News Roundup: Nov. 5-11

By on November 11, 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.

  • “Myths and facts about U.S. hemp farming today,” Southeast Farm Press: Commercial hemp production faded, along with its legality, many decades ago in the U.S., but enthusiasts and business people are trying to reinvigorate hemp as a modern-day cash crop in states where recent legislation has OK’d it, like in Kentucky. Things are being learned anew about how to farm marijuana’s utilitarian cousin. “It has been kind of interesting getting into this work, and we’ve been doing a lot of work with Kentucky Department of Agriculture and few other folks around the state and we’ve kind of launched into this hemp program. It is by far not the only thing I do and I’m not staking a claim into this but it has been fascinating to look into this because one reason when I go back into my farm’s history (in Kentucky), hemp was one of the crops that was produced on it,” said Tyler Mark, University of Kentucky production economist, who spoke about hemp in Kentucky at the 2016 Southern Outlook Conference in Atlanta. Mark has run across some interesting facts, myths (and people), as he has researched the past, present and economic potential for hemp in Kentucky. …
  • “Holiday shoppers asked to consider North Carolina pecans,” Greensboro News & Record: North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is urging holiday shoppers to remember local pecan farmers as they attempt to salvage their storm-ravaged crop. While November, which is Pecan Month in North Carolina, is usually busy for growers, Troxler notes that many growers are reporting a crop loss of 80 percent or more in 2016. He said in an average year, North Carolina farmers grow up to 5 million pounds of pecans. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the N.C. Pecan Growers Association are encouraging consumers to look for locally grown pecans. Shoppers can look for the Got to Be NC logo on packaged pecans, visit a farmers market or travel to more than two dozen pecan orchards, many of them in eastern and southeastern counties. …
  • “Winston-Salem company delivers ‘soil to oil’ solutions,” WRAL: “Better than flax. Not from fish.” That’s the simple value proposition for a new plant-based oil rich in nutritional omega fatty acids being launched by Technology Crops International (TCI) of Winston-Salem. The oil, derived from the seeds of a plant called ahiflower, has four times more omega acid content than flaxseed oil, weight for weight, and offers other nutritional advantages that have emerged from two clinical trials, says Andrew Hebard, TCI’s founder, president and chief executive officer. The oil “was a huge discovery for us,” says Hebard, who believes TCI’s AhiFlower Oil will be “a game-changer” in the nutritional supplements market, which has traditionally relied on omega acids found in fish, flaxseed or chia seed oils. Multiple studies have shown that consuming essential fatty acids is important to mobility and joint health, cardiovascular health and cognition and brain health. TCI’s Nature’s Crops International division is beginning to market AhiFlower Oil products from its online ahiflower.com website as well as with partners through retail outlets and e-commerce channels, primarily as a dietary supplement but also as a food and beverage ingredient. The oil has passed regulatory muster in the United States and Europe and is under review in Korea, Japan and Australia. “We’re very deep on science and regulatory approvals,” Hebard says. …
  • “County adopts plan to protect, grow farmlands,” Winston-Salem Journal: In an effort to grow the family farm economy in Forsyth County, commissioners adopted a plan to conserve the county’s rural character. More than half of Forsyth County’s 264,000 acres in 1950 were used for farming. By 2012, only about 40,467 acres of the county were used, according to agricultural census data. The number of farms dropped from 3,370 to 662 in the same time frame. “Many local farmers are feeling the adverse impact of the Piedmont Triad’s rapid growth and development,” said Glenn Simmons, who compiled the Farmland Protection Plan. “But new opportunities are emerging which may actually capitalize on that growth.” …
  • “Hay shortage anticipated in North Carolina this winter,” Time Warner Cable News: (Video) Tough times are anticipated for livestock and horses this winter. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services revealed a possible hay shortage in North Carolina. “Over 1/3 of North Carolina in the West is under some type of drought stress,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. Drought in the west and flooding from Hurricane Matthew in the east last month is creating major concern for the state agriculture department. “We had hope that Eastern North Carolina would have enough hay to make up for the shortage in the west, but after Matthew that’s very, very doubtful,” Troxler said. To help livestock and horse owners prepare for the winter, the department encourages farmers to use Hay Alert. The website is a tool for sourcing Hay. The Hay Alert website was first launched during the drought in 2002 and used again in 2007. Officials said it is similar to Craigslist, in which users can post hay for sale or hay wanted ads. The department will not be involved in the transaction beyond hosting the website. Ronnie Hutchins is a farmer who uses the online forum to sell his hay harvest. “I stay on that every year, I re-up every year,” Hutchins said. “That’s where I get a lot of my calls from.” …
  • “Producers looking hard at winter wheat in wake of flood-damaged crops,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) As farmers continue with the recovery process in the eastern part of the state, NC State Extension Corn Specialist Dr. Ron Heiniger says winter wheat all of a sudden has a new shine it didn’t have a couple of months ago: “Growers are turning and looking at things, one of the things is that of course, it’s wheat planting time. Here about a month and a half ago wheat was a dirty word, when you talked to growers, but now, all of a sudden they’re interested in planting wheat. Couple or three reasons that I think it’s attractive is they’ve got bills to play, overhead, equipment, land rent, those kinds of things. And if they could just cover their variable costs and make a few extra dollars they’ll at least contribute to covering that overhead. So, they’re looking at wheat in a different way from the profit standpoint.” …
  • “Raising a rare breed,” Shelby Star: A day-old Dexter calf weighs 25 to 30 pounds, with a full-grown Dexter weighing only half of what a typical Angus would weigh. In the cattle world, that’s small. But it’s the small size and the Dexter’s renowned docility that make them a particularly appealing breed. The Dexter breed originated in Ireland, but several Cleveland County farmers have started raising Dexters. Creig and Dawn Bowland raise Dexter cattle near Lattimore, with their daughter, Aryssa, now helping manage the herd. The Bowlands have about 30 Dexters and 70 Angus cows. Aryssa Bowland said Dexters are naturally more docile and easier to work with than Angus cows. “Dexters make good starter cows for people who haven’t grown up on a farm,” she said. …
Print Friendly, PDF & Email