News Roundup

News Roundup: Nov. 10-17

By on November 17, 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.

  • “Morganton community college rallies to help turkey farmers,” Asheville Citizen-Times: The only Animal Welfare Act-approved poultry processing facility in the southeast closed its doors last month, leaving farmers in six states scrambling to fill holiday orders. The nearest U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved slaughterhouses are in Ohio, Kentucky, Kansas and Alabama, and some farmers said the future of local poultry may have been jeopardized by the closure. Now a Morganton community college is working to help local turkey farmers get their birds processed in time for the holidays. The Western Piedmont Community College Sustainable Agriculture Program recently received a special exemption from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to process turkeys for farmers.  Students, faculty, and staff are dedicating their class and personal time to processing poultry. …
  • “This map clearly shows individual farm fields anywhere in the world,” Southeast Farm Press: A new interactive map highlights where all cropland is worldwide in the highest resolution yet, researchers say. Released today, the map shows the world has 1.87 billion hectares of cropland, about 20 percent (or 250 to 350 million hectares) more than previous assessments. The change from previous studies is due to better understanding of large areas never before mapped or places inaccurately mapped as non-cropland, according to a statement by the U.S. Geological Survey. (A hectare equals roughly 2.5 acres.) The study and creation of the resulting map was led by the USGS and is part of the Global Food Security-Support Analysis Data @ 30-m Project, or GFSAD30. The map is built primarily from Landsat satellite imagery with 30-meter resolution, which is the highest spatial resolution of any global agricultural dataset, USGS says. Statistics on every country in the world can be seen on the map. …
  • “N.C. Ports Positioning Growth As A Cold Chain Gateway,” Greater Wilmington Business Journal: N.C. Ports is positioning itself to be a more competitive cold chain gateway. That gateway, which encourages the use of the port as a temperature-controlled market option for more imports and exports, was the focus of morning presenters at the first N.C. Ports Cold Chain Summit at the Wilmington Convention Center on Wednesday. The event took a look at expanding the ports’ cold chain market and had 130 attendees register from within the industry, ranging from ports officials to economic developers and those within the trade industry sectors, according to officials. Greg Fennell, CCO of N.C. Ports, said more shippers are now choosing ocean over the air.Officials who spoke Wednesday morning said N.C. Ports has been sizing up its assets not only for more opportunities in agricultural exports, but also with the aim of expanding opportunities in cold chain importing. The Port of Wilmington Cold Storage facility opened up in August 2016, which officials said would help in-state export activities. …
  • “Organic-food purists assail the designation for hydroponics,” Charlotte Observer: The National Organic Standards Board, which advises the U.S. Department of Agriculture, voted this month against a proposal to exclude hydroponics and aquaponics — the raising of plants without soil and fish using the same water — from the USDA’s organic certification program.
    Many traditional organic farmers and their supporters say allowing hydroponic farms to be certified organic erodes the integrity of the $16 billion U.S. organic produce industry.
    To them, organic farming is about far more than not using toxic pesticides; it’s rooted in enhancing the fertility of soils, a concept developed in the early 20th century by pioneering organic farmers. Organic farmers worked hard to create the National Organic Program in 2000, an achievement they say is now being watered down by allowing hydroponic farms to be part of it.
    “Unfortunately those very things that it was created to do, which I think in the beginning it did do, is now really damaging because they’re certifying things that none of us believe are organic,” said Dave Chapman, of Long Wind Farm in East Thetford, Vermont. …
  • “Leaders hammer down stakes for North Carolina’s ag, crop science future,” Southeast Farm Press: North Carolina State University Chancellor Dr. Randy Woodson calls the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative a “big deal” not only for the university but also for North Carolina because it will keep the state at the forefront of agriculture and crop sciences for years to come.
    “To see the kind of support that the College of Ag and Life Sciences at N.C. State has received from all of the commodities across the state, both animal agriculture and plant agriculture, tells you how important this project is to the state of North Carolina,” Woodson said at a ceremony Oct. 31 honoring the North Carolina commodity groups who helped fund planning and construction of the new plant science complex on N.C. State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh. …
  • “NC horses threatened by deadly disease. Here’s how it can be spread and prevented,” Herald Sun: Durham and Orange counties often make national lists for their restaurants, entrepreneurs and institutions of higher learning. They also are home to a lot of horses, donkeys and mules — more than 11,000 by some estimates. Statewide, private owners, stables and other operations keep about 306,000 members of the horse family for lessons, trail rides, competitions and other events. To protect those animals, the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services recently reminded horse keepers to make sure their horses, mules and donkeys are vaccinated against Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE). The notice came after the department confirmed the fifth and sixth cases of the diseases this year in North Carolina — one in a pony in Bladen County, the other in an American Quarter Horse in Camden County, according to a release. Neither animal had been vaccinated. …
  • “Vick’s sweet potatoes put Wilson on global map,” WRAL: The Vick family has a long history in the Wilson area. Jerome Vick and his wife Diane left their jobs in 1975 and went to work transforming a 25-acre farm that had been in their family for generations into a full-time occupation. Their roots on the property go back even farther, though. Jerome’s grandfather Olaud Vick had raised all six of his children on the same land. Since those humble beginnings, the family farm has expanded into one of the largest sweet potato farms in the nation, operating on more than 7,000 acres across Wilson, Nash and Edgecombe counties. The expansion of Vick Family Farms has continued not just in size, but also in reach. Charlotte Vick, who, along with her brother Linwood, co-owns and operates the farm with their father Jerome and mother Diane, said around 60 percent of their sweet potatoes are now for overseas consumption, most of that being in Europe. “Our global reach is very exciting for us,” Charlotte Vick said. “I was 5 when my parents left their jobs and started the farm, so I remember all the hard work and late nights getting it off the ground. In the early ’80s, we started growing sweet potatoes, but just to sell to local distributors.”

Recipe: Pork favorites from NC Food Bloggers

By on November 17, 2017

Last month, a handful of N.C. food bloggers  celebrated “Pork-tober,” also known as National Pork Month, by highlighting farmers, farmers markets and recipes featuring pork. The results? Delicious. Our state ranks second nationally in pork production. Duplin, Sampson, Bladen and

DIY Sticky Bands Can Protect Trees from Cankerworms in the Spring

By on November 15, 2017

Turkey will be the main course for many North Carolinians next week as we celebrate Thanksgiving.  After the kitchen is cleaned up however, there’s no time to rest.  Instead, it’s time to worry about another main course which you won’t

Today's Topic

Today’s Topic: NCDA&CS Meat and Poultry Division steps in to help small turkey producers before the holidays

By on November 14, 2017

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.” The Meat and Poultry Inspection Division recently put temporary exemptions in place to allow farms that are permitted to process their own

Poultry operators granted exemption from NCDA&CS

By on November 13, 2017

Small flock owners faced an uncertain business dilemma last month when Cool Hand Meats in Marion, the only small poultry processor in the state, closed its doors. This left many small poultry growers who relied on the processor with no

News Roundup

News Roundup: Nov. 4-9

By on November 9, 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. “CRISIS TEXT ALERT SYSTEM AVAILABLE FOR PORK PRODUCERS,” Southern Farm Network: The Pork Checkoff has

Recipe: Butternut Squash Soup

By on November 9, 2017

Shorter days plus colder nights equals the perfect scenario for trying out a few new soup recipes. We suggest a recipe that uses favorite, in-season fall fruits and vegetables. Butternut squash, pears and apples are all readily available at farmers

Rake your leaves for healthier trees

By on November 8, 2017

Fall in North Carolina is a beautiful sight.  With red maple, ginkgo, and redbud among the many colorful trees in our state, the diverse forests of North Carolina are a sight to behold each autumn season.  You may not be

Today's Topic

Today’s Topic: Update on sweet potato marketing efforts in Europe

By on November 7, 2017

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.” The popularity of sweet potatoes is continuing to grow in Europe. Recent reports saw sweet potato sales up 3,000 percent in Norway,

November is N.C. Pecan Month

By on November 6, 2017

As families prepare for the holiday season, N.C. pecan farmers are harvesting their crop. The Tar Heel state produces 3 to 5 million pounds of pecans annually, and 2017 is shaping up to be a great year. That’s welcome news