News Roundup: March 5-11

By on March 11, 2016

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.

  • “Three Local Farms Aided By Tobacco Funds,” The Transylvania Times: Through the Western North Carolina AgOptions program, 35 farms in Western North Carolina were recently awarded a total of $177,000 worth of grants. Furnished by the North Carolina Tobacco Fund Commission and administered by WNC Communities, these grants are given to producers in the region who practice ingenuity and sustainability within their farming practices. The primary purpose of the funding is to increase revenue and encourage innovation for local farmers, especially those who previously produced tobacco. Three farms in Transylvania County were recipients of the grant: Pitch Pine Farm, Cosmo Farm and Sospiro Ranch. …
  • “New agritourism mobile app aims to connect farms to consumers in Orange County,” Daily Tar Heel: Orange County will pilot a new agritourism mobile app, aimed to connect North Carolina visitors to the agricultural assets of the state. The app, premiering in June, will connect tourists with farms where they can pick their own food. Laurie Paolicelli, director of Orange County community relations and tourism, said agritourism is tourism marketing that focuses on agriculture in an area spotlighting the food movement — a trend back to eating fresh locally grown food. …
  • “Construction on horse stalls to begin in fall,” Lumberton Robesonian: Long-awaited barns and stalls at the Southeastern North Carolina Agricultural Events Center should be open by fall — but without electricity, according to Kent Yelverton, director of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Property and Construction Division. Yelverton said Wednesday that his department is recommending that the state Construction Office, which is part of the N.C. Department of Administration, approve a $365,167 contract with Driven Contractors LLC of Maxton for the construction of two 40-foot by 250-foot buildings to house 50 stalls each. …
  • “What is the animal microbiome and what does it mean to NC?” WRAL Tech: What is the animal miocrobiome and how will it affect agriculture in North Carolina? That’s the question that will be addressed at the ag Biotech professional for March 23 at the North Carolina biotech center. Speakers for the event have just been announced. As we are learning more and more about how the microbes that live in us in on us impact human health, the same is true for animal agriculture. Animal health and nutrition are intrinsically tied to the microbes living in and around each animal. This event features speakers from local universities sharing their academic research into the animal microbiome as well as from companies who have commercial technologies based on the animal micro bio community the stocks will include applications relating to the poultry and aquaculture. …
  • “Farm subscriptions are growing up in Charlotte,” Charlotte Observer: “CSA” is one of those insider phrases. If you focus on eating locally, you know what it means. If you don’t, you wrinkle your forehead when you hear it. It’s been 30 years since Community Supported Agriculture entered the vernacular. Most histories credit it with starting on two farms in Massachusetts in 1986. The idea is, literally, putting your money where your mouth is: In the spring, when farms have lots of expenses (seeds, mulch, gas for the tiller) and not much yet to sell, you buy a subscription, usually for $400. In summer, when the farm has lots to sell, you get a share of the weekly harvest. …
  • “China’s grab for Syngenta ‘scares’ ag marketing advisor,” Southeast Farm Press: Richard Brock says low commodity prices trouble him, but not near as much as China’s recent move to purchase Syngenta. This acquisition will be a game changer. “Most people haven’t thought about this. And I got to thinking this may be the biggest thing to happen to farmers in years. For years, China has been trying to buy the technology from Monsanto and DuPont and couldn’t get it done. So, what do they do? They buy Syngenta. Folks this could be devastating. I don’t know where we are at with the approval process but if this thing goes through, this has unbelievable, long-term negative implications for both the price of corn and soybeans. This is scary,” said Brock, owner and president of Brock Associates, an agricultural marketing advisory service, speaking to more than 350 people at seminar during the MidSouth Farm and Gin Show in Memphis Feb. 27. According to news reports, the state-owned China National Chemical Corp.’s proposed $43 billion purchase of Syngenta AG, one of the largest crop chemical and seed companies in the world, is closer to a reality as China looks to secure financing to finalize the deal. …
  • “NC Catch holds fifth summit,” Carolina Coast Online: Wild, locally caught seafood may become a niche market, or it may already be one. But whatever its future, seafood industry stakeholders and state officials both see opportunities to keep the wild-caught seafood on the menu for future generations. NC Catch, a nonprofit dedicated to partnering with local catch groups, including Carteret Catch, to strengthen the state seafood economy through promotion and education, held its fifth summit this year Monday and Tuesday at the Core Sound Waterfowl and Heritage Museum on Harkers Island and at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort. The catch partnership had a variety of guest speakers to speak about the state of the North Carolina seafood industry, as well as success stories and advice on how to better promote and support locally harvested seafood. Dr. Donald van der Vaart, secretary of the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality, attended the summit’s celebratory dinner at the Core Sound Museum Monday. Dr. van der Vaart said supporting local seafood is an initiative that’s taken off in North Carolina. “It’s clearly a niche market now,” he said, “and with the coastal tourism we have, it goes well together.” …
  • “FDA’s Mike Taylor to leave agency in June,” The Produce News: The Food & Drug Administration announced that Mike Taylor, a leader in implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act, will be leaving the agency on June 1. Taylor, who is FDA’s first deputy commissioner for foods and veterinary medicine, will be succeeded by Stephen Ostroff, the agency’s chief scientist who recently led FDA as acting commissioner until Robert Califf was confirmed as the new FDA commissioner. “As part of a succession plan that ensures both continuity in the program and strong new leadership for the future, Dr. Stephen Ostroff will become the second Deputy Commissioner for Foods and Veterinary Medicine upon Mr. Taylor’s departure,” FDA announced in a March 8 statement. “Between now and June 1, Mr. Taylor and Dr. Ostroff will work closely together, with FDA Commissioner Califf’s strong support, to manage a transition that sustains the program’s momentum on the many challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for FDA.” As for Taylor’s future plans, FDA said only that he plans “to continue working on in the food safety arena, focusing on those settings where people lack regular access to sufficient, nutritious and safe food.” Taylor’s departure will come before food companies must comply with much of FSMA’s rules. …
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