News Roundup: Dec. 10-16

By on December 16, 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.

  • “McCrory signs $200M disaster recovery bill,” WRAL: Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday signed a $200 million disaster recovery bill into law at the Executive Mansion in Raleigh. The measure isn’t expected to be the last work on disaster recovery. October’s Hurricane Matthew caused an estimated $2 billion in damage in eastern counties. November wildfires in the western part of the state were less deadly but destroyed forest land and required thousands of hours of firefighters’ time. At least one more separate disaster recovery bill will be developed next year, lawmakers said this week, adding that the current bill represents a best estimate of what is needed until then. …
  • “Grant aims to help farmers with innovative ideas,” WCTI: (Video) There’s one group you depend on every day, our farmers and the food they provide. But they’ve been dealt with a rough market the last couple of years and the NC Agventure Grant is aiming to help them come up with innovative ways to make more profit. Farmers and producers can get up to $10,000 to use towards new ideas. The NC Agventure grant is funded through NC Tobacco Trust Fund and Commission. Michelle Tingen owns a strawberry farm in Snow Hill and was awarded the grant last year.  …
  • “Daily Ag Summary: North Carolina Farm Wins National Sorghum Producers Yield Contest,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) National Sorghum Producers is proud to announce the winners of the 2016 NSP Yield Contest. Farmers from 28 states entered to win this year’s contest. Producer yields are highlighted in 10 different categories with this year’s top yield at 208.40 bushels per acre. This year’s winners were from all over the country, not just the south, with several from New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Triple Creek Farm of North Carolina won in the Non-Irrigated Food-Grade category with a yield of 122.89. The national winners will be further recognized at Commodity Classic in San Antonio on March 3rd. …
  • “Westbend opens under new owners,” Winston-Salem Journal: Westbend Winery and Brewery will have its grand opening Saturday, offering visitors a look at the new tasting room, brewery and winery built under new owners. Owners Walt and Sonia Breathwit are breathing new life into the 41-acre property they bought in November 2015 for $1.6 million. The new tasting room is 10,500-square-foot, and there is a new winemaker and brewmaster. …
  • “Research leads to breeding better bovines, reduces carbon footprint,” Greensboro News & Record: (Video) Braking his pickup in a pasture, Joe French rolled down his window and grinned. “Smell that?” he asked as a chilly breeze wafts a sweet aroma like cured tobacco into the cab. “What does that smell like?” “Smells like money!” French answered for himself, too delighted to wait for a guess. Cattle ranchers would likely recognize the fragrances of sorghum and silage, chopped and fermented and mixed with a bit of corn and soy bean meal. To French, this fragrant feed recipe smells like money because it is one of the keys to a 50 percent increase in cattle productivity and a 25 percent increase in feed efficiency. …
  • “China’s N.C. love affair,” Business North Carolina: This countryside is a world apart from the state’s thriving metropolises. It’s fall, and farmhouses and barns dot the browning landscape as Andy Garrett drives through Warren County. He’s worked in fields like these all his life, grueling days with clothes, arms and hands coated with sticky black, nicotine-laced gum, stooping and breaking off suckers — growth-sapping sprouts — and squashing leaf-eating hornworms as big as his thumb. Across the state line, Virginia’s faded South Hill was once a thriving tobacco town. After wrapping up a meeting here, Garrett heads back to North Carolina, pleased with his day. The tobacco buyers he met agreed to pay about $2.18 a pound for 19 bales. At more than 700 pounds per bale and 15 cents or more per pound than others are offering, the deal will gross more than $30,000. “We’ve done pretty well,” he says. Farmers like Garrett are the soul of Tar Heel agriculture, powering the state’s economy.  …
  • “Tillis: We must be more proactive on wildfire prevention,” Asheville Citizen-Times: For weeks, wildfires have spread throughout southeastern Appalachia, destroying more than 76,000 acres of land in Western North Carolina, and tragically taking the lives of 14 of our neighbors in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. The heroic and tireless work of first responders, coupled with the deliverance of rainfall, have undoubtedly played a role in saving property and lives. As local, state and federal officials begin to assess the damage, it’s critical that we reflect on ways to improve our capacity to prevent and contain wildfires moving forward. I have heard from local leaders and stakeholders in Western North Carolina who watched as first responders were impeded in their efforts to stop the fires. I’ve heard accounts of the tremendous difficulties creating plow lines, the lack of operable roads into and out of the forestland, and the general lack of good silviculture practices that are vital to the growth and health of forests. Outdated federal government regulations and practices have been a major factor in creating and contributing to these glaring problems. The result is a federal system that is too often times counterproductive, straining the resources of our local first responders and drastically impeding our ability to prevent and contain wildfires. Consider the fact that wildfire suppression efforts currently consume more than one half of the U.S. Forest Service’s appropriated budget. This debilitates the Forest Service’s capacity to actually manage forests and federal wilderness areas. We must address these glaring issues before more innocent lives are lost and more properties and forestland in North Carolina are destroyed. …
  • “Walk of Fame: Maybin serves local agriculture, veterans,” Hendersonville Times-News: When Theron Maybin, the “Mayor of Green River,” speaks from his first-hand knowledge of fields and farming, people listen and heed his advice. There will always be a need for food — locally, statewide, nationally and globally. Maybin, born in 1943, is a lifelong member of Cedar Springs Baptist Church, of which he is an ordained deacon, and an active member of the Henderson County Republican Party. Being elected several times to the Soil and Water Commission and serving as chairman of the Henderson County Agricultural Advisory Board, Maybin has led local agriculture in a positive and lasting way. Over the years, Maybin has mentored Green River-Tuxedo children as well as 4-H members across the county. He’s participated in the WNC fair, Farm City Day and 4-H activities, is the instructor at Tigg’s Pond Retreat, and represents the Henderson County Apple Growers Association at the N.C. State Fair each year. …
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