News Roundup: March 1-7

By on March 7, 2014

News Roundup logo 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.

  • “NC businesses, bases hope to withstand military budget cuts,” The News & Observer: Growing fruits and vegetables on 200 acres of Lenoir County land is sometimes a hard way to make a living. Curtis Smith knows it’s the military in North Carolina that gives his family farm a fighting chance. Smith sells his strawberries, cantaloupes, watermelons, sweet potatoes and collard greens through local grocery stores, farmers markets and roadside stands. But for some of those crops, up to half the annual sales of T.C. Smith Produce Farm Inc., are to a company that provides produce for commissaries at military installations, including Fort Bragg and Camp Lejeune. …
  • “WNC Agricultural Options celebrates 10-year anniversary,” Mountain Xpress: A program that has fostered farm diversification, innovation and profitability in a midst of a transitioning agriculture economy is celebrating its 10th year of awarding grants to assist farmers. WNC Agriculture Options presented 29 farm businesses in western North Carolina a total of $153,000 Thursday at an event at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center in Mills River. …
  • “NC Farmer Giving Grain Sorghum a Second Chance,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) Last year, Grover, NC soybean farmer Jason Rhodes decided to give grain sorghum a try for the first time.  Rhodes explains why: “I needed a herbicide change to potentially kill the pig weed and also needed to put a true rotation crop in.” While summer weed control will be determined later this summer, Rhodes says his usual crop of winter annuals is less on the 100 acres where sorghum grew last year: “I can tell even now that the weed control is positive. I usually have a lot that comes in as a winter annual and right now we are not even seeing that. It also improves my organic matter. How it does with pigweed I wont know until I replant this year.” …
  • “Loss of Lorillard would be painful blow to Greensboro,” Greensboro News & Record: It’s possible that another of Greensboro’s corporate headquarters is on the line. Just a week ago, Greensboro-based RF Micro Devices announced it plans to merge with Hillsboro, Ore.-based TriQuint Semiconductor without saying where the new corporate headquarters would land. Now, one of the hottest topics in the investment world is reports that suggest Winston-Salem’s Reynolds American will buy Greensboro’s Lorillard to create a tobacco company that would own about 40 percent of the cigarette market. …
  • “Wilmington is abuzz with beekeepers,” Wilmington Star-News: From local blueberries and strawberries to almonds, lemons and countless other produce items grown nationwide, understating the impact of bees isn’t possible as far as Julian Wooten is concerned. “Most of the food we consume can be traced back to the honeybee,” Wooten said. “You can’t put a value on them.” …
  • “NC study group recommends using drones for ag research, rescue missions,” The News & Observer: State and local government agencies in North Carolina should be allowed to fly drones for various purposes, from search and rescue missions to agricultural research, a study group examining the issue recommends in a new report. Chris Estes, the state chief information officer, presented the 26-page report to state lawmakers Thursday. It was compiled by a group led by the CIO’s office and the N.C. Department of Transportation that included representatives from local governments, state agencies and universities. …
  • “Grain for gain,” Waynesville Mountaineer: Livestock producers could get as much of a kick out of the craft breweries as the many beer-lovers in the area. One of the main by-products of making beer is the leftover grain, a product that appears to be as nutritional as the original product. While the spent barley and other cereal grains used in brewing beer have long been used on dairy farms, there has been scant research on how well beef cattle perform on the feed, said Philipe Moriel, an associate professor at N.C. State University and the livestock specialist who works out of the Waynesville facility. …
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