News Roundup

News Roundup: Oct. 3-9

By on October 9, 2015

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.

  •  “Troxler: Saturated fields, continued rain resulting in crop damage,” WRAL: North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said Saturday that crops across the state continued to be damaged thanks to continued rain and saturated ground. “It’s not the amount, at this point, but it’s the duration of the event,” Troxler said during a news conference with other state leaders. “We have waterlogged fields, and we’re beginning to get reports of fresh fruits being damaged, particularly apples, potatoes and pumpkins.” …
  • “Local pumpkin patches damaged by heavy rains, flooding,” WGHP: Heavy rains and standing water means many pumpkins may turn to mold. Aaron Mountain Farms farmer Kim Kiser said she predicts hundreds of the pumpkins on her Stokes County farm could be ruined. “Really, we can’t even get into the fields because of all the rain and mud,” she said. Kiser said the over-abundance of water causes pumpkins to mold and rot, and are therefore not suitable to sell. “Pumpkins are our biggest crop that we grow every year,” she said. “It’s a big part of our income.” Kiser, who sells from a booth at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, said sales are down about 75% of what they would be this time of year in better weather. …
  • “Veterans turned farmers harvest help from agencies,” Washington Times: As Ed Spence was growing up in Harnett County, he dreamed of nothing more than escaping his family’s farm. It was hard work and he’d had enough. So at 18, he joined the Marine Corps. He left the farm to fight in Vietnam and Desert Storm. After 24 years, he retired as a master gunnery sergeant. Spence’s life came full circle in 2010 when he decided to start his own farm to establish a sustainable career. “I didn’t know about soil or crop insurance,” said Spence, who is 61. “I’m a small farmer. I knew nothing.” …
  • “NC’s industrial-hemp-cultivation legislation awaits governor’s signature,” Mountain Xpress: North Carolina farmers may soon be the newest competitors in the worldwide hemp market, pending a signature from Gov. Pat McCrory. Growing industrial hemp, as opposed to simply importing and processing it for use in derivative products, would be legal in North Carolina under NC Senate Bill 313 — which originally pertained to license plates and registers of deeds until a subsequent addition by sponsor Rep. Jeff Collins (R, Nash County). McCrory’s approval is the last step after speedy affirmative votes in both the N.C. House (101 votes to seven) and Senate (42 votes to two). “From all indications, the governor is going to sign it,” says Blake Butler, hemp advocate and organizer of Asheville’s recent HempX festival.”He’s in support of it.” If the bill is enacted, an industrial hemp commission will be tasked with managing a statewide pilot program to monitor the inaugural cohort of commercial growers and researchers of the versatile crop, which is used to make thousands of products. …
  • “Recent heavy rain could soak up NC farmers’ profits,” News & Observer: Dan Ward has a joke for urban visitors to his family’s farm in Bladen County. “Peanuts,” he tells them, “do not grow on trees.” Money, as most of his guests already knew, doesn’t either. On Tuesday, Ward blended talk about peanuts and money as he squatted down by one of the many rows of peanuts his family planted on nearly 320 acres this May and illustrated what 13 inches of rain in almost two weeks can do to a crop harvested in October. Gov. Pat McCrory, who was touring the eastern part of North Carolina to get a glimpse of the damage caused by recent rains, has cautioned that while the worst of the storm has passed, some will struggle with its repercussions for weeks and months to come. Fall harvest farmers – who mine their fields for sweet potatoes, cotton, pumpkins, late-producing soybeans and peanuts – are looking at big dollar losses. …
  • “Governor, Ag Commissioner Check on Farmers After Rain Devastates Crops,” WWAY: (Video) Gov. Pat McCrory and other state officials visited our area today to see what the rain over the past two weeks has done to crops. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler toured the area and met with farmers as the agriculture in our state is a great concern. He says peanuts, cotton, and sweet potatoes have taken the biggest hit. Farmers from across the area voiced their concerns this afternoon in Elizabethtown. “We’ve been underwater, and I was wondering if there is any help for us out there,” one farmer asked. Gov. McCrory says there are three things that are disastrous to agriculture, which are a cool wet spring, a hot dry summer and rainy fall; all of which farmer Dan Ward has been faced with. “We do our best every day,” Ward said. “We do our best. You hope and pray for the best. You go to church every Sunday, and if you are fortunate enough to get a good crop, you’re very proud of it.” …
  • “Why North Carolina’s barbecue scene is still smoldering,” The Washington Post:  As you come around a bend in the eastern North Carolina countryside, Grady’s BBQ seems to float on the near horizon, its whitewashed cinder-block building appearing out of the fields on the outskirts of Dudley like a mirage. Inside, Grady’s is as minimalist as on the outside: paneled walls, framed family photos, orange laminate booths, seating for maybe 25. …
  • “Bird Flu could make turkeys scarce for Thanksgiving,” Macon County News: Although the last confirmed case of the avian influenza (bird flu) was in June, experts are bracing for the outbreak’s impact on Thanksgiving. With the potential for the disease to move south with birds migrating for winter, it’s likely that turkeys on the Thanksgiving table will be impacted. “Minnesota was the second largest turkey producing state in the country,” said Joe Deal, Assistant Extension Agent, Agriculture with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. “The disease impacted 8.9 million birds in that state. Many of those birds were turkeys and would have found their way to the Thanksgiving table this fall. North Carolina was the third largest producer of turkeys in the country. As of now, N.C. probably is number two because of the loss in Minnesota.There will be fewer turkeys available for Thanksgiving dinner this year and probably a higher price tag as a result.” …
  • “Farmers hope new oyster bed leases generate revenue,” Wilmington StarNews: The ink is drying on his lease as Tim Holbrook steers his boat through misty marshland. Weaving through the Masonboro Island Estuarine Reserve he pilots toward a two acre swath of water marked off by white poles. The lease, signed that morning at the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, gives him control of that water and the marsh bottom inches below: the future home of a million-plus oysters. “It’s not a bad office,” he said, tossing the anchor off the prow of his pontoon. “It’s a totally new venture but it will — within 12 months — be a full-time job.” In the coming weeks, Holbrook will start a farm here, one that will be virtually invisible at high tide. With a few mesh bags and a cooler-full of oyster seeds, Holbrook also hopes to grow a brand that will get chefs across the state invested in Masonboro’s ecosystem. …
  • “Pumpkins a plenty in Charlotte, but pies to be affected,” WCNC: At local farmers markets and pumpkin farms around Charlotte, you’ll find plenty of pumpkins to choose from. However, a bad summer in the Midwest will likely affect canned pumpkin filler used in pies at Thanksgiving. At Kings Drive Farmers Market, co-owner David Simpson was running a brisk business Thursday. He says having his crop come from the North Carolina mountains has made all the difference. “Prices are the same as last year. Really they’ve been steady for the last couple of years.” NBC News is reporting that the pumpkin crop in Illinois is the worst in a generation. …
  • “NC reverend nominated as a CNN ‘Top Hero of 2015,” WNCN: A reverend in Edgecombe County has been named as one of CNN’s Top Heroes of 2015. Reverend Richard Joyner, of Conetoe, is recognized for his sustainable farming work in the area that is referred to as a “food desert.” A food desert is a place that does not have fresh and healthy foods readily available. Joyner said he started the Conetoe Family Life Center Farm to help young people with health issues and bring fresh food options for his community. The center grows thousands of pounds of food and is then given away to those in need or sold to raise money for a camp for students. …
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Flavor, NC: NC State Fair

By on October 8, 2015

Each month we take a look at local restaurants, farms and farmers markets featured on episodes of UNC-TV’s Flavor, NC. This week, we highlight an episode from season 4 and a visit to the N.C. State Fair in Raleigh. “Folks

Winners announced in ‘Dig into Local’ Best Menu NC contest

By on October 7, 2015

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced winners in its first-ever “Dig into Local” Best Menu NC contest. The event recognized local restaurants and food businesses for their use of locally sourced ingredients. Heirloom Restaurant in Charlotte placed


DIY: Using insecticides to protect or rehab ash trees from emerald ash borer attack

By on October 7, 2015

The emerald ash borer has become notorious in North Carolina. From its first appearance in the state in 2013, it has already left a trail of dead ash trees in its wake. And it continues to spread, prompting a statewide

Today's Topic

Today’s Topic: Prolonged period of rain damages NC crops

By on October 6, 2015

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.” Even without a strike from Hurricane Joaquin, crops across North Carolina are suffering because of prolonged rainfall that has gripped the state for

News Roundup: Sept. 26-Oct. 2

By on October 2, 2015

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. “Pork industry wants Duke to use NC swine waste at plants,” Greensboro News & Record:


Market Report: Find plants and pumpkins this October

By on October 2, 2015

Did you know the four state-operated farmers markets in Asheville, Charlotte, Colfax and Raleigh are open year round? That means you can support local farmers throughout the year. October is a great time to find pumpkins, apples and grapes, as


Tar Heel Kitchen: Peanut Broccoli Casserole

By on October 1, 2015

Since 1926, the Agricultural Review has been a free newspaper published by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. For many years, The Tar Heel Kitchen was a featured column written by the department’s marketing home economist. These recipes

USDA designates 3 more NC counties as primary natural disaster areas because of drought

By on October 1, 2015

  The U.S. Department of Agriculture has designated McDowell, Polk and Union counties as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by a recent drought. Farmers and ranchers in Anson, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Henderson, Mecklenburg, Mitchell,

Today's Topic

Today’s Topic: Number of organic farms in NC is on the increase

By on September 29, 2015

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.” A recently released USDA survey showed that the number of organic farms in the U.S. is increasing, and some of that growth