News Roundup: Nov. 14-20

By on November 27, 2015

News Roundup - this week's top news stories about NC agricultureEach 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.

  • “NC Farmers Begin Selling Live Christmas Trees,” TWC News: (Video) With the holidays around the corner, Christmas tree farms are preparing for major sales. The North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture says the state is the second largest producer of Christmas trees in the country and tree sales generate $75 to $100 million to the state each year. “We’ve got about 1,400 or more Christmas tree farms throughout the state. They are farming about 40,000 acres of Christmas Trees. We typically harvest between four million and five million trees a year,” says Brian Long, a spokesman for the NC Dept. of Agriculture. …
  • “Charlotte leaders look to move Tyvola farmers market,” Charlotte Observer: The city of Charlotte is studying whether the state-operated farmers market off Billy Graham Parkway should be moved to attract more consumers. The city said other state markets in Raleigh and near Greensboro have more shoppers, and that it wants to ensure Charlotte is helping local farmers and that all residents have access to fresh food. “Maybe we need a different location, maybe we need a different system,” said Tom Warshauer, the city’s community engagement manager. Warshauer said one possibility would be to offer the state city- or county-owned land, though he didn’t know where that might be. He also said it’s too early to know how much money, if any, the city might contribute. “We are at the very beginning of exploring how it might work,” he said. “How big does it need to be? What would its impact be on existing market structures?” Warshauer said a driving factor is attendance. The state said the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market attracts about 800,000 people a year. By comparison, the state’s Raleigh market had 3.85 million shoppers and the market in Colfax serving Greensboro had 1.25 million. …
  • “Farmers Encourage Shopping Local for Thanksgiving,”  TWC News: (Video) With Thanksgiving just days away, some shoppers are looking for local foods to put on the table. They were out in full force Sunday at the State Farmers Market in Raleigh. “Cold weather has not deterred too many customers. They are still coming out,” said Janie Cox with Cox Farms Produce out of Goldsboro. She said there are benefits to shopping at the market for Thanksgiving must-haves. “The best thing is probably not paying sales tax, that adds up when you get a big order. Plus, you know it’s fresh, it’s not shipped from out of country, it has to be grown in North Carolina, so it’s very local,” she said. The North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture reports from 2014, the state ranked first in production of sweet potatoes in the country. At the State Farmers Market, vendors said sweet potatoes are in high demand this time of year. “Mainly sweet potatoes and collards, and pie pumpkins, stuff like that,” said Amanda Dunn, with Linda Johnson Family Produce out of Johnston Co. …
  • “Amid concern that dying bees could hurt farming, pesticide-makers point to other risks,” In a Nordic-inspired building tucked in a corner of the Bayer CropScience North American headquarters, high school students wander through 6,000 square feet dedicated entirely to the specialness of bees. Children taste different types of honey and examine the differences between honeybee and carpenter bee specimens. The pesticide maker highlights its work to foster the insects around the world, welcoming school-age children at the site built apart from plant research labs and executive offices. Amid the displays are bottles of Bayer pesticides, something that struck Cara Garrison, a student at Raleigh’s St. Thomas More Academy, as odd. “I thought it was a little weird to see some of that among all the bee-related things,” Garrison said. “I was like, is that supposed to be there?” That display in that building captures Bayer’s multi-billion-dollar balancing act. Some of those pesticides contain tobacco-derived chemicals called neonicotinoids that many researchers say play a role in declining bee populations. …
  • “Soybean crop “worst in 25 years” in SE NC because of wet weather,” WECT: There’s no doubt that it has been raining… a lot! The Wilmington almanac proves it with rainfall totals about 15 inches above average. Saturated soils and standing water is not only an issue when more rain falls, but the showers and storms are negatively impacting farmers. “I can tell you that this has been the worst soybean crop in 25 years,” said Charles Rooks with Rooks Farm Service. “The rain has really hurt us.” “All of the maturity groups of soybeans are going to have some damage in them at different places,” said North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Regional Agronomist Tim Hall. Soybean farmers in southeastern North Carolina are experiencing damaged crops as well as flooded fields. The muddy and wet grounds make the crops inaccessible to the farmers. …
  • “Roseboro farmer is ‘Head Nut’ at his 25-acre pecan orchard,” Fayetteville Observer: As he walks the fields of his 25-acre pecan orchard, Elbie Powers pauses to push a button on a walkie-talkie-sized device.
    Off in the distance, a loud BOOM! sounds and a flock of crows scatters. The noise comes from one of the gas cannons Powers has positioned strategically around the farm. The noise, triggered remotely, has the effect of scaring off the crows that try to feed on Powers’ cash crop. “That’s all it does, nothing but noise control,” Powers said. “But it keeps the crows off.” …
  • “Turkeys prove plentiful after avian flu outbreak,” News & Observer: If the doom-saying turkey pundits had been right, we’d all be eating ham this Thanksgiving. Last summer, after a devastating outbreak of avian flu in the big turkey-producing states of Iowa and Minnesota, the media was full of predictions that prices for the surviving turkeys would soar. Holiday turkeys “will be hard to come by,” one expert told Reuters in June. In case you haven’t done your shopping or reserved a turkey yet, rest assured: There will be a turkey for you. Not only is there no shortage, but turkeys are selling for some of the lowest prices in years. For that happy outcome, we can give thanks to the resilience of American agriculture and enterprising farmers like Brad Moline. Moline, 36, is a third-generation turkey farmer in Manson, Iowa, about 80 miles northwest of Des Moines. On May 19, one of his workers reported a “problem” in one of the barns. When Moline arrived, he found 90 dead turkeys among a flock of thousands. …
  • “Sweet Potatoes a Plenty This Year,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) It’s been a rough harvest season this year, with many crops damaged beyond salvage by heavy rains since late September. While the area’s sweet potato crop saw its fair share, Sue Langdon with the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission says there’s plenty for everyone: “North Carolina produces more sweet potatoes of anybody else in the nation. We grow over 50% now, of the national supply. So, if one field is damaged that doesn’t mean that the entire state has been damaged. So, you may have some spot shortage, but we’re very well networked here in the state of North Carolina, and there’s going to be plenty of North Carolina sweet potatoes, not only for Thanksgiving, but it’s going to bring you the next Thanksgiving as well.” …
  • “Rockingham brewing program gets boost from N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund,” Triad Business Journal: A fund designed to help North Carolinians transition away from the fading tobacco industry is helping pave the way for an industry on the rise — craft brewing. The N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission has awarded $50,000 to Rockingham Community College for its Center for Brewing Sciences in downtown Eden that opened in 2013. The money will go toward the purchase of a three-barrel brewing system to be used by students in the college’s Brewing, Distillation and Fermentation Program. “This is a growing industry and being able to provide equipment to increase employability fits well with the NCTTFC’s mission,” said William Upchurch, executive director of the commission. …
  • “NC beer lovers have many reasons to give thanks,” News & Observer: This Thursday, many of us will gather around tables crowded with turkey, dressing, casseroles and cakes, and we will mutter thanks for the bountiful feast before us. But what about the beer on the table? More people than ever now opt for beer where once wine ruled. It’s easy to do here in North Carolina, a state that now boasts around 150 breweries (including East Coast facilities for Oskar Blues Brewery, New Belgium Brewing and Sierra Nevada Brewing). From the mountains to the coast, there’s a lot of beer here. You can find it not only at the breweries, but in the many beer-focused bars, restaurants and bottle shops around the state. We sip it. We analyze it. We photograph it. We tweet it. We review it. We rank it. But do we actually appreciate it? Are we thankful for this cornucopia of beer we have today? The beer industry in the state and nation has come a long way in a very short time, and I worry there’s a cost for such growth. I believe it’s rendered many drinkers cynical and jaded. Or maybe I just spend too much time on the Internet, haven of the cynical and jaded. …
  • “Goat Lady Dairy for sale,” Greensboro News & Record: Goat Lady Dairy, a small artisan goat cheese dairy in rural Randolph County south of Climax, is for sale. But it’s not about to close. “This is all part of the plan so that Goat Lady Dairy can go on being a part of the local food movement and a part of the local economy,” says Steve Tate, who owns and operates the farm with his wife, Lee. The Tates plan to retire and they are now looking for a new owner to take the dairy to the next level. “We’ve been planning this for a long time because we’ve seen many farms and farming families who didn’t have a good exit strategy … and they lose the farm, and the agricultural product stops.” …


N.C. pecans can be used for more than pies this holiday season

By on November 26, 2015

We’re just weeks away from the start of the holiday baking season, and it seems like most holiday gatherings aren’t complete without enjoying some pecan pie. Pecans are very versatile cooking ingredients. Beyond pies, pecans are great for encrusting meats;

Today's Topic

Today’s Topic: Farm-City Week

By on November 24, 2015

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.” It’s National Farm-City Week, which began Nov. 20 and continues through Thanksgiving Day. Across North Carolina and America, communities host a variety of events to


We’ve got a lot to be thankful for this holiday season

By on November 23, 2015

We are truly blessed to live in North Carolina, and holiday meal planning is a good reminder why. We are blessed to have access to so much locally grown goodness throughout the year. We can truly serve an entirely North

News Roundup

News Roundup: Nov. 14-20

By on November 20, 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. “Agricultural-focused startups are blossoming in the Triangle,” News & Observer: North Carolina, and the Triangle

The Got to Be NC Big Cart is spreading holiday cheer

By on November 20, 2015

Be on the lookout for the Got to Be NC Big Cart at the Raleigh Christmas Parade tomorrow. The Parade will be telecast live on WRAL-TV if you can’t make it in person. It’s forecast to be a little chilly,


Tar Heel Kitchen: Almond-Sweet Potato Puffs

By on November 19, 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


It’s a wrap: DIY cankerworm management

By on November 18, 2015

Next week, many North Carolinians will be enjoying a turkey feast to celebrate Thanksgiving. Once the tryptophan-induced naps are over, however, it’s time to worry about another feast: the feast that cankerworms enjoy every spring as they feed on deciduous

Today's Topic

Today’s Topic: November crop report shows effects of excessive rain

By on November 17, 2015

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.” The impact of the excessive rainfall from earlier this fall shows up in USDA’s November crop report for North Carolina. The report

News Roundup

News Roundup: Nov. 7-13

By on November 13, 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. “Aquaponics gaining interest in our state,” Salisbury Post: Last week, I said that I would