News Roundup: Jan. 4-10

By on January 10, 2014

  • “Peanut prices down, but still a valuable life saver,” Southeast Farm Press: I’m thinking about pent-up power. Why? Because there are a lot of peanuts pent up in the U.S. pipeline today. With two pretty good back-to-back production years — 2012 being a record –buster — it is going to take a while to work through the supply and get farmer prices back up again. Contract prices will roll back up eventually, but probably not anytime soon. U.S. peanut acres were down about 35 percent in 2013, which they needed to be compared to 2012 acreage when farmers planted nearly 1.6 million acres and then pulled off some of the best yields ever. 
  • “Pecan industry looks to India as its next China,” Charlotte Observer: Georgia pecan grower Randy Hudson and his fellow farmers are on a mission to bring the American treat to the world.It’s an effort that’s paid off in places like China, Turkey and Dubai, where pecan exports have flourished.But the next big market targeted by the industry is proving a problem. India “has the potential to be as big a pecan customer as China,” Hudson said, but it imposes a tariff rate of about 36 percent on the nut. Pecan exporting to India is still in the early stages and sales are relatively small. But the prospect of much bigger sales stands to be limited by the tariff because it makes pecans more expensive. …
  • “Tobacco farmer payments not subjected to sequestration,” The News & Observer: Good news this week for tobacco farmers and others involved in the Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP). The Obama administration isn’t taking a cut of the final year’s payment after all. Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., announced Monday night that the Obama administration decided not to subject the final annual payment to tobacco farmers to sequestration as it had planned to do. North Carolina is the top tobacco-producing state. In November, the administration announced that the Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP), the annual payments to farmers allocated in the 2004 Tobacco Buyout, would be subject to the across-the-board cuts in 2014. McIntyre and most of North Carolina’s congressional delegation wrote to the Department of Agriculture protesting the cuts. “This is a great victory for our tobacco farmers, their families, and our agricultural communities! The federal government must keep the commitment it made to our farmers in the Tobacco Buyout 10 years ago. I am pleased that the Administration has responded to our requests to ensure that farmers in Eastern North Carolina and across the country receive the funds they were promised,” McIntyre said in a statement. …
  • “Appalachian Mountain Brewery completes transition to being publicly traded company,” Winston-Salem Journal: Appalachian Mountain Brewery Inc. said today it has completed its transition to becoming a publicly traded company by gaining regulatory approval for a change in corporate name and stock symbol.The Boone craft brewery chose to incorporate rather than remain as a limited liability company. It has chosen “Hops” as its symbol on the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board market. It is not clear when the new symbol will show up on websites that provide daily trading updates of publicly traded companies. …
  • “Moore County horse rescue unit expands scope, expertise,” Fayetteville Observer: Horse owners across the state now can call on a Moore County rescue unit if their animals need help.The Moore County Equine Emergency Response Unit has changed its name to the North Carolina Equine Assistance and Specialized Transport and is broadening its service area. Members of the team are getting advanced training that will allow the unit to help during natural disasters and complete large and small rescues.The Moore County unit has been helping animals in the Sandhills area since the mid-1990s, said Tori McLeod, who is leading the group with her husband, Justin. …
  • “1,678 acres for forestry research,” Wilkes Journal-Patriot: A large tract in Wilkes and Caldwell counties donated to the state will be managed by the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) for forestry research, said state officials. Deeds transferring 1,678 acres from Char-Lo Timberlands Inc. to Char-Lo Timberlands LLC and from Char-Lo Timberlands LLC to the State of North Carolina were recorded Dec. 30 in the Wilkes and Caldwell registers of deeds offices. Char-Lo Timberlands Inc. is based in Newport, Wash., and Char-Lo Timberlands LLC is based in Atlanta, Ga. The mountain timberland tract includes 1,217 acres in the Beaver Creek Township of southwestern Wilkes and 461 adjoining acres in the Kings Creek Township of Caldwell County. The tract’s central feature is 1,751-foot Greasy Mountain, west of Beaver Creek Road in Wilkes.  …
  • “A 14-stop, nose-to-tail area tour for 2014,” Wilmington Star News: Just because the holidays have passed doesn’t mean it’s time to stop celebrating. We’re already a week into January, better known to foodies across the land as National Meat Month. And around these parts, that means it’s time to get this party started with a pig pickin’. To celebrate the meaty month of January, we’ve boiled down a nose-to-tail checklist featuring some of the Wilmington-area’s most distinct pork preparations. It will definitely take more than a weekend to work through it, so plan on spending a good chunk of 2014 scratching these 14 items off your list. The most recent numbers from the American Meat Institute places U.S. production at nearly 111 million hogs raised for a total of 22.8 billion pounds of pork. The Old North State comes in second only to Iowa in slinging all that swine, a significant player in helping Americans consume an estimated 58.9 pounds of pork per person, according to numbers from the Earth Policy Institute. …
  • “Battle bracket’ announced for 2014 Fire on the Dock culinary challenge,” Port City Daily: The annual Iron Chef-style contest, which kicks off Jan. 27, is sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Pate Dawson-Southern Foods, Certified Angus Beef, Pepsi Bottling Ventures and the N.C. Wine and Grape Council. Each evening, two restaurants will battle it out side-by-side in a single-elimination format. Paying guests will savor a six-course menu in a blind tasting alongside a panel of culinary and celebrity judges in a series of seven dinner competitions. Featured ingredients–which will come from a North Carolina farmer or artisan producer–will be revealed to competing chefs just one hour before they begin to cook. According to event organizers, this year’s event showcases more female chefs than any region up to this point since the event went statewide in 2012. …
  • “Bare: Extension program focuses on local food,” Winston-Salem Journal: Changes are afoot at the local agricultural extension office. Mary Jac Brennan, formerly the community garden coordinator and a Winston-Salem Journal columnist, has become the extension agent for small farms and local foods. Alison Duncan has taken Brennan’s old position…Together, they’ve developed the Forsyth County Urban Agriculture Resource Center, an umbrella for programs related to small farms, community gardens, local food and food security. The burgeoning local-food and community-garden movements and the identification of wide ranging food deserts in the county and Winston Salem’s ranking as one of the hungriest cities in the United States in a 2011 Gallup/Food Research and Action Center Study are all compelling reasons for the change. …
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