News Roundup: March 8-14

By on March 14, 2014

 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.

  • “NC Ag Commissioner: No emergency declaration needed for hog virus,” The News & Observer: Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says that he won’t seek a declaration of emergency to deal with a widespread outbreak of a virus that kills whole generations of piglets. A pair of environmental groups had called on him to ask Gov. Pat McCrory for the declaration, which would have triggered emergency guidelines for disposing of the dead swine. …
  • “Plans for a cold storage facility at port still growing,” Wilmington Star-News: The cold storage facility slated for construction at the Port of Wilmington is growing in size as officials eye expanding the amount of agriculture products moving through the port. Chuck Schoninger, managing member of USA InvestCO, said the cold storage blueprint has expanded from 75,000 to 102,000 square feet. The project is expected to cost $14.5 million, and is being largely financed by a program known as the Immigrant Investor Program, or “EB-5.” That program was created by Congress in 1990 to stimulate the U.S. economy through job creation and capital investment by foreign investors, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. …
  • “Younger Asheville-area farmers shut out of land market,” Asheville Citizen Times News: In many ways, Buncombe County is farming heaven — unless you’re trying to buy land. The local food movement is stronger here than many places in the country, with high demand for locally grown food and nearly 100 tailgate markets, and dozens of restaurants that will pay top dollar for local produce. But capitalizing on that market is dependent on having a place to grow the food, and finding the land can be much more difficult in the mountains than other places, particularly for younger growers.  …
  • “Horse owners to vote on feed fee,” Lincoln Times-News: Across the state, horse and other equine animal owners will vote this week to determine whether to continue to voluntarily assess themselves $2 per ton of commercial horse feed in order to provide funds to promote the interests of the horse industry. According to Interim County Extension Director Melinda Houser, the vote in Lincoln County will take place at the Citizen Center on Tuesday from 8:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. Any North Carolina resident who has reached his or her ninth birthday as of Jan. 1 and has complete or partial ownership or lease of a horse, pony, mule, donkey or hinny is eligible to vote. Individuals are required to sign a statement certifying eligibility at the time of voting. If Tuesday’s vote is favorable, the NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will continue to receive the assessment funds from manufacturers and/or distributors of horse feed and will remit the money to the NC Horse Council.  …
  • “Tobacco farmers get new ID system for Good Agricultural Practices,” Southeast Farm Press: There has been increased interest in the past several years across the entire tobacco industry to develop a standardized program for Good Agricultural Practices for growers. Approximately 10,000 tobacco growers in the U.S. received GAP training in 2013. This year, tobacco growers are asked to register with the GAP Grower Identification system. Growers attending GAP training in 2013 received a GAP certificate that was proof that they had attended GAP training. A major advancement that has occurred in 2014 is the development of the GAP Grower Identification system. …
  • “Be careful when clearing storm debris,” Salisbury Post: Last week’s storm felled trees and branches across the Piedmont. The N.C. Forest Service encourages homeowners and others who prune trees or burn yard debris to use caution and follow some basic steps. Although trees may look severely damaged, restorative pruning and care may increase the chances of them regaining their original health and beauty. If the basic structure of the trees is intact, it may be possible to save the tree. Tree topping is not a viable solution to storm-damage recovery or prevention. The sprouts that occur after topping are fast-growing, weakly attached branches that are more likely to break off in a future storm. …
  •  “Competitive grants available from N.C. Bioenergy Research Initiative for biofuel production,” Fayetteville Observer: Researchers and others who think they can foster energy production from biofuels can win grant money to advance their projects. A total of $500,000 in competitive grants are available from the N.C. Bioenergy Research Initiative, a program that will pay for research and development of agricultural and forestry-based feedstocks for bioenergy production, N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in a news release. “We have a great opportunity in North Carolina with our agricultural know-how and our forestry resources to develop renewable bioenergy,” Troxler said. “We want to use this grant money to increase feedstock production in the state, especially for cellulosic ethanol.” …
  • “Bayer CropScience Joins John Deere in Developing Digital Tools to Move from Precision to Decision,” Wall Street Journal: Bayer CropScience and John Deere are working together to integrate data access, wireless data transmission, and delivery of prescription recommendations to help farmers optimize yields and return on investment. The collaboration will enable Bayer CropScience and John Deere to provide data-enabled decision-support tools for farmers. Beginning in 2014, in cooperation with retail and distributor partners, Bayer CropScience will initiate R&D-based field pilots designed to use agronomic data to prescribe Bayer CropScience products to maximize yield potential and overall profitability on each acre. …
  • “Antique Tractor & Equipment Registration Open for Got to Be NC Festival,” Southern Farm Network: Antique tractors and equipment from all over the state show off at the annual Got to Be NC Festival in May at the NC State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Steven Stanley, president of Classic Antique Power and Tractor Club says owning and maintaining an antique tractor comes with a love of history: “A lot of families have a family-owned tractor they grew up with and it has a history. A lot of people just like a brand that they have used. It’s a joy to go and find the one part you need to restore it and bring it from rust to the shiny tractor it can be!” At the Got to be NC Festival in May, all brands, makes and models are welcome: “We love to participate with the Festival, we are there every year. It’s a thrill to go and see all the tractors and activities. We do have a large variety of tractors in all colors and brands.” …
  • “State trying to brew up beer deal,” Hendersonville Times-News: North Carolina is making a push to land another major craft brewer. Two years after scoring a double victory with the recruitment of New Belgium and Sierra Nevada, North Carolina is among several states now trying to lure Stone Brewing Co. of Southern California, one of the 10 largest craft breweries in the country. The Escondido, Calif.-based company, founded in 1996, has made public a Request for Proposal in its plans to find a site for an East Coast expansion facility somewhere east of the Mississippi. The RFP, open to all communities throughout the Eastern U.S., expires Saturday and has generated responses from numerous cities ranging from Facebook page campaigns to songs written about why Stone should choose their particular area. …
  • “Should North Carolina farmers spray wheat for Hessian fly?” Southeast Farm Press: Historically, most North Carolina Hessian fly wheat problems occur in the eastern part of the state, but damage this year extends into the Coastal Plain region. Dominic Reisig, NC State Extension entomologists, talks about what wheat farmers can do. In a recent blog, Reisig explains when and where a spring spray might save some wheat yield. Remember how wet last summer was? Stupid question. Some wheat was never harvested or was harvested late. We also had abundant summer rain that could have germinated some volunteer wheat in soybeans planted behind wheat. …
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