News Roundup: July 18-24

By on July 24, 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.

  • “Tri-Hishtil facility takes shape in Mills River,” Hendersonville Times-News: Tri-Hishtil, a plant-grafting operation in Mills River currently under construction at 25 School House Road, is on schedule to start production in early 2016, according to General Manager Bert Lemkes. The venture is a collaboration between Israeli, Italian and American companies, and will consist of 2.5 acres of greenhouses and an adjacent production facility where the plant grafting and other operations will take place. Tri-Hishtil announced its intention to construct the facility in August 2014, on a 42-acre lot purchased from Van Wingerden International for $2 million. Lemkes said the company is still in the construction phase of the greenhouse and production center, and “like with any building project, you sometimes run into little delays,” but that overall the project is going smoothly. …
  • “Locals defend farming,” Sampson Independent: As thousands gathered recently at the Events Center in Duplin County, most had the same goal in mind — defending the attacks that are being made against local family-farmers across the state. According to the N.C. Farm Families website, family farmers have been under attack by anti-agriculture activist groups. Local farmers, as well as supporters of the family farms, attended the event with hopes of learning more about those who are making the attacks on the local farms. Ronnie Jackson, president of the Sampson County Friends of Agriculture and a supporter of family-owned farms, said the rally focused the attention on the attacks that are being made, in which many of them are forcing families into bankruptcy because of the lawsuits being filed against some farms.
  • “Couple convert farm into teaching opportunity,” Winston-Salem Journal: Nestled in the foothills of northeast Surry County, Minglewood Farms has grown into a thriving business for owners Bill and Margie Imus. For the last 23 years, they have been growing food and flowers for Winston-Salem restaurants. But they’ve shifted their focus lately and have turned their working farm into an outdoor learning center. Now known as Minglewood Farm and Nature Preserve, the Imus’ are opening their doors and farmland to students, teachers, garden groups and more. “Everything we grow is for demonstrational and educational purposes, but we still sell our produce to restaurants and at farmers markets. That income goes back into the nonprofit for operational costs. We also supply fresh produce to Pilot Mountain Outreach & Samaritan Kitchen to help address the hunger issues in our area,” Margie Imus said. Bill Imus started as a chef many years ago. He was co-owner and chef at The Cumberland Café in Winston-Salem. As he saw the need for fresh, local produce he left the restaurant business for farming. He focused on turning his land into a niche market for the produce that he knew was in demand. …
  • “Farmers Markets continue to grow,” Wilmington Star-News: New vendors and high community attendance have boosted the growth of The Bolivia Brief Farmers Market for the 2015 season. Since the opening of the market in April, the addition of four new vendors has brought about more variety in produce, plants, eggs and baked goods. From 11 a.m.-2 p.m. every Thursday, market vendors set up tents and tables to display their local produce, honey, eggs, baked goods, herbs, cut flowers and more at the Government Complex in Bolivia. “This market is different from a lot of other markets because vendors have to sell food in order to sell other products,” said Mark Blevins, one of the market managers. …
  • “Daily Ag Summary: NCDA Marketing Department Receives Award,” Southern Farm Network:
    The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services was awarded the 2015 Marketing Excellence Award by the North American Agricultural Marketing Officials during the association’s annual meeting, held July 12-15 in Salem, Mass. The award is presented to the top state or provincial agricultural marketing program in the United States and Canada. North Carolina was chosen from a pool of three finalists to receive the award for its rebranding of Got to Be NC, the state’s official identity program for agricultural products. Got to Be NC represents more than 3,000 farmers, ranchers, fishermen and food businesses across North Carolina. …
  • “North Carolina once led in cigarette manufacturing,” The News & Observer: A drive past downtown Durham no longer carries the sweet scent of tobacco, but for many years, it was the city’s hallmark. In 1949, N&O writer Jane Hall gave readers a thorough explanation of modern cigarette manufacturing. That cigarette you’re about to light – if you smoke – is just one of an estimated 392,000,000,000 made in the United States this year. Moreover, when you light it, you can do so with patriotic pride, for a large portion of the bright leaf therein was grown in North Carolina soil, it is wrapped in cigarette paper made in North Carolina by the Ecusta Paper Corporation, and the chances are it was manufactured within the borders of this State. Roughly speaking, 60 per cent of the cigarettes made in the United States are manufactured in North Carolina, which means that over two hundred billions of this year’s estimated total of little white tobacco-filled tubes were made in Tar Heelia. This torrent of cigarettes, which poured from the State’s borders across America and around the world, had its headwaters in four plants in the State – R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, manufacturers of Camels and Cavaliers at Winston-Salem; American Tobacco Company, manufacturers of Lucky Strikes at Reidsville and Durham; and Liggett and Myers, manufacturers of Chesterfields at Durham. Phillip Morris, the fourth ranking manufacturer behind America’s “Big Three,” doesn’t have a plant in North Carolina.
  • “Nello’s is making sauce with biodynamic grower,” The News & Observer: Rob Bowers handed Neal McTighe a green grocery bag full of newly ripened tomatoes. McTighe put his face inside the bag and inhaled. “Yes,” he said with a sigh. That evening earlier this month, McTighe used those tomatoes to make sauce, a test batch for a new marinara that will join the three other varieties of his Nello’s tomato sauce brand. His latest sauce, scheduled to hit shelves exclusively at Whole Foods in August, is made from Bellstar tomatoes, garlic and basil, ingredients all grown by Bowers and his wife, Cheri Whitted Bowers, at their Whitted Bowers Farm in Orange County, the only biodynamic-certified grower in the Southeast. Since McTighe started making marinara sauces for his North Raleigh tomato sauce company Nello’s Sauce in 2010, he envisioned partnering with a farm. He fulfilled that goal when he began collaborating with Whitted Bowers Farm in Cedar Grove in mid-2014. …
  • “The most gruesome way to kill millions of chickens at once,” The Washington Post: Earlier this month, John Clifford, the Chief Veterinary Officer for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, said something many people might not like. At a hearing organized to discuss the impact of the avian flu, which has affected nearly 50 million birds in the United States, he suggested that farmers could have killed infected chickens and turkeys more efficiently by shutting off ventilation systems at poultry barns. “It’s the fastest way and probably the most humane way to take care of this,” Clifford said during the hearing, which was held on July 7. Many disagree—chief among them, the Humane Society (HSUS), which likened the method to “baking the birds to death en masse” in a letter sent to the USDA on Thursday. The animal rights group holds that there are other ways to depopulate flocks that cause less pain. Paul Shapiro, HSUS’s vice president, said that several other organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, World Health Organization, and the USDA itself, don’t recommend killing chickens this way. “It’s very troubling that the possibility is even being discussed,” he said. “It can take as long as three hours for the birds to die.” …
  • “Cotton Board’s first ever Women in Agriculture Tour,” Southeast Farm Press: Sixty-four women from 16 of the nation’s 17 cotton-producing states converged on Cary, N.C. June 15 for a tour of Cotton Incorporated world headquarters for the Cotton Board’s first ever Women in Agriculture Tour. “The women on this tour comprised current and future leaders in the cotton industry,” said Cotton Board President and CEO Bill Gillon. “Their perspectives and insight are invaluable to the continued success of the Cotton Research and Promotion Program. From producer, to ginner, to industry representatives, the participants demonstrate the significant role women play in agriculture.” Gillon said the tour was “a huge success by any measure, and we intend to host similar tours in the future. The cotton industry needs the type of leadership demonstrated by these women as we work to drive demand for cotton.” Stacey Gorman, director of communications for the Cotton Board, said the women came away from the tour with a deeper understanding of the need for research and promotion to keep U.S. cotton competitive. “Women play such a huge role in our industry and it was important for us to bring them together. We were so proud to have such a dynamic group of women on this tour,” she said. …
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