee is an initiative born from the N.C. Food Manufacturing Taskforce that sought to find strategies for economic development in food and agricultural products. …
  • “How Kevin Matthews makes 300-bushel corn,” Southeast Farm Press: Irrigation alone won’t give you 300-bushel corn yields. Taking care of the crop every step of the way is a must for achieving top yields, which includes everything from seed treatments to proper planter adjustment to good fungicide management. At this year’s Blacklands Farm Managers Tour held Aug. 2 at Green Valley Farms in Columbia, N.C., Yadkin County farmer Kevin Matthews outlined the steps his family takes to achieve 300 bushels per acre corn yields. Matthews Family Farms garnered the highest yield in the 2016 North Carolina Corn Yield Contest with a yield of 320.20 bushels per acre on irrigated ground. …
  • “EDUCATE BEFORE YOU REGULATE,” Southern Farm Network: The North Carolina Department of Agriculture hosted the 14th annual Food Safety Forum at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. NCDA Assistant Commissioner of Food Safety, Joe Reardon discussed the goals of the department when helping farmers comply with the Food Safety Modernization Act:
    “What we want to do is put processes in place, tow work with them, meet them where they are, put an on-farm readiness review program in place, so we can go out in a non-regulatory mode, help them understand the rule, things that they need to put in place to comply with the rule, hopefully in a way that we can balance the cost of regulation and the benefit public health as it would apply to the growing, packing and harvest of produce.” You’re doing all this in a preemptive manner, you’d rather help them get in compliance than see them fined later.
    “That’s right. We really believe the educate before you regulate is the right thing to do, and that’s what we’ve been doing over the last few years, so we plan to roll out the on-farm readiness review process in the middle of 2018 to work with our farmers.” One thing that producers should keep in mind, is that a lot of times it’s a minor tweak of their operation, not necessarily a major overhaul. …
  • “King Bee’ tends to the young in Edgecombe County,” WRAL: (Video) Barry Hines created Bee Blessed Pure Honey and all money earned from sales of the product helps kids in Edgecombe County.
  • “Gene McNutt grew 37 different experimental soybean varieties this year,” Southeast Farm Press: Prior to 2010, Monsanto tested its Group VI and Group VII Asgrow Roundup Ready 2 Xtend soybean varieties in Matthews, Mo., but due to early frost in that part of the country, the company was looking for a seed company on the East Coast to help develop the new varieties that do best in the Southeast. With this in mind, Monsanto turned to Cherry Farms Seed Company in Columbia, N.C. to plant and test its Group V, VI and VII Asgrow varieties. “Monsanto had trouble a lot of time getting the Group VI and VII varieties they needed in Missouri because that’s not where they are grown. They often couldn’t get the production they needed because of early frost,” explains David Brickhouse, president of Cherry Farms. Cherry Farms built a completely separate plant to handle the new pre-commercial Asgrow Group VI and Group VII soybean varieties and contracted with local farmer Gene McNutt to produce the pre-commercial varieties on his farm, located right across the road from Cherry Farm’s headquarters on Highway 94 near Columbia. “It works well for us because we can grow Group IVs to VIIs,” Brickhouse explains. “We have a long planting window and a long harvest window. We’re still harvesting some of the Group VIIs in December.” Brickhouse explains that McNutt was the ideal farmer to grow the pre-commercial varieties for Cherry Farms and Monsanto. “Gene is a good farmer who pays attention to details,” he says. …
  • “Central North Carolina to Double Crop Corn,” Southern Farm Network (Audio) After a sketchy start to the 2017 growing season, most crops are doing really well as we near the finish line, with just the right mix of rain and sun. Don Nicholson, NC Department of Ag regional agronomist says there’s machinery in a lot of fields in his area, especially tobacco:”We got dry and everybody kind of took a breath, unless they were under irrigation, gave it a few days, finally got a little rain across most of the area, things are looking a little better, and move on. We have a really nice crop in the field, and just need a little extra water to keep it going.” You were largely bypassed by the tomato spotted wilt virus this year, were you not? “Well, the further east and south you go, the worse it was, the early set tobacco, the mid-April tobacco had it worse than the later April, first of May set tobacco, didn’t have it nearly as bad as areas east and south of us, that’s for sure, but we had our share.” You have any corn coming out? “Actually, we do, some under irrigation matured out and ready to pick, about 200 bu/a. I’d say there’s probably some dryland corn that will be about that good, coming out when they get a chance to get into the field with a combine and get it out. There’s some very good corn in the field this year.” Are you finding producers are picking a little wet, just to get it out of the field? “They are starting a little on the high moisture side, just to get it out of the field. And I have one producer that’s going to go back in and do a double-crop some corn that he picked about ten days ago.” …
  • “Ramping Up Food Allergy Prevention,” North Carolina Health News: Farmers and food processors receive a briefing on FDA requirements that food be kept clear of undeclared allergens.
    Keeping track of every particle of peanut or other potential allergens in a food production plant is not simple. Yet it can be done, says food scientist Steve Taylor, co-director of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program at the University of Nebraska, who spoke at an annual food safety forum organized by the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Raleigh on Tuesday. Success requires segregating and labeling risky ingredients, highly intentional production scheduling and meticulous cleaning of sticky foods such as peanut or almond butters off of processing equipment. Managers must remain mindful of the probability that workers can unintentionally cause contamination, particularly since only minute amounts of allergens can trigger reactions that send some people to hospital emergency departments. …

Recipe: Honey Citrus Glazed Carrots

By on August 17, 2017

August 19 is National Honey Bee Day. According to the National Honey Board, honey bees are responsible for about 80 percent of all insect pollination. In all, honey bee pollination is valued at more than $17 billion a year. The

August is Tree Check Month

By on August 16, 2017

Trees may not need an annual visit to the doctor, but they do need care every now and then. Many homeowners with yard trees are all too familiar with annual trimming, mulching, or watering during periods of drought. Landscape trees

Today's Topic

Today’s Topic: USDA forecasts huge increase in NC cotton production; yields of many crops higher than last year

By on August 15, 2017

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.” The USDA’s August crop report for North Carolina indicates yields are looking good across the board. The cotton yield is forecast at 967 pounds

News Roundup

News Roundup: Aug. 5-11

By on August 11, 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. “Will dicamba technology remain available in Southeast?” Southeast Farm Press: Despite all the issues of

Recipe: National Potato Day

By on August 10, 2017

National Potato Day is Aug. 19, giving North Carolina residents the perfect opportunity to celebrate “new” potatoes. North Carolina farmers produce early-crop or summer-harvested potatoes, which are on the market during June and July. These new potatoes are both fresh

State Farmers Market helps farmers and specialty vendors grow their businesses

By on August 9, 2017

National Farmers Market Week is Aug. 6-12. North Carolina has numerous reasons to celebrate this event because our state’s farmers markets provide residents with fresh, healthy food and support the efforts of local farmers. According to the U.S. Department of

Happy Birthday, Smokey Bear!

By on August 9, 2017

Today is Smokey Bear’s 73rd birthday, and he is still working hard to get his message out that “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.” Smokey Bear has been a symbol of fire safety and prevention since 1944. The purpose of the

Today's Topic

Today’s Topic: Commissioner’s Food Safety Forum is Aug. 15

By on August 8, 2017

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.” The 13th annual Commissioner’s Food Safety Forum is coming up Aug. 15 at the State Fairgrounds. The forum will take place from 9

Community events bring crowds to NC farmers markets

By on August 7, 2017

National Farmers Market Week is Aug. 6-12. North Carolina has numerous reasons to celebrate this event because our state’s farmers markets provide residents with fresh, healthy food and support the efforts of local farmers. According to the U.S. Department of