News Roundup

News Roundup: Dec. 12-18

By on December 18, 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.

“Local family makes selling Christmas trees a tradition,” Winston-Salem Journal: Fraser firs are practically a part of the King family when it comes to Christmastime. Jeff King, owner of King’s Christmas Trees, and a close friend of his started the selling Christmas trees more than 30 years ago. “I actually started when I was a junior in high school,” King said. “I enjoyed it and he didn’t and he quit and I stayed. It has been 35 years.” After he married his wife, Brenda, they opened a small engine shop in downtown Morganton, said King’s Christmas Trees website. A part of King still wanted to be involved with selling Christmas trees, so they set up a small area tree lot outside of the engine shop, the website said. …

“Sale of Christmas Trees, Cold Weather Apparel Strong Despite Warm Weather,” Time Warner Cable News: (Video) Some local retailers say they are benefiting from the unseasonably warm temperatures. “Wanted to please my wife, keep me out of the doghouse, came up here to find out exactly what she wanted,” said Rose Hill resident Ebern Watson. Watson took a 100-mile trek from Rose Hill to the State Farmer’s Market in Raleigh Monday afternoon in search of nearly two-dozen real wreaths to decorate his home for Christmas. He says the unseasonably warm weather hasn’t dampened his Christmas spirit. “It’s an idea of your mind. It has nothing to do with the weather. Makes it nicer that you’re not in the snow and ice sometimes, but that makes it exciting and romantic,” said Watson. And those selling Christmas trees say the temperatures haven’t been a deterrent for customers. Additionally the sellers say the 12 and 14 foot trees have been very popular this season. “Last year we brought up 42 twelve footers, and we sold them all. This year we brought up 62 and we’ve got five left,” said tree salesman Thomas Beckwith. …

“Cottonseed called ‘oilseed’ under farm bill would help stressed farmers,” Southeast Farm Press: Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has the power under the current farm bill to designate cottonseed as an oilseed, which would give cotton farmers access to federal risk management options during cotton industry’s toughest economic times in decades. Cotton farmers received backing for this action Dec. 15 when 100 members of congress sent Vilsack a letter formally urging him to use his legal authority to classify cottonseed as an “other oilseed,” which would make cottonseed eligible for the Agricultural Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage programs and provide a much-needed safety net for cottonseed and cotton farmers facing natural disasters and what is being called “predatory foreign competition” by China and India, which has left U.S. farmers financially struggling with few options. The bipartisan letter followed testimony Dec. 9 by cotton industry leaders, beseeching congressional assistance to help the U.S. cotton industry. …

“NC State releases cotton variety data to aid farmers with key decision,” Southeast Farm Press: North Carolina State University has released the results of its 2015 on-farm cotton variety trials which consist of the most widely adapted and best-fit varieties for North Carolina cotton farmers as determined by seed companies. “Within the first year alone, the on-farm program has clearly demonstrated that variety selection is one of the most important decisions a grower can make that will significantly impact their profitability in a given year,” wrote Guy Collins, N.C. State Extension cotton specialist, in a blog posting announcing the release of the results. “It is always advised that variety decisions be based on multi-environment and multi-year replicated data in order to identify varieties with a high degree of stability (strong performance across a wide range of environmental conditions). It is also advised that growers observe data from both the on-farm program and NCSU Official Variety Trials (OVT) which will be available very soon, Collins wrote. …

“Ag Industry Working to Define Sustainability,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) The Ag Industry is still working to define sustainability as it pertains to agriculture. Cameron Bruett, Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of Corporate Affairs for JBS USA gave his definition of sustainability when he served as the keynote speaker for the recent Colorado Ag Classic event: “Sustainability is responsibly meeting the needs of the present, so that future generations have the opportunity to responsibly meet their own needs. So, in short it’s doing more with less. It’s using less resources in a responsible way to produce the products, the protein the food that people need to improve their livelihoods, but doing it in such a way that it doesn’t wast our precious and finite natural resources, and empowers the next generation that they’re going to face that we might not be mindful today.” Bruett says that there are three recognized pillars of sustainability: “They are the well recognized the three pillars of sustainability, which are economic, social and environmental. And to achieve a sustainable outcome you have to balance those three principles. So, you can’t make incredible investments in your farm operation in the environmental sphere that puts you in the red and runs you out of business tomorrow. so, it’s really commons sense.” …

“Bills in Congress Contain Wins & Losses for Ag,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) The tax and spending bills Congress is expected to pass offer some victories and some losses for agriculture. The legislation does not include a repeal of the Environmental Protection Agency’s ‘Waters of the U.S.’ rule but does include a full repeal of the mandatory country-of-origin meat labeling law. American Farm Bureau’s Dale Moore says Farm Bureau was disappointed the bill did not include legislation to block WOTUS: “This effort didn’t bear the fruit we were hoping, that means that we kind of put our nose back on the grindstone and keep working with our strong supporters on the Hill and find yet another venue and another avenue to get this fixed.” Venues for the fight include the courts which have now put temporary holds on the EPA’s rule that see’s further pushback stemming from the EPA’s illegal propaganda campaign, according to Congress’s investigative arm. The omnibus spending bill to finish the fiscal year also dealt a loss to the National Farmers Union, which fought to replace mandatory country-of-origin meat labeling with a voluntary rule. Repeal of COOL goes beyond what the World Trade Organization said needed to be done to stop tariff authorizations for Mexico and Canada, according to Chandler Goule with the National Farmers Union. …

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