News Roundup: July 29-Aug. 4

By on August 4, 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.

  • “Her goal is to connect farmers, food businesses to people with money to lend,” The News & Observer: As a child, Carol Peppe Hewitt often traveled with her father, a small-town veterinarian, to farms across rural Connecticut. It’s a treasured memory. By the time she left home for college, she says, most of those farms had been bought up by New Yorkers for second homes. When she moved to North Carolina, she watched more small farms give way to subdivisions. So when she heard about a way for local people to support farmers and other food businesses with small, direct loans, she was immediately interested. The “slow money” movement urges individuals to make small loans to socially responsible businesses instead of large-scale investing. Within weeks of meeting the movement’s founder in 2010, Hewitt and two friends had each made their first loans, and Slow Money NC was born. Since then, the organization has helped connect nearly 100 farmers, restaurateurs and other food business owners with lenders who have provided nearly $3 million in loans. …
  • “Tobacco manufacturers’ share prices slump second day after FDA news,” Winston-Salem Journal: Tobacco manufacturers’ share prices experienced another, though smaller, decline Monday as investors continue to absorb the potential impact of the latest round of proposed Food and Drug Administration regulations. British American Tobacco PLC’s share price tumbled 3.7 percent, or by $2.41, to close Monday at $62.52. It is down 10.5 percent from Thursday. Altria Group Inc.’s share price fell 2.9 percent, or by $1.97, to close at $64.97. It is off 12.1 percent from Thursday. Imperial Brands PLC, owner of ITG Brands of Greensboro, dropped 4.6 percent, or by $1.72, to close at $35.45. It is off 9.6 percent from Thursday. The FDA made clear Friday it will continue trying to limit, if not eliminate, flavorings in tobacco products even as it takes a more conservative approach on other regulatory goals. …
  • “Could shredded Styrofoam be in the beef you just bought?” The Charlotte Observer: A Lenoir company is recalling 4,922 pounds of ground chuck that might be contaminated with shredded pieces of Styrofoam packaging, federal officials said Tuesday night. JBS USA Inc. produced the beef on July 15, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. Being recalled are two-pound black Styrofoam plastic-wrapped trays containing ground beef labeled “Certified Angus Beef Ground Chuck 80% Lean 20% Fat” with the production date 7/15/17 and case code 541640. “EST. 34176” appears in the USDA mark of inspection. The beef was shipped to a distribution center in North Carolina for further distribution, the USDA said in a news release. …
  • “North Carolina seeing a few dicamba drift complaints,” Southeast Farm Press: As the month of July drew to a close, 13 official complaints of dicamba drift damage have been reported to the North Carolina of Agriculture and Consumer Services, but the number of official complaints could increase, which is why North Carolina State University is continuing to urge careful stewardship of the technology. Patrick Jones, deputy director of pesticide programs for NCDACS, says most of the cases are spread across eastern North Carolina with one case in Union County in western North Carolina. Official complaints have been filed in Beaufort, Hyde, Jones, Tyrrell, Union and Wilson Counties. Jones said there are eight tobacco cases, four soybean cases and one peanut case. “One tobacco grower in Jones County had four different fields with four different applicators so we filed four separate cases to handle it better,” he explained. “We took samples on each of the cases and we will wait until we get the samples back to see what they show. We had the inspectors to go through the labels and see what may have caused the drift, whether wind speed, time of day, air inversions or improper setup of the equipment or not leaving the buffer zones or whatever,” Jones noted. The department will examine each individual case and determine what needs to be done. Inspectors will determine if the applicator was at fault or if there was another cause for the drift damage. …
  • “Ag Institute is Partner in New Career Center at Fort Bragg,” CALS News Center: NC State University’s Agricultural Institute (AGI) participated in a recent dedication ceremony for Fort Bragg’s new Career Resource Center, where the institute’s Soldier to Agriculture Program is helping veterans interested in agricultural careers. The Career Resource Center — called “innovative,” “groundbreaking” and “unprecedented” — is designed to help veterans, current servicemen and -women, and their spouses transition from military to civilian life. More than 400 center supporters braved record-high temperatures on July 20 to be part of the dedication ceremony. Speaking before the formal ceremony, N.C. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Secretary Larry Hall said, “This center represents a lot of hard work by a lot of people … people in this room who have made commitments to support our veterans in transition.” AGI Director Elizabeth Wilson was among the partners present for the day’s events. The institute is NC State’s two-year academic program providing training for students who want to pursue careers in agriculture and related fields. Wilson stressed NC State’s commitment to providing agricultural training, noting that agriculture is the state’s top industry and employer, with the military following in second place. The Soldier to Agriculture Program is a five-week intensive program that covers agricultural topics from business to work in the fields, said AGI Veteran Liaison Robert Elliott. It is “the first program of its kind to provide agricultural training on a military base aimed primarily at the veterans we need to captivate and recruit into agriculture the most — the ones who are transitioning,” he said. …
  • “Young urban farmers look to take skills to the next level,” The (Winston-Salem) Chronicle: When Christopher Jeffords, an alumnus and Spanish teacher at Carver High School, heard about the Youth Urban Gardening program supported by United Way Place Matter initiative and the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension, he knew the program would be perfect for his alma mater. “I was running around asking everyone about the program and how we could bring it here,” smiled Jeffords. “That’s when I got in contact with Julie and she has been helping us ever since.” Julie Hale serves as the youth and community gardens coordinator for the Forsyth County Cooperative Extension, an outreach arm of the College of Agriculture and Life Science at N.C. State University and the School of Agriculture at N.C. A&T State University. Under the watchful eye of Jeffords, Hale and several community volunteers, in just a few months students from Carver have turned barren land into a top-notch garden complete with everything from cherry tomatoes to fresh basil. Since early spring students have worked two days per week after school and “part-days” on Saturdays to maintain the garden located behind the school on Carver School Road, and the Carl H. Russell Community Center. According to Hale, during the paid internship students learned to grow and market fresh produce, how to cook healthy meals, and participate in workshops that develop life skills. …
  • “Blackland Farm Managers Field Day,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) Tyrrell County was the host of this year’s annual Blacklands Farm Managers Field Day on Wednesday. NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler was in attendance, and talked about the region’s agriculture: “This is a well kept secret, not only in North Carolina, but in the whole United States. This is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the whole country.” Corn and cotton are a just a couple of staples, but they really have the capability to grow anything. “Well, there is. I’ve seen tremendous soybeans riding in here, they have the capability to grow anything. So, we continue to expand the opportunities for North Carolina farmers.” They have actually had a very good year here this year, for the opposite reason that a lot of other parts of the state have had; they’ve had less rain than they’ve had in the last two or three years. “Well, they have. I’ve been down here many, many times and seen beautiful crops, and then a hurricane or tropical storm come through and destroy them. So, as much as I see here, it’s always tempered in my mind that Mother Nature is being kind right now, and could be really, really ugly later.” …
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