News Roundup: Nov. 4-9

By on November 9, 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.

  • “CRISIS TEXT ALERT SYSTEM AVAILABLE FOR PORK PRODUCERS,” Southern Farm Network: The Pork Checkoff has created a text-alert system for pork producers. Pork Checkoff assistant vice president of communications Cindy Cunningham says this system notifies pig farmers when a foreign animal disease or major crisis in the U.S. pork industry…
    “That text alert system is much like the school systems use to notify of bad weather or if there’s a situation at the school. It is a text that pork producers who have signed up for this service will receive on their phone. This text isn’t going to be communicating information about the Pork Checkoff or anything like that, it’s going to be used solely in the purpose of a red-level crisis, so a foreign animal disease or serious crisis in the pork industry. “The purpose of notifying pork producers via text of a situation in the pork industry is so that they can understand what the situation is, and know what immediate actions to take on their farms to be prepared and deal with the situation and hopefully not have to deal with the situation specifically on their farm.”
    It is easy to enroll in the Pork Checkoff’s text alert system… …
  • “Foothills Pilot Plant now shut down,” McDowell News: More than five years after it first opened, the Foothills Pilot Plant in McDowell County is no longer in operation. And this leaves many regional farmers in need of another place to take their poultry, rabbits and other small animals so they can be turned into packaged, USDA-approved meat.
    Located at 135 Ag Services Drive off of N.C. 226 South, the Foothills Pilot Plant opened in January 2012. It was the first community-administered, non-profit meat processing plant in the entire nation also inspected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Since its opening, the Foothills Pilot Plant operated as the only facility of this type serving independent and small poultry and meat growers in the Southern Appalachians. This unique and innovative plant then began to see more business with growers from as far away as Georgia, Tennessee and Virginia than from the surrounding area. …
  • “Hurricanes may hurt local food banks,” Mt Airy News: Area food banks could be facing a reduction in supplies of food in the coming weeks due to emergency need resulting from the severity of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, and resources being diverted to meet the need caused by those storms.
    Government officials and food bank directors offer conflicting information on the possibility of disruption to the supply of emergency food delivered through The Emergency Food Assistance Program (known as TEFAP). That agency buys food from farmers and then distributes it through various programs, including school lunches and emergency food to food banks.
    Gary Gay, director of NC Department of Agriculture Food Distribution Division, said the food products supplied by TEFAP are distributed to schools and food banks in all 100 counties of North Carolina. …
  • “Everything Hemp grand opening Nov. 9 in new location,” Asheboro Courier Tribune: Hemp is a versatile plant and Bob Crumley, owner of Founder’s Hemp, will eagerly explain to those curious about its history and uses. Crumley, who chairs the N.C. Hemp Association, spent years working to legalize the industrial crop, which up until this year had not been grown in North Carolina since 1937. In July, Founder’s Hemp opened its first retail store, Everything Hemp, which has since moved into a more permanent location at 405 E. Dixie Drive in the Shoppes on Dixie. “We look forward to having better visibility at this location, being right on U.S. 64,” Director of Retail Jaide Roberts, who also serves as store manager, said.
    The new location offers 1,400 square feet of retail space and another 1,000 square feet for storage and offices. After moving from a space that offered a combined retail, storage and office space of 1,000 square feet, Roberts is thrilled with the larger showroom. The store will now be able to expand clothing and home accessories as well as other hemp product lines to better meet customer needs. The new location also has fitting rooms, which complements plans to offer more clothing selections. …
  • “CSX plans for a major rail hub in Rocky Mount are now in doubt,” The News & Observer: A major rail transportation center planned for Rocky Mount is now in doubt, due to a reassessment the company is doing of its traditional hub-and-spoke strategy. The $272 million CSX railroad project was announced in July 2016. It was originally going to be in Johnston County, but opposition from landowners and an attractive proposal assembled by Rocky Mount economic development officials lured it away. CSX was to receive $122 million in state financial incentives.
    On Thursday, the trade publication Trains quoted unnamed sources saying the company had decided not to build in Rocky Mount due to a companywide strategic shift. …
  • “SOYBEAN FARMERS WAITING ON KILLING FROST TO HARVEST,” Southern Farm Network: In the latest Crop Progress report released by USDA for conditions through Sunday, November 5th, there were six days suitable for fieldwork across the state, slightly more than the previous week. Hugh Gray with Allendale County reports that a cold rain and strong winds crossed Hampton and Allenedale Counties during the week, which stalled most fieldwork until Tuesday. Harvest continued on Tuesday, and went on uninterrupted through the rest of the week. Wheat planting continues at a slow pace. Mark Nettles with Orangeburg County reports good weather conditions allowed harvest to continue, in absence of a killing frost, soybean plants are still green, and most producers are waiting to cut beans. Warm Weather Slowing Soybean Harvest in Some Areas of North Carolina. This week there were almost 6 day suitable for field work across North Carolina, about the same as the previous week as reported in the weekly Crop Progress report released by USDA for conditions through Sunday, November 5th . Charles Mitchell with Franklin County Extension reports that over half of the small grain crop has been plant, and soybeans are being harvested at a rapid clip, with yield coming in close to 50 bu/a. Mike Carroll with Craven County Extension reports that the continued warm weather and high humidity is delaying soybean harvest in that area. The outlook for wheat production is low, and many producers not planning on planting winter grains. …
  • “Trump’s in China, expect announcement of business deals,” Southeast Farm Press: The White House expects to announce upwards of $250 billion in business deals in China this week, an administration official said — exactly the sort of U.S. jobs-based diplomacy that President Donald Trump likes to deliver when traveling abroad. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross boasted of that number in a meeting with chief executives in China on Wednesday, but offered few details, according to two people who attended the meeting. A U.S. official confirmed the amount.
    Earlier in the day, Ross announced $9 billion in deals involving about 20 companies, with energy and industrial businesses featured prominently. They included industrial giants such as DowDuPont Inc, Honeywell International Inc., General Electric Co. and Bell Helicopter. Many of the agreements involved existing Chinese partners. “Addressing the imbalance in China trade has been the central focus of collaborative discussions between President Trump and President Xi,” Ross said before a signing ceremony in Beijing. “Achieving fair and reciprocal treatment for the companies is a shared objective.”
  • “U.S. agriculture struggling as White House, Congress fail to address critical ag issues,” Southeast Farm Press: In spite of what seemed to be attractive promises to rural voters last year leading up to the general elections, U.S. agriculture has so far seen little positive development to help them as they struggle to put food, not only in the nation’s pantry, but also on their own tables. That’s according to a magazine article published last week by an Ivy League University. The article charges commodity prices are low, trade deals are increasingly at risk, and the Trump Administration and Congress both have failed to pass any meaningful legislation to help farmers and ranchers deal with the increasing difficulty of keeping their operations above the rising challenges of the 21st century.
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