News Roundup: Jan. 3-9

By on January 9, 2015

NewsRoundup740x420Each 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.

  • “US tobacco growers learned some things in 2014,” Southeast Farm Press: The 2014 U.S. tobacco-growing season, which ended emphatically when nearly every tobacco-growing state experienced intense cold the first weekend of November, was characterized by much higher production for flue-cured, a modest increase for burley and a small increase for the dark types. Whether you accepted the 557 million pound estimate of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the 525 million, it seemed a certainty that the current flue-cured will be substantially more than last year’s volume. But this may not have been the best year for it. …
  • Jason Brown encourages VGCC ag course grads to make a difference,” Home in Henderson: The 14 graduates of the first-ever NC REAL Agricultural Entrepreneurship class at Vance-Granville Community College received certificates and heard words of encouragement from former NFL-star-turned-farmer Jason Brown on Tuesday, Dec. 16, in the college’s auditorium. “Farmers are the backbone” of the local area, our state and nation, Brown, a former center for two National Football League teams, told the graduates. “All roads lead back to the farmer,” he said, describing the rewards for being involved in agriculture. …
  • “A Young Generation Sees Greener Pastures In Agriculture,” NPR: America’s heartland is graying. The average age of a farmer in the U.S. is 58.3 — and that number has been steadily ticking upward for more than 30 years.Overall, fewer young people are choosing a life on the land. But in some places around the country, like Maine, that trend is reversing. Small agriculture may be getting big again — and there’s new crop of farmers to thank for it. …
  • “Farmers Protect Animals from Brutal Cold Snap,” Time Warner Cable News: Thanks to an arctic blast, farmers have their work cut out for them. Not only are they keeping themselves warm, they have to protect their animals. “We’re just extra vigilant during this weather,” said Ellen Ziemer, who runs the Pura Vida Farm in Bahama. One of her lambs gave birth to twins as the freezing temperatures continued to plunge Wednesday night. Her first priority was keeping them warm. “They’re born wet and very, very helpless, and if they’re out in this element, they could absolutely freeze,” said Ziemer. She also makes sure animals have plenty of hay to keep their strength as they burn a lot of calories just to stay warm. …
  • “Third PEDv Strain Not So New,” Southern Farm Network: A new strain of the PED virus has been identified in Minnesota. National Pork Board Vice President of Science and Technology Paul Sundberg was not surprised – saying it is not unusual for viruses of this type to evolve: “This finding of a new virus is important because it will help us to understand how things are going in the US. It shouldn’t be surprising, it’s more of a scientific report rather than one that will change how producers and vets deal with the virus.” Dr. Douglas Marthaler – researcher and assistant professor in the Veterinary Diagnostic lab at the University of Minnesota who diagnosed the new strain – says it was actually found almost a year ago: “We identified this strain in Minnesota in Jan 2014. Veterinary diagnostic labs routinely sequences the PEDv gene for vets and for clients. We have also done some random sequencing for cases that have been positive for the virus to help understand the diversity of PEDv in the U.S. thus far.” PEDv has been in the U.S. about 18 months, and a year ago – the virus was a major problem during the winter months. That’s not the case this year explains Sundburg: “Right now we are in a quiet spot. The data that we have shows that we have just sporadic infections in herds and in finishing floors. But the data shows that we are at a very low level, much lower than last year.” …
  • “Workshops Aimed at Helping Farmers Market Vendors, Managers Boost Sales,” Time Warner Cable News: Farmers market vendors and managers are learning some valuable tools to increase sales at a series of workshops called “Making the Most of Your Market.” Dozens of them got plenty of food for thought at the workshop sponsored by Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project and Rural Advancement Foundation International. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says between 2007 and 2012, sales at North Carolina’s nearly 250 farmers markets increased only slightly. Workshops like one at the Forsyth County Agricultural Extension Office are addressing the reasons. “Being a farmers market vendor or farmer, even a manager, can be a challenging thing,” said Mike McCreary, a program manager with Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. “There aren’t a lot of resources out there for face to face assistance, advice and tips on how to do things more effectively, or how to be more profitable.” …
  • “Bull sale,” The Mountaineer: The Mountain Research Station annual bull test sale had a totally new look and feel as more than 350 gathered at the WNC Regional Livestock Center Saturday. In past years, potential buyers traveled to the N.C. Department of Agriculture test farm outside of Waynesville on the morning of the sale to look at the bulls and then gathered at the Cooperative Extension Service conference hall across the road for lunch and a video auction. This year, the station partnered with the livestock yard operators to host the sale at the Canton facility.  …
  • “First felony charges filed over Venus’ flytrap thefts,” Wilmington Star-News: For the first time in North Carolina, felony charges were filed in the theft of Venus’ flytraps. Four men charged in the poaching of 900 Venus’ flytraps over the weekend were appointed counsel Monday in Pender County District Court. Jimmy Wortham, 23; Paul Simmons, 49; and Paul Simmons Jr., 22, all of Holden Beach; and Malcolm Douglas Massey, 30, of Supply appeared before District Court Judge Lindsey Luther. The men are each charged with felony taking of Venus’ flytraps. The law making the crime a felony changed Dec. 1. …

 

 

 

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