News Roundup

News Roundup: June 17-23

By on June 23, 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.

Addressing rural hunger in Lenoir County,” Kinston Free Press: Across America, some 42 million people will not eat today. In North Carolina alone an estimated 10 million people do not know where their next meal is coming from, according to the Food Research and Action Center. Of those in N.C., a little more than 2 million – about one in five – are children.
“There is no community in America urban, suburban or rural that is immune to hunger,” Alexandra Ashbrook, director of special projects for FRAC said on Tuesday during a presentation at the Smithfield foods plant in Kinston. Speaking at that presentation, Steve Troxler, N.C. Agriculture Commissioner, said farmers and agriculture companies have a moral obligation to address hunger in America and North Carolina. “There’s really not a thing of supply – we are a large agriculture state, a diverse state – there’s a lot of food out here, but it doesn’t always get to the people that need the food,” Troxler said. …

“Troxler fires back after state audit criticizes milk inspections,”  North State Journal: N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler held a press conference Thursday blasting an audit from the state that accused the agency of slacking off on some milk producer inspections in the Grade A program. N.C. produces about a billion gallons of milk each year.
“I want to make it clear that we have a safe milk supply that is being inspected and regulated properly in North Carolina, and to draw any other conclusion is false,” Troxler said Thursday at the Department of Agriculture building in downtown Raleigh. …

“Nash corrals North Carolina sweet potato deal,” Southeast Produce Weekly: VIDEO: It’s one of the sweetest deals of the 21st Century, a real tragedy to triumph story. For decades, North Carolina farmers supported their families by growing tobacco. But as scientific evidence about smoking began to grow and skew the wrong way Americans started kicking the habit. Farmers being farmers, they started looking for something else to grow. As North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler recently told SPW, “I’m one of those tobacco farmers that came through the hard times of especially the ‘80s and ‘90s and if you’re bound and determined that you’re going to stay on the farm and you’re going to make a living you find a way to do it. We found out that sweet potatoes like to grow in the same dirt that tobacco did so we’re number 1 in the nation in production of sweet potatoes… So we took advantage of what was a disadvantage and we moved forward and we’re much stronger for that diversification.”

“NC State Ag Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “Shrinking Farmland,” Southern Farm Network: AUDIO: Mary: This is Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective. Today’s program looks at shrinking farmland. Mike, one thing that all of us must do is eat. But when I travel around North Carolina, it appears to me that the amount of land devoted to farming appears to be dropping. Am I correct, and if so, should I worry about where I’ll get my next meal? …

“Tyson launches new animal well-being initiative,” Southeast Farm Press: Tyson Foods has launched a broad, new animal well-being initiative that combines the latest technology with high-touch monitoring and training to improve the care of chickens. The company has implemented the U.S. meat industry’s most extensive third-party remote video auditing (RVA) system, is fielding what is believed to be the world’s largest team of animal well-being specialists and is introducing a pilot project for controlled atmosphere stunning (CAS) at two of its poultry facilities this year. …

“Farmers and Fathers: The Warren family of Sampson County is the real face of “Big Ag” North State Journal: When Blake and Matilda Warren purchased a plot of land outside of Clinton in the mid-1800s, they hoped it would help provide for their children. Four generations later, the Warren family is still prospering off the property their ancestors settled on, and then some.
Brandon Warren is just one of five descendants who currently works the land. “I just always knew what I wanted to do,” said Brandon. “As soon as I was old enough to go with my dad, I wanted to come see what he was doing and figure out how to do stuff. I just always had a desire to be a farmer.” Over 80% of North Carolina’s pork farms are owned and operated by individual farm families
Today, the Warrens farm 7,000 acres of row crops: corn, soy beans, wheat, cotton, sweet potatoes and tobacco, while also raising beef cows and hogs. With that much diversity and land, they have divided up their duties: Brandon’s uncle and cousin look after the sweet potatoes and tobacco, Brandon’s father and brother manage the grains and cotton, and Brandon rears the livestock.
Besides being a full-time farmer, Brandon has three young children: Cullen (9), Brady (8) and Caroline (2). …

“Person County farmers testing hemp as NC’s next cash crop,” WRAL: North Carolina farmers are a hardy bunch, always on the look out for a better, more profitable crop. In Person County this summer, they are experimenting with what could be the next big thing, and they are hoping for a bumper crop. Jay Foushee believes he has planted the state’s first commercial, industrial hemp.
“We call it Carolina Gold,” he said. Foushee, a fourth-generation farmer, put in 6,000 more hemp plants on Monday.

“Farming together changes father-son relationship,” News & Observer: Video – Jeff and Jonah Sykes, of Sykes Dairy Farm, discuss how their relationship is influenced by farming together in the rapidly-changing food production industry on Thursday, June 15, 2017, in Mebane, NC.

NC’s Commissioner Troxler talks labor, resources and ag future,” Southeast Produce Weekly: SPW Editor and Publisher Chip Carter and Video Producer Jenni Kight recently caught up with North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Steve Troxler, in his fourth term and himself a lifelong farmer, for a conversation about labor, the new administration and agriculture, the future of NC ag, and how the state overcame the loss of tobacco as a dominant crop and introduced new crops that have thrived mightily, like sweet potatoes.
The conversation went on for nearly an hour – we’ve distilled it to the best five minutes here. But if you’d like to see the whole piece, send us an email at info@southeastproduceweekly.com and we’ll hook you up. …

“How one Raleigh dad celebrates small farmers, teaches kids value of hard work,” WRAL: For more than two decades, Dan Moore had worked at his family business, RW Moore Equipment Co., rising to president back in 2003. At the same time, he and his wife started a family and operated a farm, launching tours in 2012 to those interested in learning more about farming. In 2015, he sold the family business – and ramped up his work on the farm, excited about the opportunity to be home more often with his family and teach his kids the value of hard work.
Today, the Moore family’s farm, Ninja Cow Farm, is growing. Just 15 minutes from Raleigh, the farm raises grass fed, grass finished cows and heritage and rare breed hogs. A farm store features and celebrates products from small farms across the region. I checked in with Dan to learn more about the farm, which is open for tours by appointment, and his work to support other small farms and help kids in the community.  …

“Cane Creek one of only four dairy farms left in Buncombe County,” WLOS: For National Dairy Month, here’s a behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes into maintaining a local dairy farm.
Tony Nesbitt, owner of Cane Creek Dairy Farm and Cane Creek Creamery in Fairview, has been farming all of his life. He says his grandfather bought the farm in 1904 and provided vegetables to Asheville restaurants. Nesbitt says his father began dairy farming in 1954 with 13 cows, which has now grown to more than 300 cows. …

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