News Roundup: May 2 – 6

By on May 8, 2015

News Roundup - this week's top news stories about NC agriculture

Each 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

  • “Top cheese: N.C. Cheese Trail puts locally made cheeses on the map,” Burlington Times-News: Is there a food more universally adored than cheese? Bacon is within spitting distance, but there are religions that forbid it. Pastries or freshly baked bread might vie for the trophy, but they fall short. Cheeseburgers, cheese fries, cheesecakes, cheese Danishes, cheese balls, cheese straws, cheese bread, cheese sauces, cheese quesadillas, cheese toast, extra-cheese pizza, macaroni and cheese. Heck, there’s even a cheese dog that’s literally just cheese on a bun. Kids won’t eat broccoli? Add cheese. Use it to make salads, soups and plain old potatoes decadent. Pair it with fruit or wine and launch your taste buds into the flavor stratosphere.Face it, there is no food quite as wonderful as cheese. That’s why we now have the N.C. Cheese Trail, actually the state’s second cheese trail. The WNC (western North Carolina) Cheese Trail covers the hills and dales of our Appalachians and foothills. Both trails have sprung up in the last five years, following the local food trend and a shift back to agriculture. …
  • “May: The Perfect Time To Pick Strawberries In The Triad,” WFMY: You probably didn’t like all the rain in April, but strawberry farmers loved it. North Carolina strawberries are ripe, fresh and ready to pick. WFMY News 2’s Tracey McCain showing you around the patches at May Farm, but there are several in the Triad. Harvest generally starts in the southeastern Coastal Plain in early April, in the Piedmont in mid- to late-April, and in the western part of the state in early May. According to the North Carolina Strawberry Association, depending on weather, most farms pick for 5-8 weeks. Cool spring weather prolongs the season, while hot weather, especially in May, shuts it down. May is considered the main season and is “Strawberry Month” in North Carolina. …
  • “North Carolina festival looks to showcase agriculture,” Farms.com: In an effort to promote the importance and opportunities agriculture provides to the state of North Carolina, the State Fairgrounds will play host to the 2015 Got to Be NC Festival from Friday, May 15 – Sunday, May 17. “Many kids today are at least two generations removed from the farm,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The festival is a great place for families to see barnyard animals and learn more about the hardworking men and women who contribute to our state’s top industry.” The festival is also a stop on the 2015 Tour D’Coop so in addition to milking cows, goats and learning about other farm animals and their importance to agriculture, poultry specialists from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture will offer free workshops on how people can start and maintain safe urban chicken houses. As far the agricultural sector goes, North Carolina contributes about $78 billion to the state’s economy and is responsible for employing about 16% of the state’s work force. …
  • “US gives farmers approval to spray crops from drones,” WRAL: A drone large enough to carry tanks of fertilizers and pesticides has won rare approval from federal authorities to spray crops in the United States, officials said Tuesday.The drone, called the RMAX, is a remotely piloted helicopter that weighs 207 pounds (94 kilograms), said Steve Markofski, a spokesman for Yamaha Corp. U.S.A., which developed the aircraft. …
  • “Talking Turkey: Bird Flu May Bite Supplies This Thanksgiving,” NBC News: The largest-ever U.S. outbreak of avian influenza, which has devastated Midwestern poultry and egg producers in recent weeks, could be felt at Thanksgiving tables across the nation come November, farmers and some trade groups say. The virulent H5N2 strain has already spread to 14 states and led to the deaths or scheduled euthanizations of more than 21 million birds, including 3.3 million turkeys in Minnesota, the nation’s top turkey producer. And now, with Thanksgiving just seven months away, farmers say they may be running out of time to raise enough turkeys -the traditional centerpiece of holiday feasts – to meet the demand. Once a farm has been infected, flocks must be culled, composted in barns, then disposed of. Buildings must then be thoroughly disinfected. The whole process can take up to three months before a new flock of turkey poults can be brought in, said Steve Olson, executive director of the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. …
  • “Op-Ed: Trade Promotion Authority would help NC farmers reach full potential,” The News & Observer: At BASF, we use science and innovation to contribute to the success of our customers. For BASF Agricultural Solutions, the customer is many times the farmer, and farmers need Congress to enhance their success through increased export opportunities. That is why passage of Trade Promotion Authority is so critically important and should proceed without delay. American agriculture is enormously productive. Thanks to technologies developed here in North Carolina at companies like BASF, farmers are producing more with less every day. In fact, because farmers are able to produce more than is needed domestically, the U.S. has a trade surplus in agricultural products, and there is tremendous opportunity to increase exports of food and feed products even further through new trade agreements. There continues to be a growing demand for U.S. agricultural products around the world. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, three of North Carolina’s top agricultural products have experienced substantial export growth in recent years. …
  • “Photo Gallery: What does it ‘feel’ like to be a blueberry from harvest to package?” Southeast Farm Press: The U.S. leads the world in blueberry production, and the Southeast is the country’s top supplier and growing. But blueberry producers face many challenges when it comes to harvesting and handling the tiny, tender fruit. To get a better idea of what blueberries endure as they tumble through a packing line, Charlie Li developed the Berry Impact Recording Device, or BIRD. An embedded electronic chip records all the bumps and bruises as the device rattles along with the berries. Changying “Charlie” Li, an associate professor who specializes in sensor technology at the University of Georgia, is leading a four-year study designed to identify ways to improve the efficiency of the nation’s blueberry harvest. Last fall, the U.S. Department of Agriculture awarded a $2.37 million grant to Li and his colleagues at 10 universities across the nation for the project. …
  • “This is What Science Looks Like at NC State: April Hamblin,” NCSU News:  On Thanksgiving, I like to thank bees for their pollination services. Have you ever thought about what actually happened to the food in front of you before it was food? If you love pumpkin pie, you may want to thank the Squash Bee (Peponapis pruinosa) for pollinating squash. If you are more of a blueberry cobbler kind of person, you should thank the Southeastern Blueberry Bee (Habropoda laboriosa). And, if you just adore apple strudel, you would want to applaud the Blue Orchard Bee (Osmia lignaria) for all her hard work. While Honey Bees (Apis mellifera) are the most common bee managed for agriculture, native bees must also be commended for their work, especially in urban areas like your backyard. As a graduate student at NC State in Dr. Steven Frank’s lab, I study these native bees in urban areas like the city of Raleigh. I am trying to understand how temperature influences the native bee population. Cities and other urban areas have hotter temperatures than the natural surrounding areas around them. This is called the urban heat island effect. …
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