News Roundup: Feb. 10-16

By on February 16, 2018

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.

  • “EPA extends comment period on neonicotinoids,” Southeast Farm Press: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is extending the public comment period for neonicotinoid insecticide risk assessments from Feb. 20, 2018, to April 21, 2018. The EPA published preliminary ecological and human health risk assessments in December 2017 for the neonicotinoid insecticides, clothianidin, thiamethoxam, and dinotefuran, and a preliminary ecological risk assessment for imidacloprid (assessing risks to birds, mammals, non-target insects, and plants). In December 2017, the EPA also published new cotton and citrus benefits assessments for foliar applications of the neonicotinoids, as well as a response to public comments on the 2014 Benefits of Neonicotinoid Seed Treatment to Soybean Production. …
  • “CORN, PORK ARE “STARS” FOR 2017 EXPORTS,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) Corn prices are up, based on higher export sales. Stephanie Ho has more for SFN. 2017 was a record-breaking year for U.S. pork exports. Pork Checkoff vice president of international marketing Craig Morris tells SFN exports continue to be an important part of the bottom line for producers. Morris says pork variety meat exports surpassed $1 billion for the first time ever. In the next Pork Checkoff report, more valuable trade information will be available.
  • “Extension: CSAs are a popular way to support small farmers,” Winston-Salem Journal: Q: What is a CSA? I hear people using these initials when talking about fresh produce boxes. Answer: CSA stands for community supported agriculture. It is a mechanism for people to buy locally grown products and to support small farmers. It is a practice that began out of small farmers’ need to raise capital before the growing season and families desire to eat locally grown produce, meats, eggs, jams, and jellies. It is a “promise” between the farmer and the consumer that the farmer will grow the products and the consumer will receive a “share” of it. In the original model, which began in Massachusetts in the 1980’s, shareholders paid the season’s production costs, including the farmer’s salary, in return for a part of all the harvest. Through buying a share, community members were actively supporting small, local farmers and thereby keeping farm land in food production. Members shared in the risk of bad weather and pests, as well as in the bounty of the harvest. …
  • “In the market for farmers,” Richmond County Daily Journal: For four loud hours Tuesday afternoon, the Sandhills AGInnovation Center brought together in its cavernous packing room farmers, buyers and others concerned with profitable agriculture. Looking a bit like speed dating for farmers, the event aimed to match producers with those who might sell their vegetables and fruit, from a small Durham company named Ungraded Produce that boxes “ugly” fruits and vegetables for individual consumption to a supermarket chain. “This is expanding our market,” a delighted Truett Buie said after meeting with Krista Morgan of Lowes Foods. At Jep’s Farm in Raeford, Buie and her husband, Jack, grow only strawberries — a fruit that must be marketed as quickly as it matures. …
  • “Local farmer profiled in documentary,” Winston-Salem Journal: N.C. filmmaker Andrew Brown has chronicled the restoration of a Surry County farm in his latest film, “Somewhere in Beulah Land.”
    The half-hour documentary was shown last week in a private screening at Aperture Cinema. The film follows farmers Kyle Montgomery and Nicole Stockburger as they bring back to life the turn-of-the-century farm started by Montgomery’s great-grandfather, Wesley York. York Farm is in the small community of Beulah, about 10 miles northwest of Mount Airy near the Virginia state line. Montgomery began farming a small section of the 300-acre farm about three years ago. “Farming didn’t enter the equation for me until my last month of college when I volunteered in a community garden,” Montgomery said in an interview.
    He ended up working for a farm, and traveling and visiting other farms after he finished school. …
  • “Lab to farm to table: Science, research are keys to future of NC oysters,” WRAL: From lab to farm to table. After years of over harvest and disease decimating North Carolina’s oyster population, research and aquaculture are seen as keys to rebuilding an industry with important economic and environmental possibilities. Chances are, if you’ve had oysters on the half-shell, you’ve eaten what is called a triploid. Triploids are grown in hatcheries and then tended to in coastal waters. They are widely used in today’s growing oyster bar scene because they grow bigger, faster, and more shapely. The triploids have three sets of chromosomes, instead of two – rendering them sterile, and therefore not preoccupied by reproduction. This allows the shellfish to put all of their energy into growing. …
  • “Export challenges face North Carolina pork, sweet potatoes, tobacco,” Southeast Farm Press: Pork, sweet potatoes and tobacco are key North Carolina agricultural commodities, and the export market is vital for the success of all three. At this year’s Ag Development Forum held during the Southern Farm Show in Raleigh, representatives of the three commodities outlined challenges each faces in the export market. The industry representatives all agreed that trade agreements such as NAFTA are vital. “A trade war would be cataclysmic,” said Andy Curliss, CEO of the North Carolina Pork Council. “We support modernizing our trade agreements, but we do not want anyone to do harm to us or the rest of agriculture. Our trading relationships are well established. We are optimistic about the future. While there is a lot of talk, we believe that we will get through. We will modernize, and it will set the stage for continued opportunity.” Both NAFTA and the Korean trade agreements are vital to the U.S. pork industry. Curliss said Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Canada and China are U.S. pork’s main export markets. He said NAFTA is important because Mexico is a significant trading partner, particularly for hams. “Mexico loves hams. We don’t take a position on walls, but if there is a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, we’re going to cut a hole the size of a ham in that wall,” he said. …
  • “Our Opinion: Scotts, Vicks continue Wilson’s proud tradition in agriculture leadership,” The Wilson Times: We’d call it an embarrassment of riches for Wilson County agriculture, but we’re not embarrassed at all — just pleased as punch and proud of our local sons of the soil. With 2018 scarcely a month old, two of Wilson County’s largest and most prominent family farms have already received statewide recognition, both for their work with sweet potatoes. Scott Farms International was named the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ 2018 Exporter of the Year and Vick Family Farms owners Jerome and Diane Vick earned the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission’s Distinguished Service Award. State Agriculture Commissioner Howard Troxler presented the exporter award to Scott Farms President Linwood “Sonny” Scott Jr., who owns the Lucama farm with wife Alice Scott, during the Ag Development Forum at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. “Scott Farms began sweet potato production with just 15 acres,” Troxler said. “Today, sweet potato production is at 3,000 acres, and the international sector accounts for more than half of their total farm sales of sweet potatoes. “The Scotts have built their business around the principles of hard work and delivering a quality sweet potato product. They pride themselves on service and treating people as they would like to be treated.” …
  • “Pesticide handling rules toughened,” The Robesonian: Hopefully, some of you reading this may recall a previous article I wrote briefing you on recent Environmental Protection Agency revisions to Worker Protection Standards for farms, nurseries, and greenhouse operations regarding respirators. This may come as a surprise to some, but EPA has made some new revisions, this time in regards to pesticide labeling for the newly registered dicamba (Engenia, FeXapan, and XtendiMax) and 2,4-D (Enlist Duo and Enlist One) products labeled for in-season, over-the-top application of Xtend or Enlist cotton and soybeans. These products are now registered as Restricted-Use Pesticides — meaning only certified applicators can purchase them and only certified applicators, or individuals working under the direct supervision of a certified applicator, can legally apply them. I mention this because last year, which was the first year these products were available for use, these new formulations were considered general-use pesticides, much like the older formulations of dicamba and 2,4-D you can purchase at the local garden center. The original product registrations were set to expire towards the end of 2018. However, in an effort to reduce damage to sensitive crops from off-site movement of these products, the EPA revised the label to mandate use by properly trained applicators in the second half of the dicamba/2,4-D tolerant crop game. To ensure that applicators are properly trained, language on the pesticide label states that all applicators must attend Auxin Herbicide — Best Management Practices training. This training was required prior to use last year, and North Carolina Cooperative Extension has been tasked with the responsibility of offering this statewide training again this year. …
  • “Former NFL star dumped 20 tons of sweet potatoes on a college campus. It was no joke,” Charlotte Observer: It wasn’t too long ago that Jason Brown had a multimillion-dollar contract to play as a center in the NFL.
    So some might find it odd that the North Carolina native and former University of North Carolina standout had 40,000 pounds of sweet potatoes dumped on the Chapel Hill campus, as tweets from the university showed Saturday morning. The explanation: Brown walked away from professional football in 2012 because he wanted to feed the hungry. He bought a thousand-acre farm near Louisburg, and in 2014 his First Fruits Farm made its first donation of sweet potatoes – giving away the entire crop to area food pantries and shelters.


Recipe: Mimi’s Spinach and Cheese Puffs

By on February 15, 2018

Popeye was right, eating your spinach is good for you. The leafy green is low in fat and cholesterol and high in niacin and zinc, as well as protein, fiber,vitamins A, C, E and K, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate,calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, and manganese. A half a cup

Southern pine beetle on the rise across the South

By on February 14, 2018

Smaller than a grain of rice, the southern pine beetle (SPB) is considered “the most destructive forest pest in the South”. This menacing label appropriately reflects the devastation it can cause, with outbreaks capable of costing millions of dollars between

Today's Topic

Today’s Topic: N.C. Forest Service reaches agreement to allow Osprey landings at Bladen Lakes State Forest.

By on February 13, 2018

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Mike Davis to discuss “Today’s Topic.” The N.C. Forest Service has reached a lease agreement with the Naval Facilities Command the U.S. Marine Corps that allows MV-22 Osprey

Cultured Seafood Festival planned for March 9 in New Bern

By on February 12, 2018

Organizers have something special planned for this year’s N.C. Aquaculture Development Conference in New Bern March 7-10. On Friday, March 9, seafood lovers can take part in the Cultured Seafood Festival, an all-you-care-to-eat feast. Chef James “Smoke” Boyd, owner of

News Roundup: Feb. 5-9

By on February 9, 2018

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. “National Farmers Union launches Farm Bill campaign,” Southeast Farm Press: National Farmers Union and Farmers

Recipe: Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Mini Muffins

By on February 8, 2018

February is a “sweet” month. Not only do we have Valentine’s Day, we also celebrate National Sweet Potato Month.  North Carolina ranks No. 1 nationally in sweet potato production and grows more than half of all sweet potatoes harvested in

Today's Topic

Today’s Topic: Commissioner Troxler’s State of Agriculture address at the Ag Development Forum

By on February 7, 2018

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Mike Davis to discuss “Today’s Topic.” This clips contains excerpts from Commissioner Troxler’s recent State of Agriculture speech at the Agricultural Development Forum. Troxler-02-6-18

Five N.C. sparkling wines to try this Valentine’s Day

By on February 7, 2018

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, now is the time to plan a romantic evening for your special someone. If you’re looking for a way to make the night extra special, try uncorking a bottle of N.C. sparkling wine. We’ve

News Roundup

News Roundup: Jan. 27 – Feb. 2

By on February 2, 2018

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. “If record yields didn’t make profits in 2017, how might 2018?” Southeast Farm Press: How