News Roundup: March 15-21

By on March 21, 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.

  • “Hog virus outbreak stirs disagreement,” Wilson Times: The true severity and scope of North Carolina’s hog virus outbreak has put the state’s top agricultural official at odds with the region’s environmentalists. N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler responded to the Waterkeeper Alliance and North Carolina Riverkeepers Feb. 27 letter, where they called on Troxler to better inform the public about the number of hogs infected by the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, also known as PED… “The introduction of a novel disease into any native animal population is especially challenging to the veterinarians and farmers that have responsibility for the care of the animals, particularity with a new disease where vaccines and other biological tools are not yet available,” Troxler stated in his March 7 response obtained by The Wilson Times. “I commend the farmers for the extraordinary job they are doing in difficult circumstances.” …
  • “Small farms keep agriculture moving forward,” Lumberton Robesonian: Agriculture is the leading industry in Robeson County. Many county residents think of large-scale contract hog or poultry farms or large row crop farms when farming is mentioned. But the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s 2012 Census of Agriculture shows that small-scale farms make up 88 percent of all farms nationwide and 87 percent in North Carolina. Many of these farms consist of small-scale agriculture, including fruit and vegetable production; small-scale livestock production, including goats, pastured poultry, and pastured pork; forestry production; and aquaculture. There are approximately 43,000 small-scale farmers statewide. In honor of their accomplishments, pioneering work, and technological advancements, the state of North Carolina recognizes the week of March 23 through March 29 as North Carolina Small Farms Week. …
  • “Upper Southeast wheat facing real resistant weed problems,” Southeast Farm Press: North Carolina leads the way for Upper Southeast wheat acreage with another big and promising crop in the ground this year. But increasing problems with resistance to ryegrass-controlling herbicides is a big threat to the crop. North Carolina State University Weed Scientist Wes Everman and a team of graduate students conducted a statewide study last year to measure the types and prevalence of weed resistance in Italian ryegrass in wheat. As expected, there was widespread resistance to Hoelon, a long-time standard post-emergence treatment for ryegrass. …
  • “N.C. A&T gets $2.7 million in agriculture grants,” Greensboro News & Record: N.C. A&T will receive eight grants worth $2.7 million to boost its agriculture programs. The largest single award, about $1.1 million, will help the university upgrade its food sciences facilities. A&T also will get money for research, teaching and extension programs. The money will come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture through two grant programs that fund historically black colleges and universities. U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan announced the grants. …
  • “Report shows double-digit growth for craft beer,” Hendersonville Times-News: Approaching the massive beer aisle Thursday at Ingles on Highland Lake Road, Richard Loftis bypassed the walk-in cooler filled with mainstream brands and made a beeline for the row upon row of local, regional and national craft brews that wrap around the front corner of the store. Loftis has plenty of company these days, as craft beer continues to gain momentum with Americans’ soaring thirst for full-flavored brews produced by independently owned companies. “I think it’s a coming trend, especially since we’re getting so many breweries in here now, which is a good thing,” said Loftis, a Brevard resident, as he loaded a 12-pack of Highland Oatmeal Porter from Asheville into his shopping cart. …
  •  “Changes sought in law impacting farmers markets,” Asheville Citizen-Times: It’s remarkable how a group of individuals can look at the same state law and interpret its impact in completely different ways. Such is the case with a relatively new regulation contained in language from the state Department of Revenue that affects the more than 200 farmers tailgate markets across North Carolina and, some say, could ultimately impact the accessibility of fresh produce and other locally produced goods. At issue is a requirement that farmers market managers keep a daily registration list of vendors who are subject to sales tax on their products, recording their names, permanent addresses and DOR certification numbers. …
  •  “A look into how food is inspected,” WNCT: Food inspections take place in our state everyday. Following the coal ash spill, officials required the state to inspect fish in the Dan River to ensure they were safe to eat. “This is new territory for us. We’ve never actually done an investigation following a coal ash spill,” said Jeff DeBerardinis, one of the people inspecting the fish with the NC Division of Water Resources. “The main concern is to ensure the protection of the citizens of North Carolina,” he said. DeBerardinis says they start by sending a shock in the water to stun the fish. Once the fish are collected, they are taken back to a lab where they are inspected and filleted. The fish are then grinded, packed, and sent to chemistry labs for testing. The results of that are then sent to the DHHS. But fish aren’t the only food getting inspected on a daily basis. Alan Wade oversees meat and poultry inspection in the state. He says his staff inspects everything from storage and temperature control, to packaging and the product itself. …
  • “After closure, should turkey farmers get tax relief in Pender?” Wilmington Star News: Pender County Commissioner George Brown’s effort to help a local turkey farmer get some tax relief amid tough times caused some debate among officials over just what the county can do to help property owners in similar situations. Last year, the state’s poultry industry suffered a blow when the House of Raeford Farms closed its turkey slaughtering plant in Raeford and its turkey hatchery in Rose Hill, which resulted in more than 100 turkey growers losing contracts in eastern North Carolina. …

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