News Roundup: Aug. 13-19

By on August 19, 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.

  • “$45M Golden LEAF grant makes NCSU plant research facility a reality,” Triangle Business Journal: With help from a whopping $45 million grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation, N.C. State University will build a new research facility for the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative. The facility will become the centerpiece of a $160 million Plant Sciences Research Complex planned for N.C. State’s Centennial Campus and is in partnership with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Already, the Triangle is a big player in plant science, not only from departments within N.C. State, but from private companies like Bayer, BASF, Syngenta and Monsanto, not to mention a new AgTech Accelerator that hopes to do for emerging agricultural technologies what similar accelerators did for drug developers in the 1990s. Furthermore, consider that agriculture is North Carolina’s top industry at $84 billion annually, according to Dan Gerlach, president of Golden LEAF, who called Golden LEAF’s grant “an investment in North Carolina agriculture that will help improve crop yields, introduce new crop and plant varieties, and reduce feed costs for animal agriculture.” …
  • “Only 1 way to celebrate National Farmer’s Market Week: at a farmer’s market,” Jacksonville Daily News: Onslow County’s original farmer’s market coincides this week with a key day: the last of National Farmer’s Market Week. National Farmers Market Week is celebrated across the nation from Aug. 7 to the 13, and reminds county officials to reflect on the economic impact of farmers for the community. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) statistics, these grassroots venues have increased in number by 60 percent since 2009 to more than 8,500 nationally. Farmer’s markets preserve farmland, stimulate local economies, increase access to fresh nutritious food, improve community health and promote sustainability. Growers selling locally create 13 full-time farm jobs per $1 million in revenue earned, while those that do not sell locally only create 3 jobs. Onslow County is home to 347 farms with a total of 57,642 acres of total land in farms, according to the latest Census of Agriculture in 2012. …
  • “On-Farm Safety Review Process,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) Like a train coming down the track, the Food Safety Modernization Act is here, and some part of it will apply to most every farmer in the country. Tuesday, at NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler’s 12th Annual Food Safety Forum, the department’s On Farm Safety Review program was a topic of discussion. Assistant Commissioner for Consumer Protection, Joe Reardon outlines what an On Farm Safety Review is, and who could benefit from it: “The On Farm Readiness Review is really a great opportunity for the farmer to really understand how the regulations are going to affect them, we’re working with FDA in which the federal government will fund and we will be also to fund the universities that participate in this to work with our farmers, to on the farm in a non-regulatory capacity, really start at the beginning of the operation with planning, planting, all the way to packing, and really educate them on how the rule will apply to them, and some of the things they may want to focus on inside their operation.” …
  • “Oyster farms hold financial, environmental promise,” Outer Banks Voice: Joey Daniels knows fish and the commercial fishing industry. He grew up in the shadow of the men and women who built Wanchese Fish Co. into a global powerhouse that introduced the nation, and the world, to North Carolina seafood. While other family members stuck with the bread-and-butter product line — finfish — Daniels became interested in a different segment of the seafood industry. Oysters. More specifically, farming oysters, a relatively new industry in North Carolina that faces federal and state regulatory hurdles in addition to the usual concerns of any farming operation — upfront investment, a product that has to survive from a seedling to a market-worthy size, weather hazards and, of course, a market price that can fluctuate over time. But even though he was a family member, he had to convince the board of Wanchese Fish Co. to back his idea and fund the endeavor. Daniels convinced them, and the result is a dockside facility in Wanchese where the seedling oysters get their start. …
  • “Folks talk tomatoes at annual Tomato Field Day,” WLOS: (Video) The agriculture industry came together for the annual Tomato Field Day on Tuesday. The event was held at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center. It’s a chance to interact with growers and Ag professionals about research projects. They also talk about managing pests and diseases that could affect their crop. “They can interact with researchers about the research in the field,” Director Jeff Chandler said. “They can see differences between one tomato and another one, or see the disease issues in one but not another one, because of the research that’s being done.” North Carolina ranks seventh in tomato production nationwide, growing a million pounds of them each year.
  • “Wayne Hinshaw: Sunflowers at research station pretty, useful,” Salisbury Post: Riding out Sherrills Ford Road, you can’t miss the acres and acres of sunflowers in full bloom on the Piedmont Research Station farm property. There are about 17 acres of beautiful, bright-yellow Clearfield Sunflowers, to be exact. Farm employee Kelly Snider explains that N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler wanted to start a pollinator program in North Carolina for honeybees, bumblebees and butterflies. In North Carolina, there are around 400 pollinators that are important to our agriculture programs and food supply. The local research station project started small but has grown much larger this year. The Pollinator Habitat Area project is part of the “Got To Be NC” promotion. The Department of Agriculture and the Department of Transportation have an interest in the program. Snider points out that farmers can plant sunflowers, buckwheat or canola for good pollinators. A farmer can plant clover in the spring, then buckwheat, and then sunflowers in order to keep a good year-round pollination food supply during the growing season. …
  • “Rural economic boom? Hemp on the horizon in WNC,” Asheville Citizen-Times: As Mike Lewis spoke by phone from his Kentucky farm, a loud whirring like an onslaught of cicadas rose in the background, threatening his 19-month-old daughter’s hard-won nap. “Well, you have good timing,” Lewis sighed in the weary tone of someone used to such intrusions. “Here comes the DEA right now over my farm.” The helicopters buzz over Lewis’s farm up to three times daily. That’s because among the shiitake logs, heirloom tomatoes, heritage pork and other high-end foods the farm produces, Lewis and the fellow veterans in his Growing Warriors program are among the first to grow industrial hemp in the United States after its prohibition began in the ’30s. Lewis and his team, mostly disabled veterans, are working to promote hemp’s commercial viability from the ground up while also trying to shake the plant’s reputation as the pet cause of marijuana advocates. They’re growing hemp and processing it to make tool handles and textiles. They’re even weaving American flags using a donated loom, an effort that nods to hemp’s growth by America’s Founding Fathers. …
  • “Boone brewery doubles sales during second quarter,” Winston-Salem Journal: Appalachian Mountain Brewery Inc. on Thursday reported a 106 percent jump in revenue for the second quarter to $1.12 million, as the Boone company continued to benefit from expanded distribution of its craft brews. By comparison, the company’s revenue was $1.73 million in fiscal 2015. The brewery, which opened in February 2013 and is located near the Boone Mall, disclosed financial statements for the first time as a publicly traded company in June 2015. It is one of just three publicly traded craft-brew companies. It is listed on the over-the-counter bulletin board under the symbol “HOPS.” Appalachian is known for its Long Leaf India Pale Ale, Boone Creek Blonde Ale and Spoaty-Oaty Pale Ale, as well as beers from its small-batch series. …
Print Friendly, PDF & Email