News Roundup: Aug. 22-28

By on August 28, 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.

  • “Ag Commissioner Troxler joins N.C. Forest Service to celebrate 100 years of service,” Jones + Blount: The N.C. Forest Service celebrated its 100th anniversary Tuesday at Clemmons Educational State Forest in Clayton. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler presented a proclamation from Gov. Pat McCrory recognizing the N.C. Forest Service for its century of service to the state. “Much has changed in North Carolina over the past 100 years,” Troxler said. “The dedication of the Forest Service has not.” In 1915 the General Assembly created the Forest Service, which now has over 650 employees and a presence in every county. …
  • “Farm profitability: USDA report paints less-than-rosy picture for 2015,” Southeast Farm Press: Farm sector profitability is forecast to decline for the second straight year. Net cash income is forecast at $100.3 billion, down about 21 percent from 2014 levels. Lower crop and livestock receipts are the main drivers of the change in 2015 net cash farm income from 2014, while cash production expenses are projected down by 1.1 percent. …
  • This Year’s Bird Flu: Think Critters, Not People,” North Carolina Health News:  The seasons are getting ready to change, and with the shortening days will come the sight of flocks of ducks and geese flying south for the winter. But some in North Carolina are dreading the arrival of our feathered winter residents. For the most part, those are poultry farmers who’ve watched a highly pathogenic form of avian influenza (bird flu) devastate farms in the Midwestern U.S. Sharron Stewart, from the NC Dept of Agriculture and Consumer Services, answers questions from farmers after presenting at the Agriculture Commissioner’s Annual Food Safety Summit last week.  …
  • “State-issued chicken mandate isn’t going over easy,” Mountain Xpress: Owners of backyard chickens have had their feathers ruffled by a new state mandate. A recent requirement from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will require all chicken keepers to register with the state, regardless of the size of their flock. The requirement is being met with accusations of “fowl play” from some chickeners who say the registry is part of a larger effort to subvert agricultural autonomy and prop up a regulatory system that favors Big Ag. In July, Gov. Pat McCrory greenlighted recommendations from state veterinarian Dr. Doug Meckes to implement statewide emergency measures to prevent and control the spread of avian influenza. …
  • “J&D Produce enters 20th year in business,” Hendersonville Times News: When it comes to running J&D Produce, owners James and David Milholen’s M.O. is to keep it simple. That philosophy seems to have paid off for the brothers, who’ve entered their 20th year of staying busy with the store at 221 S. Church St. “We’ve thought about expanding, but it’s always gotten so busy here that it takes all our time just to keep the clientele happy,” David Milholen said. The two brothers, as well as a half-dozen employees, work before, during and after open hours stocking and restocking produce, preparing and breaking down the store and performing other jobs. Except for a small fridge by the door that carries cheese, eggs and a couple of other times for sale, J&D Produce is just that – selling produce. Shoppers don’t seem to mind, though; the Milholens said the store could be empty one minute and filled almost wall to wall with people the next minute, especially during lunchtime. …
  • “Rockingham County Farm Recognized For Conservation Efforts,” TWC News: (Video) A Rockingham County farm family has been recognized for conservation practices that save soil and water, and in the long run keep farms and food in North Carolina. The Baker family has been working the land in Rockingham County for five generations. “It’s been better than a hundred years,’’ said Baker Farms’ Bobby Baker. “I know my grandfather farmed, and we had no knowledge before him.” The family was named the state’s Outstanding Conservation Farm Family of the year. “This family, they’re in it for the long haul,” said Steve Troxler, N.C. Agriculture Commissioner. “They’ve understand if they have good soil and good natural resources, they’ve got a chance for the future.” Using practices that Baker says he learned from his father. Planting strip crops with grass borders to handle runoff water. It protects streams and prevents soil erosion. “It filters the water and soil, it’ll actually trap the soil in the grass,’’ said Baker. …
  • “Pender, Duplin farmers gather to learn how to better manage crops,” Wilmington StarNews:  Hank Bond’s family farm was the site for more than 50 Pender and Duplin county farmers to gather July 27 for a Twilight Corn Row Farm tour. Hosted by Bond and the Pender County Ag Extension office, the event served as a learning occasion for farmers to enhance growth in their soybean and corn crop production. Bond’s farm serves as a test site for multiple seed companies to display and grow their products while educating farmers about how they can maximize the fullest yield from the crop. Beginning with an introductory dinner at the Bond farm shop, the farmers would soon be directed to a test field of soybeans where Dr. Jim Dunphy, a soybean production specialist with N.C. State University, discussed the balance of pesticides on soybeans. “We teach our farmers right from wrong,” said Dunphy, in regards to the variety of chemicals a farmer can or may need to use to make the crop grow or protect it from pests. …
  • “Bird flu threat cancels Eastern Triangle Farm Tour,” News & Observer: Avian flu fears have forced the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association to cancel this year’s 10th annual Eastern Triangle Farm Tour. The farm tour was scheduled this year for Sept. 19-20. Advance ticket holders can get a refund by emailing info@carolinafarmstewards.org or calling 919-542-2402. The seasonal flu – Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza – does not infect people, but they can carry the virus on their body, shoes and car tires from one place to another. It’s spread by wild waterfowl, such as geese, as they fly south for the winter. Migration patterns and lower fall temperatures have made it “very likely” that birds from infected parts of Canada will cross the region this fall, association officials said Monday in a news release. The virus can be present in a flock for 21 days before becoming active. The risk has prompted the N.C. Department of Agriculture to cancel live bird shows and sales until Jan. 15, they said. …
  • “NC corn crop is worst in the nation; local farmer sees best and worst of it,” WGHP: (Video) A dry, hot summer is cooking North Carolina’s corn crop. In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says our corn is in the worst shape nationwide. About 30 percent of the state’s corn is in poor to very poor shape. Guilford County farmer Chris Bowman knows all about the tough season. “That was a concern we had to begin with. It was cold and wet, and I planted some and worried it was not going to come up,” Bowman said. A cold and dreary March and April delayed most of the planting until May. Then as soon as the corn began to grow, a hot and dry June shut down a number of corn plants.
  • “NE Regional School of Biotech & Agriscience Launches Fourth Year,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) Earlier in August the Northeast Regional School of Biotechnology and Agriscience, a concept high school located in Jamesville, North Carolina launched their fourth year. Hal Davis, Jr., is Principal: “We serve students from Pitt, Martin, Washington, Beaufort and Tyrrell Counties. With the start of the new school year we enrolled 210 scholars. We have had a very successful start.” About 80 students applied for 60 openings for the freshman class. Even though NE Regional now has its first class of seniors, that doesn’t mean they’re busy planning commencement exercises: “We have a five year program. We give them the opportunity to earn an Associates College Degree and then move on to a four year college or the real world. Our goal for all of our scholars is successful employment.” …
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