News Roundup: Nov. 28 – Dec. 6

By on December 6, 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.

  • “U.S. farm bill has big impact in NC,” News & Observer: North Carolina has a lot riding on the outcome of a closed-door drama now playing out in Washington as Congress works against a deadline this month to hammer out divisions in a new five-year farm bill. The bill is full of programs that affect agriculture, North Carolina’s top industry. …
  • “Christmas tree growers ready for shoppers,” Hendersonville Times-News: Don’t let talk of flooded tree farms and Grinch-like “root rot” send you in search of a plastic Christmas tree this holiday season, local growers say. Heading into their busiest weekend of the year, Christmas tree growers and Cooperative Extension agents say there are plenty of healthy trees available at choose-and-cut farms in Henderson and Transylvania counties. …
  • “Great Harvest For NC Christmas Tree Farmers,” WUNC: When Jessie Davis started tagging trees for sale in his 500-acre farm in western North Carolina this fall, he noticed his Frasier firs were taller and brighter than they were in previous years. He knew the reason was simple: this was a rainy year. Christmas tree farmers across North Carolina are saying a wet spring and summer is bringing them a crop stronger than in previous years, according to the state Department of Agriculture.  …
  • “Weed seed contamination could cripple U.S. tobacco exports,” Southeast Farm Press: Palmer amaranth has caused corn, soybean and cotton farmers a world of trouble. Now, tobacco farmers may be in danger of a big loss due to the weed. That’s because their No. 1 customer, the People’s Republic of China, says it has found seeds of Palmer amaranth and other weeds it doesn’t like in tobacco leaf they have bought here. They don’t want any more. “The Chinese do not tolerate invasive weed seeds,” said Peter Thornton, assistant director for international marketing with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. “We need to provide a solution to this problem.  China is the largest potential growth market we have.” …
  • “Hagan says small farms need more protections in food safety law,” News & Observer: In 2010, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan worked to get an amendment added to a food safety law that exempted small farms that sell directly to consumers or restaurants. Now the Food and Drug Administration is working on the regulations needed to carry out the law, and North Carolina’s Democratic senator says those proposed rules need to be written more clearly in order to help small farms. Under the amendment that Hagan and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mon., sponsored three years ago, small producers are exempt from most of the federal rules, but they remain subject to state and local food safety and health requirements. …
  • “Milk prices could rise if farm bill looms,” Winston-Salem Journal: A New Year’s deadline that could send the price of milk skyward looms over congressional negotiators as they try to reach agreement on a five-year farm bill. They’ve been tripped up by differences over the nation’s food stamp program and how to restructure farm subsidies. The two chambers have been far apart on both issues for more than two years. …
  • “Not the Best Sorghum Year, but Growers Still Committed,” Southern Farm Network: Don Nicholson, area agronomist for NCDA and other agronomist were point-men for educating producers about grain sorghum in 2012. Many producers gave it a try last year, and went back with it this year, but unfortunately, the 2013 rains made sorghum production a challenge: “Everywhere across the state we had some interest and a lot of folks trying sorghum, some for the first time. It was a pretty bad year. Some folks did have some good yields but most did not because of the rain and disease problems. Looking at some test plots we put out, we saw that putting sorghum behind sorghum was probably not a good idea unless we are very astute at putting out fungicides.”  …
  • “Time to band trees against cankerworms,” Charlotte Observer: Charlotte-area residents are going to war with cankerworms again, but some local stores are having a tough time supplying enough ammunition. Cankerworms, a perennial problem in the area, hatch and create havoc in early spring. But experts say the time to stop the insects is in November or early December, when the female worms crawl up trees and lay eggs. Those eggs hatch when warm weather arrives. The result is a mess – defoliated trees and worm droppings. …
  • “Half of Catawba County under fire ant quarantine,” Hickory Daily Record: You might have seen them before, and if you’ve ever felt their sting, you certainly won’t forget it. The state is trying to prevent more people from feeling the sting of the imported red fire ant. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services on Tuesday announced it is quarantining roughly half of Catawba County as part of an effort to contain the imported fire ants’ spread. The part of Catawba County under quarantine for fire ants is any location south of Interstate 40 from the Iredell County and Burke County lines.  …
Print Friendly, PDF & Email