News Roundup: Aug. 24-30

By on August 30, 2013

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. Click on the links to go straight to the full story.

  • “North Carolina’s Largest Industry Needs Stability not Uncertainty,” Elkin Tribune: Agriculture and agribusiness is the largest industry in North Carolina. It accounts for $71.6 billion of the state’s economy. That’s nearly one out of every five jobs, and it’s worth protecting. But let’s face it, not all agriculture jobs are desirable for North Carolinians, and our farmers depend on skilled workers to keep their supply up and your costs down. Earlier this year, we released an Agriculture Workforce Report showing the immense need that our farmers expressed for a more stable agricultural workforce. More than 600 North Carolina farmers from 95 of the state’s 100 counties responded to the agriculture workforce survey, a joint effort between Farm Bureau and 18 other agriculture associations. The report shows more than 60 percent of surveyed farmers have had trouble hiring qualified domestic employees, and nearly one-third reported a loss of income in the past five years due to an insufficient supply of workers. …
  • “Made in NC: Asheville becomes hub of state’s growing craft beer industry,” News & Observer: Inside unadorned buildings, dark basements and hollow warehouses across this mountain town, the steam rises from shiny pots carrying a sweet smell from a brew that draws thousands. Not far removed from the copper stills that once kept moonshine flowing in these hills, this new legal brew is transforming the state into a top destination for a fast-growing segment of the beverage market: craft beer. …
  • “(Video) New FDA regulations aim to make food safer, but come at a price,” WNCN: Far too frequently we hear about recalls on food and outbreaks of bacteria making customers sick. New federal regulations are going into effect with hopes of preventing illnesses, but it comes at a price. From listeria in cantaloupe to E. coli in spinach, bacteria outbreaks are making Americans sick and that has the U.S. Food and Drug Administration making changes. “We’re talking about microbial testing on the farm, which has never been done before,” said N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. At the annual North Carolina Food Safety Forum, one of the main topics was new federal standards for produce farmers. …
  • “(Audio) NC’s 9th Annual Food Safety Forum in the Books,” Southern Farm Network: North Carolina Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler hosted the 9th Annual Food Safety Forum yesterday at the NC State Fairgrounds for over 400 people who were there to learn more about the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act: “The folks from the FDA are here to talk about the implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act. Jackson Farming Company has a representative here to talk about going thru an FDA inspection. We at the department have been very proactive with pre-assessments in the cantaloupe industry. But we need to help people understand what these rules mean and how to get in compliance and stay there. We have farmers from as far away as Alaska for this seminar and to interact with the FDA.” …
  • “Flood losses to county food crops could top $40 million,” Hendersonville Times-News: County agricultural experts estimate this season’s record rainfall will cause county farmers growing food crops to lose between $30 million and $40 million in sales, about a third of last year’s $120 million in receipts. That number is expected to rise, members of the county’s Agricultural Advisory Committee said Wednesday, as rainfall totals go up and more reports come in from growers tallying losses. …
  • “Pigs, poop, product,” Greensboro News and Record: The straight poop from today’s The State of Our Community luncheon: a promising farm-to-factory product engineered at A&T is no B.S. Think pigs instead. Daniel Oldham left the audience of 850 with this laugh line: “Let’s turn what stinks today into what sticks tomorrow.” He’s an A&T grad student and technical director for BioAdhesive Alliance Inc., a company that’s gearing up to turn hog waste into an industrial adhesive with a primary potential use in road construction. …
  • “Henderson apple crop strong,” Asheville Citizen-Times: In a county with $40 million in crop losses, apple growers know they’re lucky this year. “Everything I’ve heard from other growers countywide, I’d say most are going to post 80-100 percent of a crop,” said Jerred Nix, president of the Blue Ridge Apple Growers Association. “Everything looks good as far as the crop load.” Excessive rains — 58.68 inches through this week for the year — have devastated vegetable crops in Henderson County. Some apple growers have lost trees to the flooding, but overall the crop looks bountiful. …
  • “See 30 of the farms that grow your food,” Charlotte Observer: Organizers of the fifth annual Know Your Farms Tour, which features 30 farms across nine counties, say the event aims to create connections between the community and local food producers and farmers. Wes Shi, who founded the tour in 2009 with his sister, said organizers decided to reduce the number of stops on this year’s tour to allow people to visit more of the farms. During the 2012 tour, more than 40 farms participated across 11 counties. “It was just too many,” Shi said. But while there are fewer stops, new farms are joining the tour, he said. “This year, there are seven new farms. (The entire tour will feature) two vineyards pretty close to Charlotte, two alpaca farms, an ostrich farm, two organic dairies and a dedicated bee farm, which is new this year.” …
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