News Roundup: Jan. 21-27

By on January 27, 2017

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.

  • Family cattle farm returns to natural approach,” The Robesonian: Eddie Moore calls to his herd of Angus cows. “Who loves you?” he hollers. In unison, they bellow in reply. Eddie Moore knows each of his cows. The cows and their calves each have a tag in one ear with a number that ends up on packages of Moore Brothers beef. Raised naturally on a farm that has been in the family since 1891, Moore Brothers beef is known for tenderness and flavor. The Moore Brothers, Eddie and Luther, ship beef to restaurants and retailers in eastern North and South Carolina from their farm in the Prospect community of Robeson County. Their story began like many other farms in this county — with tobacco. Tobacco was a good living for a long time, Eddie Moore said, until it ran out. “When the tobacco-side played out in 1999, the beef-side came in,” Eddie Moore said. “We had been raising cows as a hobby. Friends seemed to like it. “It’s a challenge. Our goal is simple: to raise beef that tastes as good as possible. I think we’ve got the best quality beef right now that we’ve ever had.” From a modest start, Moore Brothers currently distributes its product in Raleigh, Wilmington, Pinehurst-Southern Pines and Myrtle Beach, S.C. …
  • “NC Tobacco Growers Wait for Effects of Reynolds Merger,” Time Warner Cable News: (Video) The tobacco industry was shaken up this week after British American Tobacco announced their intentions to take over Winston-Salem-based Reynolds American for $49 billion. With news of the merger come many questions, including what this could mean for tobacco farmers across North Carolina.
  • “EPA sends ‘letter of concern’ to regulators over hog farms,” Washington Daily News: The civil rights office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has sent a “letter of concern” to North Carolina regulators in light of a two-year investigation targeting health problems affecting minority communities near large-scale hog operations. The News & Observer of Raleigh reports the 25-page letter to the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has not done enough to reduce stench, flies and other problems caused by the facilities. EPA also said it has “grave concerns” about reports from minority neighbors of threats and intimidation against those who have complained. The federal agency also faults North Carolina for not having an anti-discrimination policy in place, as required by federal law. …
  • “Trump’s order to withdraw from TPP concerns US agriculture,” Southeast Farm Press: Following an executive order Jan. 23 from President Donald Trump to withdraw the United States from the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership, segments of U.S. agriculture expressed significant concern. “While President Trump signed an executive order today withdrawing our nation from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, we viewed TPP as a positive agreement for agriculture – one that would have added $4.4 billion annually to our struggling agriculture economy,” said American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy in a written statement following the Trump announcement. “With this decision, it is critical that the new administration begin work immediately to do all it can to develop new markets for U.S. agricultural goods and to protect and advance U.S. agricultural interests in the critical Asia-Pacific region.” American Soybean Association President Ron Moore pointed out the high stakes for soybean farmers and urged the Trump Administration to immediately announce how it intends to engage and expand market access in the Asia-Pacific region. “Trade is something soybean farmers take very seriously. We export more than half the soy we grow here in the United States, and still more in the form of meat and other products that are produced with our meal and oil,” said Moore, who farms in Roseville, Ill., in a written statement. “The TPP held great promise for us, and has been a key priority for several years now. We’re very disappointed to see the withdrawal today.” The TPP represents 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), and according to the Peterson Institute, would have increased overall U.S. exports by $357 billion by 2030. …
  • “North Carolina companies take home 2017 Good Food Awards,” News & Observer: Several North Carolina companies took home Good Food Awards, which were announced late Friday evening in San Francisco. The Good Food Awards, now in its sixth year, are awarded to food and drink products that are “tasty, authentic and responsibly produced.” Business owners can enter their products in the contest’s 14 categories. Almost 200 winners were chosen from 2,095 entrants in this year’s contest.
  • “Study: Dan River farms and crops are untainted by coal ash,” Winston-Salem Journal: Researchers recently gave a clean bill of health to farmland and crops along the Dan River in a two-year study that found no lingering adverse effects from Duke Energy’s 2014 coal ash spill near Eden. A study team from N.C. State’s crop and soil sciences department sampled agricultural land along a 57-mile stretch of the river, both upstream and downstream from the spill at the utility’s now-demolished Dan River Steam Station in February 2014. “Our results showed no impacts of the Eden coal ash release on trace-element contents of soils or crops during the course of our two-year study period,” the four-person team said in its 113-page final report. The spill occurred on Super Bowl Sunday 2014 when a decades-old metal pipe ruptured beneath one of the retired power plant’s unlined coal ash ponds where the powdery remains of spent coal were submerged. …
  • “1 million funds reforestation in 93 N.C. counties,” Wilkes Journal-Patriot: The N.C. Forest Service announced that $1 million has been made available to assist landowners with the cost of reforestation in Wilkes and all but seven other counties in the state starting today (Jan. 23). The assistance from the Timber Restoration Fund (TRF) will be administered by the forest service using requirements and paperwork similar to those for the agency’s Forest Development Program (FDP). The funds are available through the Disaster Recovery Act of 2016 in counties covered by state of emergency declarations last year. The declarations were made for eastern counties due to hurricane-related damage and to western counties because of a severe fall wildfire season. …
  • “Angell awarded small grains association honor,” Davie County Enterprise Record: Mocksville farmer Madison Angell received the Lifetime Service Award from the N.C. Small Grain Growers Association. Angell was on the original steering committee that formed the association. The thought of the group was to form an organization that would encourage better management practices, improved varieties, and research increasing yields. In 1985 a group of farmers, Ron Jarrett, and NC State met at the Research Station in Salisbury to develop a thought process for forming the organization. During the meeting, there were suggestions that funds would need to be raised for expenses in forming the association. There were commitments for pledging $1,250 for seed money to make their plans a reality. After much research and information gathering there was a meeting held at the NC State Faculty Club, Raleigh, on July 24, 1986 with 31 people in attendance to form the association. Angell said he supported the formation of the association to promote a neighborhood type of relationship in bringing together farmers, businessmen and extension agents to deal with common issues to move the group forward. He was elected chair of the interim board of directors along with Phil McLain, Statesville, presently advisor to the board. …
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