News Roundup: June 27 – July 2

By on July 3, 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. Click on the links to go straight to the full story.

  • “Sally Elliott: Cultivating a fertile future for N.C. farmers,” Winston-Salem Journal: Agriculture is still big business for North Carolina, a fact that may come as a surprise to many. Today more than 50,000 working farms in North Carolina contribute at least $74 billion annually to the state’s economy. Greater numbers of people are becoming interested in buying fresh local produce and meats, contributing to renewed vitality in the agriculture industry. Business is great, but many involved in N.C. agribusiness have one common concern: Who will fill the shoes of North Carolina’s aging farmers? According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, the average age of a North Carolina farmer is 58.9 years old. As the current workforce heads for retirement, generating an interest in the younger generation is essential if the industry is to flourish in coming years. …
  • “Visa glitch slows flow of seasonal farmworkers,” News & Observer: The cantaloupes and watermelons at Jacksons Farming Co. of Autryville lie ready to be picked, but they won’t wait long – the cash crop is at its best for only two days. And half the Jacksons’ work force is missing. Those missing are among hundreds of legal seasonal workers, hired mostly from Mexico, who were unable to cross the border for about two weeks because of glitches in the federal visa system, leaving many North Carolina farmers stretched for workers and losing crops. Jacksons Farming Co. expected 43 seasonal workers to arrive on June 11. Nearly two weeks later, they still hadn’t shown up. …
  • “Down East Crops Looking Excellent,” Southern Farm Network: While the western two-thirds of North Carolina struggles with some type of dry conditions, Rod Gurganus, Director of Beaufort County Extension feels a little guilty, lack of moisture is NOT their problem: “I feel bad talking to friends in other parts of the state that are begging for water. In the Blacklands there are areas where we have too much water. We are getting 3-4 inches at a time and the crops are looking very good.” For the most part, corn in the Blacklands region is at the end of tassling and on to silking says Gurganus: “There was some corn that went in a little later, but generally speaking it was a more timely planting this year than last.” For all the struggles winter wheat had making it to harvest, Gurganus says the yields in his area are surprisingly good. …
  • “Business in brief – Duplin Winery expands into S.C.,” Wilmington Star-News: The largest winery in the South just got even bigger. Duplin Winery of Rose Hill has opened a second outlet — this one in at Barefoot Landing in North Myrtle Beach, S.C. Like its Rose Hill site, the new 15,000-square-foot store will allow visitors to sample and purchase wines. It will also feature its popular wine bottling demonstration. Duplin Winery president Dave Fussell said the abundance of tourists constantly around North Myrtle Beach made it an appealing spot. “We get a lot of visitors in Rose Hill from Wilmington beaches,” he said. “In North Myrtle Beach, we’re expecting visitors from Myrtle Beach.” …
  • “All cooped up: Bird flu threat cancels poultry shows,” Hendersonville Times-News: Tanner Queen, 12, raises award-winning chickens to present in the N.C. Mountain State Fair in Fletcher every September. Last year, Tanner showed 13 chickens, earning eight first-place, three second-place and two third-place awards. He also took home Best of Show and Grand Champion titles. Tanner and his 11-year-old sister, Hannah, raise the chickens from chicks, and said they have a lot of fun raising the birds, each developing its own personality. When they head off to the fair this year, though, they’ll have to leave their chickens in the coop. State agencies are taking hefty precautions to keep avian influenza out of North Carolina, including canceling all state poultry shows, public live bird sales between Aug. 15 and Jan. 15 — including the shows at the Mountain State Fair. …
  • “Local dairy focusing on grassfed cows,” Winston-Salem Journal: A dairy in Hamptonville is creating a niche market for its milk from grass-fed cows. John Hostetler has run the dairy in the Amish community off Windsor Road in Hamptonville since 2005, when he moved his family from Pennsylvania. But it was just two years when he made the switch from dairy farm to creamery. Now Wholesome Country Creamery makes and sells its own milk, yogurt, kefir and ice cream. Typically, dairy farms milk their cows, then sell the raw milk to a cooperative that pasteurizes it, homogenizes it and distributes it to retail stores. That’s what Hostetler used to do with all of his milk. But as he looked to the future, he felt that he needed to make a change to make the farm more profitable. …
  • “Heirloom will make you proud to be in N.C.,” Huntersville Herald: Tucked away in the depths of the Coulwood neighborhood of north Charlotte is a choice establishment run by wunderkind and seventh generation North Carolinian Chef Clark Barlowe. Heirloom restaurant is a shrine to North Carolina: the drinks, the floor, the ceilings, the tables, the wall hangings, the host podium. But the most important feature of the restaurant is, of course, the food. The locally grown, locally sourced, gorgeously prepared food will both challenge and please your tastebuds. Barlowe grew up in Lenoir, working in the kitchen of a local restaurant. He enjoyed working there so much that he eventually ended up at Johnson and Wales University in Charlotte to earn his associate’s and then bachelor’s degrees. He interned at two of the restaurants often considered among in the world: The French Laundry in California and El Bulli in Spain. He worked at Chez Pascal in Rhode Island, and in Washington, D.C., and Bermuda, building his culinary skills. …
  • “The State Of Bees,” WUNC: (Audio) Bees are vital to the American food system. Honey bees alone contribute more than $15 billion to the American economy through pollination of plants that produce fruits, nuts and vegetables. But there has been a significant loss of pollinators over the past few decades due to pesticide prevalence, loss of habitat, and exposure to monoculture crops. The White House recently responded to the growing concerns with a new strategy plan. While much of the national attention has focused on honey bee decline, a new exhibit at the North Carolina Botanical Garden explores the health and significance of the many native bee species in North Carolina. “Bee-Hold the Humble Pollinator” highlights the more than 500 bee species in North Carolina and looks at efforts to save them. The exhibit is one part of a four-month series of programming called “Saving our Pollinators.” …
  • “Report shows pork industry continuing to recover from PED virus,” Agri-Pulse: An estimated 66.9 million hogs and pigs were being raised in the U.S. on June 1, up 9 percent from a year earlier and up slightly from March 1, USDA said today in a quarterly report, more indication that the U.S. pork industry has recovered from the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv). The gastrointestinal virus first appeared in U.S. herds in the April 2013, eventually killing millions of animals, mostly piglets, through dehydration. Mature hogs often recovered. During the height of the outbreak last spring, cases were being confirmed on more than 300 farms a week. But in the week ended June 18, there were only 45 so-called “positive accessions,” according to the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. John Nalivka, president of Sterling Marketing in Vale, Oregon, said the statistics on pigs per litter from today’s report tell the story. In the March-through-May period, an average of 10.37 pig per litter were saved – a record for the quarter — up from 9.78 in the same quarter a year earlier, USDA said in the report. Some 29.6 million piglets were born in the quarter, up 8 percent from 2013. “Production efficiency is right back on track,” Nalivka said during a media conference call arranged by the Pork Checkoff to review the report. “It’s like we took 2014 out of the data.” …

Market Report: What’s available at the market this weekend?

By on July 2, 2015

This Independence Day weekend, look for a lot of fresh produce at your regional farmers market. All four of the state-operated farmers markets in Asheville, Charlotte, Colfax and Raleigh will be open on the Fourth of July. Whether you’re traveling


Tar Heel Kitchen: Melon Fruit Bowl

By on July 2, 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


Two tree pests affect oaks and yellow-poplar in Western N.C.

By on July 1, 2015

Most years, native forest pests munch on trees, never really causing huge disturbances or widespread damage.  Natural enemies, environmental conditions, and interactions with the host plant generally keep populations low. But every once in a while, when environmental conditions are


Today’s Topic: Farmers markets full of summer produce

By on June 30, 2015

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.” It’s high time people visited farmers markets across North Carolina. The state is fortunate to have more than 240 farmers markets of all sizes

A trip to Duke Homestead: a lesson in tobacco’s legacy

By on June 29, 2015

Having lived in Durham my whole life, I’ve always been aware of how integral tobacco was to the city’s growth and development. But, until last week, I had never explored Duke Homestead to see where it all began. In the

Steve Troxler and Michael Conaway

Troxler meets with chairman of US House Agriculture Committee

By on June 29, 2015

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and other leaders of the state’s agricultural community met in Raleigh today with U.S. Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, to discuss a variety of national policy issues of interest to North Carolina farmers


News Roundup: June 20-26

By on June 26, 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. Click on the links to go straight to the full story. “NC suspends bird shows

The WNC Farmers Market is starting to see a large selection of fresh, juicy N.C. watermelons.

Market Report: What’s available at the market this weekend?

By on June 25, 2015

Summer is officially here, and so is the bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers. From succulent peaches and sweet blueberries to crisp cucumbers and juicy tomatoes, there’s a bounty of local produce waiting for you at your


In the kitchen with Brian and Lisa: Carolina Shrimp recipes

By on June 25, 2015

WRAL reporter Brian Shrader and our own Lisa Prince feature seasonal recipes in their weekly Local Dish Cooking segment. This month Brian and Lisa are cooking up a few tasty dishes featuring fresh N.C. shrimp. Local shrimp is usually available