News Roundup

News Roundup: Jan. 30-Feb. 5

By on February 5, 2016

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.

  • “Our Coast’s Food: Keeping It Local,” Coastal Review: “Easy beast,” I said to chef Kyle Lee McKnight shortly after I met him in 2010. The local foods movement that had been gaining momentum nationally since 2000 was just catching on in Wilmington. McKnight was blasting restaurants that claimed to serve local foods but really weren’t. McKnight had caught my eye some months earlier on Facebook. I noticed him chastising another chef for using strawberries out of season in North Carolina.  …
  • “WNC Agricultural Options awards $177,000 in grants to diversifying farmers,” Mountain Xpress: Diversifying farmers in western North Carolina are receiving support to offset the risk of expanding and trying new ventures. WNC Agricultural Options awarded 33 farm businesses a total of $177,000 in $3,000 and $6,000 grants on Thursday at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River. Farm projects include a poultry house conversion to an aquaponics greenhouse, cold storage for a multi-plot urban farm, and improved Fraser Fir seedling production to deter root disease. Seven of the farm business received $3,000, and 26 received $6,000. The N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission is the exclusive financial supporter of WNC AgOptions, which aims to build sustainable farming communities in the mountain region by providing resources directly to farmers. “The WNC AgOptions program has proven success stories,” said Bill Teague, Chairman of the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. “We continue to be amazed at how these producers utilize these funds to ensure their family farms grow and remain profitable.” …
  • “Industrial hemp farming legalized in NC,”  Public Radio East: (Audio) In October, North Carolina lawmakers legalized industrial hemp. Not to be confused with its sister plant marijuana, hemp has many uses for commercial products, which North Carolina farmers are excited about. Sarah Finch has more on the state’s new hemp pilot program. Hemp refers to a specific strain of Cannabis plants that are grown from a seed and can reach up to 15 feet tall. Although the word cannabis often brings to mind images of ‘smoking pot’ or ‘getting high’, hemp plants contain very little of the psychoactive chemical called THC. North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association spokesperson Claudia Townsend explains the difference. “Hemp and marijuana are within the same family, but they have really different growing attributes.” For hundreds of years, hemp plants have been bred specifically for a variety of purposes. It is an incredibly versatile agricultural crop that can be used in a wide range of applications from clothing and medicine to building materials and paper products, which makes it an appealing commodity for eastern North Carolina farmers. “The great thing is, hemp can be used for food, fuel and fiber, and within those 3 basic categories there are 25 thousand different products that can be made out of hemp.” …
  • “Disaster waiting to happen’ in North Carolina wheat,” Southeast Farm Press: Christina Cowger urges North Carolina wheat producers to be prepared for fusarium head blight or scab this year by monitoring their risks and signing up for free scab alerts from the U.S. Wheat & Barley Scab Initiative before April which is the next scab season for the state. Speaking at the North Carolina Commodities Conference in Durham Jan. 15, Cowger, small gains pathologist at North Carolina State University, said the alerts are free and delivered by text or email. Signing up is easy at the website that allows farmers to actually look at their scab risk. The website includes daily in-season risk maps for each locale and provides scab prediction based on geography, grain type and forecast weather patterns. …
  • “Cider industry growing; guest worker program gets mixed reviews,” Asheville Citizen-Times: Apple growers heard Wednesday about a hard cider industry ready for more local apples, the H-2A visa program for seasonal labor, techniques to produce quality fruit and much more at the annual Winter Apple School. Held at Blue Ridge Community College, the 2016 Winter Apple School offered a wide array of panel discussions, with experts and growers on topics from weather stations to disease management and the burgeoning cider industry. Tommy Thompson, chair of the Henderson County Board of Commissioners, gave a welcome address, saying the apple growers assembled need to be thanked for their contributions to the area. …
  • “Food Manufacturing Taskforce Nearly Complete,” Southern Farm Network: (audio) Dr. Richard Linton, Dean of the college of Ag and Life Sciences at NC State Was a keynote speaker at the 11th Annual Ag Development Forum yesterday at the Holshouser Building at the State Fairgrounds. While Dean Linton has been leading the charge for the Connect NC Bond Referendum coming up on the March 15th primary ballot, Thursday’s focus was on the Food Manufacturing Taskforce. …
  • “Second oyster farm could come to Masonboro Sound,” Wilmington Star-News: For more than a decade Michael Goins has been paddling his kayak through Masonboro Sound, casting a line for fish or just taking in the view. When he heard that the N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries could lease nearly 5 acres of the sound for a private oyster farm, he worried his trips would be detoured. “The kayaking community kind of got up-in-arms because, ‘Gee, are we not going to be able to access it?’,” said Goins, a Wilmington-based optometrist. But at a public hearing on the proposed farm last Wednesday in Wilmington, fisheries officials assuaged his fears. Goins now says he thinks the farm would benefit Masonboro Sound by attracting fish and filtering the water. And Kayakers and fishermen would still be allowed in the farm area — as long as they don’t disturb the oysters. …
Game Day Meatballs

Local Dish: Game Day Meatballs

By on February 4, 2016

We’ve noticed that Super Bowl excitement is at a higher level than usual as fans can’t wait to cheer on our very own Carolina Panthers to a Super Bowl win. To get ready for Sunday’s big game, we thought we

Robert Earl Jones, Sr.

Black History Month: Robert Earle Jones Sr.

By on February 3, 2016

The North Carolina Agricultural Hall of Fame was created by the 1953 General Assembly to honor North Carolinians who have rendered distinguished service in the science and art of agriculture. The Hall of Fame room on the first floor of

Today's Topic

Today’s Topic: Ag Forum set for Feb. 4

By on February 2, 2016

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.” The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is hosting two events aimed at farmers and agribusinesses on Thursday in the Holshouser

News Roundup

News Roundup: Jan. 23-29

By on January 29, 2016

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. “Johnston Co. May Have Competition On Proposed CSX Project,” Time Warner Cable News: “At the end

In the Kitchen with Brian and Lisa: Social Media Recipe Roundup

By on January 28, 2016

WRAL reporter Brian Shrader and our own Lisa Prince feature seasonal recipes in their weekly Local Dish Cooking segment. This month Brian and Lisa test out several recipes from Facebook. Check out the recipes to find out which one was


And it spreads: Laurel wilt found in Onslow County for first time

By on January 27, 2016

Laurel wilt is a devastating non-native disease of redbay trees and other plants in the laurel family in the southeastern U.S. Native to Southeast Asia, it was first detected near Savannah, Ga., in the early 2000s and has since spread

Today's Topic

Today’s Topic: 2015 wasn’t a banner year for NC crops

By on January 26, 2016

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.” Thanks to a combination of bad weather and lower commodity prices, North Carolina farmers didn’t have the best of years in 2015,

News Roundup

News Roundup: Jan. 16-22

By on January 22, 2016

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. “Avian flu scare over in NC, but vigilance continues,” News & Observer: State officials have ended


Tar Heel Kitchen: Cola Roast

By on January 21, 2016

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