News Roundup: Aug. 15-21

By on August 21, 2015

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

  • “Looking for Holes in Biosecurity in AI Preparations,”  Southern Farm Network: (Audio) At Tuesday’s 11th annual Food Safety Forum, hosted by NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler, the topic was preparation for the occurrence of high path avian influenza, anticipated to affect the east coast later this year. Oscar Garrison, Director for Food Safety for United Egg Producers based in Atlanta, Georgia spoke to the effects to the egg industry, and some of their findings regarding biosecurity …
  • “US peanut industry targets Chinese market,” Southeast Farm Press: U.S. peanut industry leaders view China as a huge potential market for U.S. peanuts and see real opportunity to sell U.S. branded products directly to Chinese consumers. In the spring, representatives of the U.S. peanut industry travelled to China on a trade mission where they toured the Chinese peanut industry and sought opportunities to export U.S. peanuts to the world’s most populous country. “One thing we heard loud and clear is Chinese consumers have very low expectations of peanut products. They expect rancid and stale peanuts,” said Bob Parker, president and CEO of the National Peanut Board during the 2015 Southern Peanut Growers Conference at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Ga. July 25.  …
  • “Watauga Cattle Farmer and Educator, Robert Shipley Sr. Dies at the Age of 103,” High Country Press: At the age of 103, Robert Shipley, Sr., of Linville Creek Road in Vilas, passed away on Friday afternoon Oconee Memorial Hospital in Seneca, S.C. A member of the N.C. Livestock Hall of Fame and the WNC Agricultural Hall of Fame, among other awards and recognitions, Shipley was well known in the agricultural community in the High Country and beyond. The patriarch of three generations of cattle farmers, Shipley farmed land in Vilas that has been in the family since 1872. After World War II, where he served in the U.S. Air Force, Shipley accepted a position as vocational agriculture teacher at Cove Creek High School and later taught at Watauga High School until retirement in 1977. …
  • “Feed the world? Many consumers don’t see it the way farmers do,” Delta Farm Press: It’s generally acknowledged that the U.S. is among the most charitable countries of the world. Our humanitarian concerns are legend. There is irony, then, that surveys by the Center for Food Integrity show American consumers rank feeding the rest of the world dead last on their top 10 list of food concerns. Rather, consumers say, it’s more important for the U.S. to teach developing nations to feed themselves than to export food to them. Stay current on what’s happening in Mid-South agriculture: Subscribe to Delta Farm Press Daily. “We in agriculture love to say we’re feeding the world, and we think everyone is going to appreciate that — but they don’t,” says Allyson Perry, senior project manager for the Center for Food Integrity, a Missouri-based organization with the mission of building consumer trust and confidence in today’s food system. “That’s just not important to them. The feeding the world concept we in agriculture like to stand on isn’t really connecting with consumers.” …
  • “North Carolina’s ‘Sweet Sue’ to Retire,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) After more than 20 years, Sue Langdon, also known as ‘Sweet Sue’, will be retiring from the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission. Langdon, along with her replacement, Kelly McIver on the transition, and plans for the future of North Carolina sweet potatoes: Sue: “We would be transitioning the duties over to Kelly McIver and it will take 6-8 months for that. I have been the Executive Director for twenty years.” Kelly: “I was with the Department of Agriculture in the Sweet Potato industry and I expect to continue our international push with more opportunities.” Sue: “It has been a time of hard work but great satisfaction. We have achieved an integration of people and programs. We have a synergistic effect. Over the past twenty years we have gone from 38,000 acres to 75,000 acres here in 2015.” Kelly: “We will continue to push sweet potatoes with menus in restaurants and many other avenues.”
  • “RTP-based AgBiome raises $34.5M in funding,” News & Observer: Agricultural biotechnology company AgBiome has raised $34.5 million from investors that it plans to plow into research and development and the anticipated launch of its first product. The new funding is one of the largest venture capital hauls by a Triangle company this year. The Research Triangle Park company, which has only existed since the end of 2012 and which previously raised $17.5 million from investors, intends to announce the new funding Thursday. AgBiome has 36 full-time and 14 part-time employees, and expects to add “a half-dozen or more” R&D employees this year and more than a dozen next year, said Dan Tomso, chief scientific officer. The company also anticipates assembling a sales team, but wouldn’t begin to do that until next year in conjunction with the anticipated regulatory approval of its first product, said Andrew Graham chief financial officer. AgBiome isn’t disclosing its hiring plans for its sales team. …
  • “Co-owner of Miss Jenny’s Pickles strikes deal with investors,” Winston-Salem Journal: Jenny Fulton, the co-owner of Kernersville-based company Miss Jenny’s Pickles, has gone into business with the hosts of “West Texas Investors Club.” Fulton was featured in Tuesday’s episode of the CNBC series, in which entrepreneurs travel to west Texas to pitch their business ideas to multimillionaires Rooster McConaughey and Butch Gilliam. She came asking for $250,000 for a 20 percent equity in the company, and discussed some hard business lessons she had learned in building her business. …
  • “Agriculture: The Pumpkin Update,” Cary News: Pumpkins are already starting to grow in the vast fields of the Upchurch Farm – which are just minutes away from Cary and Morrisville. If you haven’t been following the pumpkin series, I’ll catch you up. A month ago, I announced that Cary’s Upchurch Farm will be the place to go for pumpkins this year. Farmers William Upchurch and Dr. Ganyard are growing multiple fields of more than 35 pumpkin varieties. Guests will be able to pick their own pumpkins and enjoy other activities. Shortly after publishing that article, I visited the farm again to write about the special pumpkin-growing process that Dr. Ganyard is using to grow the best pumpkins in the Triangle. Today, a month later, I’ll share some pictures of the growing pumpkins. …
  • “Tomatoes beef up Henderson County economy,” Hendersonville Times-News: The Flavor 1st Growers and Packers warehouse on Banner Farm Road roars and hums with conveyor belts, forklifts and machinery, sorting tomatoes and other vegetables with incredible efficiency. The maze of machinery can move as many as 40,000 packages of 52 different products per day onto 20 to 30 trucks headed across the Eastern Seaboard from Miami to Boston. Dozens of workers inspected and packed flowing lines of tomatoes and other vegetables Thursday as Kirby Johnson, co-owner of Flavor 1st, showcased his new packaging line, highlighting the growing presence of tomato production in Henderson County. …
  • “NC resumes trout stocking after whirling disease tests,” Asheville Citizen-Times: The N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission resumed stocking Hatchery Supported trout waters on Wednesday, Aug. 19, after receiving confirmation that trout from Armstrong State Fish Hatchery in Marion and Setzer State Fish Hatchery in Brevard tested negative for whirling disease, a disorder affecting trout. Whirling disease affects fish in the trout and salmon family. The disease, caused by the microscopic parasite, Myxobolus cerebralis, damages cartilage and skeletal tissue in a fish, causing it to swim in a whirling motion. While often fatal to juvenile fish, the disease does not infect humans or pets, and eating an infected fish is not known to cause any harmful effects. The Commission will not retroactively stock Hatchery Supported locations that did not receive fish during the hatchery-testing period due to recent drought conditions and concerns of high water temperatures at those locations. …
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