News Roundup: Nov. 22-26

By on November 28, 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.

  • “State aims to get students involved in agriculture earlier,” WNCT: An effort is underway to get students involved in agriculture at a younger age to ensure the stability of the billion dollar industry in North Carolina. More than 500 Beaufort County students attended an agriculture expo at Northside High School in Pinetown Tuesday to learn about different ways they can get involved. For some students, agriculture has always been something that interested them. “I’ve always known that food didn’t just come off your shelves, and as a senior this year, I’ve seen that a lot of high schoolers don’t exactly know where the food comes from, and it’s important for me to tell them and for me to advocate for them,” said Kaitlyn Tetterton, a senior at Northside. The event also drew top state officials from Raleigh, including Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We’ve got 9 billion people to feed by the year 2050,” Troxler said. “We’re going to have to have a lot of youth in agriculture and agro business to meet the goals of the food supply.” …
  • “State warns of overcharging at the register,” WNCN: State inspectors are warning consumers to keep a close eye on the prices they pay for items at stores. The Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services’ Standards Division says about 6 percent of the stores they checked statewide have failed inspections ensuring prices charged at the register are accurate.”If you go to the store and buy 50 items, there’s a strong possibility at least one is wrong,” said Measurement Program Manager Jerry Butler. “I guarantee it.” To help curb the problem, state inspectors periodically check price scanners in stores. “It’s about a 9- to 10-percent error rate the first time, and we’ll go back in 30 days and hit them again,” Butler explained. “And that’s about a 6-percent error rate to the stores we return to.” …
  • “For a job with a future, look to agriculture,” Southeast Farm Press: Country crooner Willie Nelson, along with the late, great Waylon Jennings, famously warned mama’s everywhere not to let their babies grow up to be cowboys. “Don’t let them pick guitars and drive them old trucks, make them be doctors and lawyers and such,” they sang. But is this sage advice in today’s economy? Most doctors complain that between government regulations and malpractice insurance, it’s all they can do to maintain their country club memberships. And it’s no secret that America is over-lawyered, with almost 1.3 million attorneys, which is more by far than any other country and more as a percentage of the national population than almost all others. A recent report from the National Association for Law Placement states that fewer than half of the people graduating from law school eventually landed jobs in a law firm, and only 65 percent found positions requiring passage of the bar exam. With all due respect to Misters Nelson and Jennings, maybe it’s time to reconsider current prospects. So what’s a person to do who’s looking for a good job with long-term security? According to a report released in October at the World Food Prize Borlaug Dialogue, there’s a great need now for young agricultural professionals. …
  • “Luncheon caps Farm-City Week festivities,” Richmond County Daily Journal: Machines made for the fields made their way down Main Street Saturday morning for the 19th annual Farmers’ Day Parade. John Deere, Allis-Chalmers and McCormick Farmall tractors made up the bulk of the parade, interspersed with entries from several local fire departments, church groups and scout troops. Classic cars, modern motorcycles and Shriners also rolled along the route, with riders on horseback bringing up the rear. The parade kicked off Farm-City Week, which also included a hootenanny and tours of the 4-H Museum at Camp Millstone. The celebration of the county’s agricultural community concluded Monday with a luncheon featuring goat barbecue and grilled chicken. …
  • “Farmers Encourage Families to Shop Local This Thanksgiving,” Time Warner Cable News: (Video) With Thanksgiving just days away, shoppers are sweeping store shelves. Local farmers are also encouraging these shoppers to buy local produce and meats. Humble Roots farmer Kyle Stenersen chose Tidal Creek Co-op as the place to shop on Sunday. “This is one of the places in town where a small farmer who doesn’t have tons of acres…and doesn’t belong to a co-op can come and sell their products and they can be bought by the consumer,” he said. Community stores like Tidal Creek Co-op are also urging customers to buy local foods for Thanksgiving, as much of the produce and turkeys are fresh from the farms. …
  • “Got your Goat: For N.C. cheesemakers, it’s just kid stuff,” Columbia News Tribune: The burgeoning local-food movement usually seeks to bring the farm to the table. But the Goat Lady Dairy brings the table to the farm. Several times a month, for most of the year, the North Carolina dairy opens its barn doors to about 50 people who register in advance for a $60-per-person “dining adventure”: a five-course, locally inspired meal showcasing the dairy’s multiple varieties of goat cheese. We signed up partly for the food and partly for the goats, and neither disappointed. The Goat Lady is tucked away in the rolling hills of Climax, N.C., in the west-central part of the state. It can be tough to find: Our car’s GPS unit said, “Turn left” at the same instant the smartphone said, “Turn right.” But eventually we pulled up at its red barn and joined the crowd on the porch for a glass of wine with a side of environmental education. “We do not do this because this is a handy-dandy, simple, easy way to make a living,” dairy owner Steve Tate told our group. Instead, he said, “we discovered that when you change a person’s relationship to food, you change them and the world together.” …
  • “Cooperative Extension celebrates century of agricultural education,” Lexington Dispatch: The organization most known for being the champion of the farmer, Cooperative Extension, is celebrating 100 years of education, research and assistance to farmers and youths of Davidson County. Agriculture remains the leading industry in North Carolina, and Davidson County is still one of the top producers in the state. In other words, no matter how many technical advancements society makes, agriculture is still king and has been for a very long time. Troy Coggins, director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Davidson County, said his department basically is an extension of a college classroom. “We used to call it Agricultural Extension, but now the whole program is called Cooperative Extension,” Coggins said. “That change kind of confused some folks, but it really encompasses everything from the 4-H programs, the family consumer sciences and, of course, our agricultural programs. Probably an alternative term that might have been easier to understand would have been university extension because essentially what we are is an extension of North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T University.” …
  • “Precision Agriculture Taking Root With Drones, AgBio Technology,” Xconomy: To catch a glimpse of new technology that could help farmers get more from plants in the soil, look to the sky. Aerial drones might be more commonly associated with military applications today. But the precision an unmanned aerial vehicle shows in a military strike also has applications in farming. A drone can identify a target in the field—a pest, a disease, or a nutrient problem, says Rick DeRose, global expert, technology acquisition for Syngenta Biotechnology. Based on information from that aerial scan, a farmer can determine how to respond. That response will be delivered by a drone. DeRose calls it “precision agriculture.” “We are doing space stuff in agriculture,” DeRose says. “It is the way of the future.” The future of agriculture was the central theme of the North Carolina Agriculture and Biotechnology Summit last week, a conference that drew agribusiness companies, scientists, and farmers to the campus of North Carolina State University in Raleigh. …
  • “Opinion: Best state: Minnesota and North Carolina, for turkeys,” North Jersey.com: Reid Wilson is the author of Read In, The Washington Post’s new morning tipsheet on politics. Perhaps it’s fitting that most of the food we will enjoy on Thursday didn’t make its way to our dinner tables from Massachusetts. THE TRUE origins of Thanksgiving are, like America itself, a mix of foreign influences. Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado led what may have been the New World’s first Thanksgiving celebration in 1541, 79 years before the Pilgrims sailed to North America. French Huguenots held a Thanksgiving service near what’s now Jacksonville, Fla., in 1564. English colonists in modern-day Maine and Jamestown, Va., also celebrated Thanksgivings before the Pilgrims got here. So perhaps it’s fitting that most of the food we will enjoy on Thursday didn’t make its way to our dinner tables from Massachusetts. …
  • “National Parks Look To Lock Out Wild Ginseng Diggers,” National Public Radio: Digging for wild ginseng pays: It sells for thousands of dollars in overseas markets. But it is illegal to take ginseng from national parks, where authorities are working to thwart poachers. They come to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and Jim Corbin, a plant protection specialist with North Carolina’s agriculture department, is out to protect wild ginseng root from the poachers. Ginseng is short – about shin height and has little red seeds, like tiny cranberries. Corbin, who spots some growing deep in the park, crouches down and digs his finger into the soil near the root, then pulls a spray can and a little jar of thick yellow powder out of his pocket. The powder is Corbin’s anti-poaching technology. If someone digs up the root he’s marked and tries to sell it, it’ll glow under a black light, revealing that it was poached. Park officials say Corbin’s dye has helped convict 41 ginseng poachers in the last four years. One was Billy Joe Hurley. He pleaded guilty to his fourth poaching conviction earlier this fall and is serving five and a half months in federal prison. …

 

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