News Roundup

News Roundup: Sept. 9-15

By on September 15, 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.

  • “Irma Could Devastate Expected Record Peanut Crop,” Southeast Farm Press: At this year’s field day held Sept. 8 at the Peanut Belt Research Station in Lewiston-Woodville, N.C., concern about Hurricane Irma was first and foremost on the agenda because both the Southeast and the United States as a whole are on track to produce a record peanut crop. In comments at the field day, Dell Cotton, manager of the Peanut Growers Cooperative Marketing Association in Franklin, Va., said the U.S. is projected to produce 3.7 million tons of peanuts this year, which would be the biggest U.S. crop ever. Demand is estimated at 3.1 million tons, 600,000 tons less than supply. “This level of production could easily lead to once again some peanuts being forfeited. We haven’t seen that tin a couple of years. But if we make the crop that’s expected that could happen again,” Cotton said at the field day. “Anytime that happens that tends to affect next year’s contract price. The last time this happen China stepped in and bought a lot of those peanuts that had been forfeited. Let’s hope if we have the forfeitures that China would step in and buy them again but that depends on price or whether they need them or not. Time will tell.” Cotton said Hurricane Irma is still the big question mark when it comes to the peanut crop in the Southeast. The Southeast is still the largest peanut producing region in the U.S. and was on track to produce its largest crop ever before the storm. There is concern that Hurricane Irma will severely impact the peanut crop in Georgia, Florida and Alabama. U.S. peanut acreage in 2017 is pegged at 1,815,000 acres, the highest in recent memory, Cotton said. …
  • “Orchard owners report minor to moderate damage after Irma,” Hendersonville Times: Local orchard owners are dealing with moderate damage to trees and apples after Hurricane Irma.
    Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard in Hendersonville remained open for regular business hours Tuesday, and owner Mike Stepp says damage from the storm wasn’t major.
    The storm did cause some damage to trees and blew apples to the ground as well, but only two trees were blown completely over. Stepp classified that damage as minor to moderate.
  • “Nash farmer named to state board,” Rocky Mount Telegram: A Nash County farmer is one of 28 people recently appointed to state boards and commissions by Gov. Roy Cooper. Scott A. Tyson of Nashville was appointed to serve on the 12-member N.C. State Board of Agriculture. “My family and I have been involved in farming all our lives through multiple generations, and we have been big supporters of the governor his whole career,” Tyson said. “I really appreciate his confidence in choosing me.” In addition to Tyson, Jose Calderon of Wake County also was appointed on the board. Calderon, who brings immense marketing experience, has served as a sales manager for Farm Pak Products in Spring Hope for more than 10 years. He was the N.C. Department of Agriculture exporter of the year in 2009. …
  • “Disposing of Pesticides the Right Way,” North Carolina Health News: For most people in farming with a bulging to-do list, rain is a disruptor. Not for Walter Adams this week in Lenoir County, where he hosted a pesticide drop-off event. Farmers and others were urged to bring unneeded pesticides, herbicides and fungicides to a spot in South Kinston. People expert at safely disposing of the chemicals took them off their hands for free, no questions asked. Rain it turns out is good for such business. Adams and his team collected 8,629 lbs of unwanted chemicals, beating a 2005 record of 6,014 pounds in the same county. “In the rain, farmers can’t get out to the fields,” said Adams, an agriculture and natural resources technician with North Carolina Cooperative Extension. “It’s a good day to clean out the farm shed.” Federal figures published in 2014 are dated, but they show that U.S. farmers used 516 million pounds of pesticides in 2008, a decrease from 632 million pounds in 1981. The decline is attributed to the more efficient use of chemical agents, integrated pest management practices that deploy more than chemicals against insects and critters, and expanded use of genetically engineered crops resistant to some pests. Nonetheless, farmers often find themselves with potentially toxic products they will never use shelved and stacked in storage sheds. In 1980, North Carolina was first to launch a statewide pesticide disposal assistance program to divert such compounds from where they are not permitted, including sanitary landfills, private land or waterways. The Pesticide Disposal Assistance Program has disposed of close to three million pounds of pesticides since it started, said J. Derrick Bell, who leads the program within the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services program. This diversion is vital because some pesticides, in the right concentrations, can be harmful to people and wildlife when released into the environment. …
  • “Henderson County’s first commercial winery, Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards wins two of three Best of Show awards,” Mountain Xpress: Henderson County’s first commercial winery, Saint Paul Mountain Vineyards, recently won two of three Best of Show awards presented at the 2017 N.C. State Fair Wine Competition. The family-owned winery won the Best of Show award in the bunch grape category for its Laurel Hill semi-dry Vidal Blanc blend and the Best of Show award in the fruit/honey category for its Chestnut Gap Cottage dry blackberry wine. The Old North State Winery in Mt. Airy won the Best of Show award in the muscadine category. In addition to the Best of Show medals, St Paul wines won 12 other medals — one double gold, six silver and five bronze — in the N.C. State Fair Wine Competition. …
  • “Apple of your eye: Fall brings apple picking, cider in WNC,” Asheville Citizen-Times: You can see it on restaurant menus, on local taps and in bottle shops: Cider is staging a major coup for drinkers’ attention. While it may not ever eclipse Asheville’s beer scene, hard cider is booming locally, and few other cider makers are more suited to demonstrate its growth than the folks at Noble Cider. Noble made its first sale in 2013, producing about 2,000 gallons of cider that year. This year, Noble is on track to produce 80,000 gallons of its golden (and sometimes cherry-red) elixir, sold out of its Leicester taproom and even on the shelves of the local Target.
  • “Farmworker labor group votes to boycott Vuse,” Winston-Salem Journal: A farmworker labor group often at odds with Reynolds American Inc. voted unanimously Saturday to conduct a national boycott of the company’s Vuse, the top-selling electronic cigarette. As of August, Vuse’s top market share was 29.8 percent, sold at more than 111,000 U.S. retail outlets.
    Catherine Crowe, a spokeswoman for the Farm Labor Organizing Committee of FLOC, said the potential boycott of Vuse is designed to dent Reynolds’ revenue stream since “it is a fairly new product and market for Reynolds.” …

 

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