News Roundup: June 11 – 17

By on June 17, 2016

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.

  • “History meets youth at NC potato partners Pamlico Shores,” The Produce News: (Video) Dawson Pugh and Hunter Gibbs were childhood friends, playing on land their families have farmed here for generations. For the last decade they’ve been bringing a young, aggressive approach to the North Carolina fresh summer potato crop, available now through the end of July. Technology meets good old fashioned stewardship of the land to make Pamlico one of the areas most progressive growers.
  • “Looking forward to blueberries,” Salisbury Post: Consumers can expect a strong North Carolina blueberry crop this season, according to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Blueberry harvest began in mid-May and is expected to last through August. “Most of the growers we’ve heard from expect to have a solid crop this year,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “It won’t be a record year, but folks should be able to find plenty of fresh, locally grown berries well into summer.” The majority of N.C. blueberries are sold directly to consumers at local farmers markets, roadside stands and you-pick farms. Blueberry fans can search the department’s website,www.ncfarmfresh.com, to find local farms and markets near their homes or while they’re on vacation. Consumers also can find local blueberries in many groceries stores across the state during the season. …
  • “Mountaire Farms Moving Into Siler City,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) Recently, Mountaire Farms announced that they would be renovating and taking over the beleaguered Townsends poultry processing plant in Siler City. Dan Campeau, area specialized agent for poultry with NC State University: “Absolutely. I think that the people in Siler City, when we lost the Townsends plant they lost five to six hundred jobs, and basically, Siler City put themselves on the line because they built a brand new water reservoir so that they could help Townsends with their water needs. So, when the Ukrainian firm left the country and in leaving all this, basically Siler City was in a depressed economy, losing five and six hundred jobs. So, this is really such a great thing, for our local economy. And I think it’s not only going to help processing jobs, but also help anybody that wanted to be in the poultry industry that was left out by the Townsends fiasco could be picked up. And also, Mountaire is also looking for people to get into building new houses for them.” When the Ukrainian firm, that Campeau mentioned, suddenly picked up sticks and left the country, the situation left many poultry producers hanging. Campeau says many of them were able to stay in business: “Kudos to Farm Credit for actually working with these farmers while they were without contracts. I don’t know of anybody that was serviced by North Carolina Farm Credit that was foreclosed on, they actually worked the farmers and helped them keep their farms while they were without contracts. The other companies that were in this area like Perdue, Mountaire and Pilgrims actually picked up a lot of these broiler growers. And there were also pullet growers and breeder growers that were picked up by those three companies also.” …
  • “New Research Triangle Park-based business wants to fund ag startups,” Southeast Farm Press: As John Dombrosky sees it, great research and new technology in agriculture doesn’t do much good until it can be used right on the farm to improve farm income. “Scientists at great land grand universities such as N.C State, Purdue and the University of California Davis create a great deal of novel technology, but it’s often difficult to transfer that technology into a new product because you need facilities, management talent, scientific acumen, lab space, greenhouse space and capital to turn a great idea into a finished product that a farmer can use,” explains Dombrosky, a former Syngenta executive who is now CEO of AgTech Accelerator, a new venture formed in May in Research Triangle Park that will fund new agricultural technology startups. In an interview with Southeast Farm Press, Dombrosky explains that AgTech Accelerator is a first of a kind venture for agriculture that is geared toward developing innovative agricultural technology companies. The model has proven successful in the pharmaceutical business, and Dombrosky says he is confident it will succeed in agriculture as well. …
  • “Some Eastern Corn Producers Looking at Replant after Bonnie & Colin,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) Tropical storms Bonnie, and then closely followed by Colin dealt a double whammy on some of North Carolina’s most numerous, and productive corn fields in Beaufort, Washington, Hyde and Terrell Counties in eastern North Carolina. Rod Gurganus was able to do a helicopter flyover, courtesy of Sid Cayton and take photographs of the standing water. Now that some of the water is gone, Gurganus outlines what some farmers are looking at: “The situation definitely looks better now, given some sunshine and drier weather, and a chance for some of this water to drain off. We have seen some areas in the fields that are completely dead, that corn is not coming back. But, we have seen some corn in other areas that turned brown, especially the lower leaves as the root systems were compromised, the plants were trying to grow but they weren’t able to, so they were feeding on themselves, pulling nitrogen out of the lower leaves into the part of the plant that was trying to grow. But, in the last few days, those pictures we looked at initially, those look a lot greener, the corn is recovering.” …
  • “The Produce Box takes a fresh approach to food delivery,” The News & Observer: The Produce Box is in the business of making it easy for people across the state to support local farmers. Last week, the Raleigh-based company delivered nearly 7,000 boxes hand-packed with a variety of fruits and vegetables directly to the doors of customers across the state. The Produce Box epitomizes the “buy local” movement, relying on about 40 North Carolina farmers for its goods as well as 90 artisans that make cheese, breads, sauces and other food products. “The farmers market is the best way to support local farmers. We’re the next-best way,” said founder and CEO Courtney Tellefsen. “It’s just that most people can’t get to the farmers market every single Saturday. So we’re the alternative.” Today, Produce Box, which was launched in 2008, has more than 10,000 members who pay an $18 annual enrollment fee that entitles them to purchase boxes that are stuffed with a variety of produce from A to Z – acorn squash to zucchini. The boxes – sporting the company’s logo and the admonition “Eat Your Veggies!” – are delivered weekly except for a six-week period from late December to early February. Members also can supplement the boxes by ordering cheese, breads, etc. …
  • “Cider businesses thrive, draw tourists to Henderson,” Asheville Citizen-Times: You can’t make great hard cider without a steady source of first-rate apples. Henderson County has plenty of those, and is making a mark in cider in the same way that Asheville is known for craft brew. Bold Rock Hard Cider is the biggest of the players with its operation in Mills River, not far from the Sierra Nevada brewery. Flat Rock Ciderworks has opened a tasting room in downtown Hendersonville. And St. Paul Mountain Vineyards, just outside the Hendersonville city limits, is expanding its Appalachian Ridge Artisan Cider operation by converting a 1920s-era barn into a cider house tasting room that will open next month. The cideries are pulling locals and tourists alike, said Hendersonville City Council member Jeff Miller. “These cideries are adding (to the tourist draw) along with the micro breweries and people coming here to pick apples,” he said. “Things like this will draw people in and get them to stay longer. They are a great addition to the community.” …
Print Friendly, PDF & Email