News Roundup: July 6-12

By on July 12, 2013

News Roundup logoEach 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.

  • Heavy rains dampening farmers’ summer profits,” The News & Observer: The heavy rains expected through the weekend are dampening the spirits of area farmers who are still struggling to tend saturated fields and recoup heavy losses of crops and produce. Rainfall last month totaled 10.08 inches in the Triangle, more than 6 inches above average. Many low-lying fields were flooded, drowning some summer fruits and vegetables. …
  • N.C. Forest Service accepting orders for seedlings,” Lexington Dispatch: The annual window of opportunity for ordering seedlings from the N.C. Forest Service Nursery Program is open. “The Forest Service produces about 20 million quality seedlings for 54 species of both conifer and hardwoods each year at its nurseries, using solid nursery research and experience,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. The Forest Service is selling hardwoods in quantities as low as 10 and conifers in quantities as low as 50. …
  • Industry Stakeholders Touring Shuanghui International Facilities in China,” Southern Farm Network: When Shuanghui International announced early last month that they’d be buying Smithfield, Virginia based Smithfield Foods, it created some alarm and a great deal of curiosity. Shuanghui is a virtual unknown in this country and very little was known about their practices or operation. Peter Thornton, Assistant Director of International Marketing with NCDA and several other stakeholders in the state’s pork industry are in China this week learning more about Shuanghui. …
  • House passes low-cal farm bill but sows seeds for a possible compromise,” The Charlotte Observer: House of Representatives Republicans on Thursday rammed through a newly revised farm bill designed mostly to solve a vexing political problem that has divided their party and frustrated farmers nationwide. By a largely party-line vote, the House approved 216-208 the unusual bill that includes crop subsidies and other farm benefits but excludes nutrition programs, including food stamps, which have long been part of the legislation. It was a tactical maneuver, designed to mollify conservatives and secure passage, and the latest turn in a legislative process often likened to sausage-making. …
  • Huffman’s, other growers will have peaches in abundance this year,” Salisbury Post: As he trots down a row of his orchard, Kevin Huffman reaches up frequently to test the ripeness of peaches. If the peach is soft, especially at the base, it’s time to be picked. But the rock hard peaches have to stay on the tree a while longer. He likes to sell only tree-ripened peaches. All around Huffman, the limbs are bending from the weight of fruit. …
  • Couple’s North Carolina Hops Farm Thrives Amid Growing Demand,” Huffington Post: In 2007, over pizza and pints of porter at a local brewing company in Asheville, N.C., Rita Pelczar’s 21-year-old son, Jack, had an idea: “Mom, why don’t you grow hops?” he said. Rita, a former horticulture professor, had decamped from Maryland to a 30-acre farm in the mountains with her husband, John, who was retiring (Rita would still work part-time as an editor). There they hoped to get into agriculture and “grow something interesting.” …
  • Help stop spread of emerald ash borer,” Warren Record: ‘Don’t move firewood’ is the call from local and state officials this summer in the effort to prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer from Vance, Granville and Person counties to other areas of the state, including neighboring Warren County. The N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, N.C. Forest Service and other agencies are urging North Carolina residents to use local firewood as they go camping during the summer months. …
  • Not much will change for Harris Teeter customers, Kroger says,” Greensboro News & Record: Kroger likes everything about Harris Teeter, from its fresh produce to its friendly employees. So despite the large grocery retailer’s planned purchase of the smaller Harris Teeter chain, officials said customers won’t see a lot of change. At least not right away. Lynn Marmer, a Kroger group vice president. said it is too early to be specific about what aspects of the Harris Teeter operation will change, but said customers likely won’t notice them. “A lot of the reasons for the merger will be things that customers will never see,” she said. …
  • Floods to cost WNC farmers millions,” Asheville Citizen-Times: As flood waters recede, growers are getting a clear picture of damage to crops — and it’s likely to cost them millions of dollars. “We do a lot of sweet corn, and out of 380 acres, water is still over a lot of it. We may have 40 acres left,” said Kirby Johnson, of Flavor 1st in Henderson County, which supplies supermarket chains with corn and other vegetables. “It’s just catastrophic,” Johnson said. “I’m 53, and I’ve never seen anything like this.” …
  • A milestone for DuPont and its friends,” Hendersonville Times-News: With the dedication Monday of a new pedestrian bridge and visitor center, DuPont State Recreational Forest is finally getting some of the amenities worthy of North Carolina’s most popular state forest. With the opening of the new 120-foot-long bridge over the Little River to an enlarged Hooker Falls parking area, visitors no longer will have to risk life and limb jumping the guardrail and dodging traffic to visit Triple Falls. Just as important is the new Aleen Steinberg Center at the High Falls entrance. Named for one of the forest’s most passionate longtime advocates, it gives visitors for the first time an indoor spot to learn about the forest. …
  • Farmers worry about fate of immigration bills,” WRAL: For northern Michigan fruit grower Pat McGuire, the most potent symbol of the immigration debate isn’t grainy television footage showing people slipping furtively across the U.S.-Mexican border. Instead, it’s plump red cherries and crisp apples rotting on the ground because there aren’t enough workers to pick them — a scenario that could become reality over the next couple of months. Across the state’s orchard belt, cherry trees already sag under the weight of bright-red clusters, yet many trailers and wood-frame cottages that should be bustling with migrant families stand empty. McGuire is waiting to hear whether crews will show up to pick his crop in mid-July. …
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