News Roundup: Oct. 25-31

By on October 31, 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.

  • “Onslow County Beekeepers Association Announces New Apprenticeship Program” Jacksonville Daily News: In 1977 the North Carolina General Assembly passed the Honey Bee and Honey Act. The General Assembly declared “it is in the public interest to promote and protect the bee and honey industry in North Carolina and to authorize the Commissioner of Agriculture and the Board of Agriculture to perform services and conduct activities to promote, improve, and enhance the bee and honey industry in North Carolina particularly relative to small beekeepers …” One Onslow County group is doing its part to carry out the North Carolina Honey Bee and Honey Act. …
  • “Tobacco growers say “no” on child labor,” Southeast Farm Press: Child labor on tobacco farms became quite a controversial issue in 2014, and two organizations of tobacco farmers took a stand objecting to any use of hired child labor in leaf production. At the beginning of October, the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina went on record as opposing hired child labor on U.S. tobacco farms. “While we do not believe that tobacco fields are inherently unsafe for qualified persons who receive proper training and personal protective equipment, we recognize that there are particular risks associated with working in tobacco,” says the TGANC resolution. …
  • Farming In NC: Success With Organic Tobacco (Collards On The Side): WUNC: The federal tobacco buyout program has officially ended. The last of the tobacco buyout checks are being distributed this month. The program, officially known as the Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP), was started to help farmers transition from the Depression-era quota system to the free market. North Carolina has fared pretty well during the transition: Farmers and producers in the state collected more than one-third of the $9.6 billion in buyout payments. There is more tobacco grown in the state today than when the tobacco buy-out program began. Many farmers simply grew more as the price-per-acre went down. But Stanley Hughes didn’t do that. Instead, he reinvented himself as an organic tobacco farmer in order to survive the volatile industry. …
  • “NC Soybean Producers to Host Food Writers & Bloggers,” Southern Farm Network:  The North Carolina Soybean Producers Association is hosting a dinner later this week to once again address farming issues, and answer questions about where food comes from and how it’s raised. Charles Hall, Executive Director of the North Carolina Soybean Producers Association: “We have had a strategy to address the good questions consumers have about where there food comes from and about the farmers who grow it. One way we know that their questions are addressed are through people that publish blogs and other content that are putting a lot of answers out there. We thought that putting together an event that would bring these people together would be beneficial to have conversations and talk about what farmers do and how they raise animals and produce food.” …
  • “See a Farm Convert Pig Poop to Electricity,” National Geographic: Hog farming is a lucrative business in Harnett County, North Carolina. It’s also a major source of water pollution and greenhouse gases. Now a few concerned hog farmers are exploring solutions to reduce the environmental impact of their farm waste and even produce electricity. …
  • “Officials tour Piedmont Research facility,” Salisbury Post: The state and nation’s top Farm Service Agency officials took a field trip Monday to the Piedmont Research Station, touring the facility and even riding a self-driving tractor. Along with a handful of local farmers, Farm Service Agency Administrator Val Dolcini and N.C. Farm Service Agency Executive Director Bob Etheridge toured a portion of the 1,054-acre facility, taking a particular interest in a small tract of blueberries, which are unusual to the Piedmont Region. ” …
  • “Belly Up To The Bar And Meet NC Brewers,” WUNC: From the mountains to the coast, new breweries are opening. The national Brewer’s Association put the economic impact of craft beer in the state at more than $791 million dollars in 2012. There are 110 breweries across the state and the industry supports 10,000 jobs. Host Frank Stasio talks with Margo Knight-Metzger, executive director of the North Carolina Craft Brewers Guild and WUNC reporter Jeff Tiberii about the state of brewing. …
  • “Sweet potato dehydration plant opens in North Carolina,” Potato Business: Natural Blend Vegetable Dehydration, LLC held its opening on September 30th, manufacturing facility in Pitt County, North Carolina. The company will dehydrate sweet potatoes to be used in various pet food products for the global market. Natural Blend will be managed by Ham Produce Company, Inc., which operates one of the largest farming operations of sweet potatoes in North Carolina. More than 50 jobs will be created and the investment in the project hit over USD 16 million. Ham Produce, headquartered in Snow Hill, NC, purchased the Collins & Aikman building in 2009 for the storage of sweet potatoes. Excess capacity spanning approximately 27,000 square feet has been renovated for Natural Blend Vegetable Dehydration’s operation. …
  • “NC State Fair attendance rises slightly this year,” News & Observer: More than 97,600 people attended the N.C. State Fair on Sunday, bringing the total attendance for the 11-day fair to 929,748. That’s a little more than 2,000 more than last year, despite near perfect weather for the entire run. State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said Sunday he was a little perplexed why attendance wasn’t better, but said judging from the comments he had heard and other feedback the fair was “absolutely wonderful.” The fair got off to a strong start last weekend, with attendance on the first three days exceeding the average for the previous five years. But in each of the remaining eight days, attendance lagged the five-year average. Saturday was the busiest day at the fair, at 126,629. The record for that day was 151,647 in 2010, when the fair drew almost 1.1 million people. …
  • “HCC awarded grant to help forest management tech students,” Waynesville Mountaineer: Haywood Community College was recently awarded a TVA Ag and Forestry Fund Grant through the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The grant, Improving Technological Innovation of Forest Management Students, will fund $13,800 of hardware and software that will facilitate learning experiences and employability opportunities for the college’s forest management technology students. With four new hand-held GPS units, the forestry students will keep current with advances in forest inventory and geospatial technology and further their knowledge base. Through this state-of-the-art forest inventory technology, students will use these skills throughout their time at HCC and will rely on it to complete their final capstone project of preparing an entire forest management plan. …
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