News Roundup: Jan. 20-26

By on January 26, 2018

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.

  • “10 factors that will shape rural communities,” Southeast Farm Press: Expect strong U.S. consumer confidence, an expanding global economy and persistent economic recovery in many rural areas, but temper that optimism with another year of on-farm belt tightening due to lingering financial stress from low commodity prices, says a wide-ranging 2018 outlook report, “The Year Ahead: Forces that will Shape the U.S. Rural Economy in 2018,” from CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “The rural economy is uniquely impacted by what happens in Washington, the broader U.S. economy and around the world,” says Dan Kowalski, vice president of CoBank’s Knowledge Exchange Division. “In the coming year, rural America will rise with the broader economic tide, but it will also contend with persistent barriers to prosperity.” …
  • “Fullsteam Brewery, Escazu Chocolates, Boxcarr Cheese, Fiddlehead Farm Among N.C. Winners of 2018 Good Food Awards,” Indy Week:  Our local food products continue to gain national acclaim, to the delight of tastebuds everywhere. A few Triangle favorites were honored with Good Food Awards this weekend in San Francisco. Fullsteam Brewery, which won in 2013 and 2016, won again this year for three distinct beers from its Farm’s Edge series. Each beer offers a direct connection to local ingredients. As described by the brewery, they are:
  • “The importance of animal waste analyzation for proper crop application,” Sampson Independent: Animal manure provides essential crop nutrients, but it is important that the manure is properly analyzed so a farmer knows exactly what they are applying to their land and crops. When using best management practices, animal manure is an extremely valuable resource that will help produce a great crop yield. For the swine farmer, NC law requires waste analyzation by a qualified laboratory within 60 days of any land application. Soil analyzation is required every three years for spray fields. Fertilizing without current waste sample results is simply a guessing game and risks under or over-applying the fertilizer resource. Knowing the current nutrient content of animal waste and matching that to the nutrient needs of the receiving crop will produce a good crop yield and pose no detrimental effects to the environment. …
  • “WEATHINGTON: OPPORTUNITIES FOR NC SMALL GRAINS,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) Dan Weathington, Executive Director for the NC Small Grain Growers Association, sees a bright future for Tar Heel producers. At the recent NC Commodities Conference, Weathington told SFN one of the association’s initiatives is encouraging the production of high quality wheat. He says there are two steps every farmer should take when managing his or her crop. Weathington also sees potential as craft brewers continue to grow across North Carolina. As always, Weathington is the consummate salesman.
  • ‘Fitbit for pigs’ makes Iowan ‘Entrepreneur of the Year,’ Southeast Farm Press: It’s the third time in four years an Iowa entrepreneur has won the contest. The SwineTech team, led by Rooda and Espinoza, beat three other finalists from across the nation. Their startup business took home a total of $30,000 in prize money, including $15,000 from sponsor John Deere. Over 450 applicants entered the contest. SwineTech uses technology to monitor sows to reduce piglet mortalities in farrowing facilities. The Iowa Farm Bureau mentored the entrepreneurs, who presented their business model in front of a live audience and judges on stage in the IDEAg Trade Show at the recent AFBF convention. SwineTech, based in Cedar Rapids, designed the device that listens for the distressed squeals of piglets in danger of getting squished. Then it delivers a vibration to get the mother sow moving. In recent months, SwineTech has worked on improving and redesigning the technology. …
  • “THE LAND GRANT UNIVERSITY ROLE IN AG BIODEFENSE,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) What are some of the ways the land grant university system helps to protect our nation’s food supply from bio threats? Rod Bain reports for SFN…
  • “North Carolina Farmers Named 2018 Top Producer Of The Year Winners,” Farm Journal: Frank Howey is a modern-day renaissance man. His expertise spans agronomy, business, real estate, conservation and technology. From the time he could walk, Frank helped his father on their family farm in Monroe, N.C. At 13 years old, he bought a small greenhouse to grow plants and sell them to his local co-op. At 16, he leased his first 10 acres and grew soybeans. At 18, he purchased his first farm. “Of course I didn’t have much cash. I gave them the cash I had saved up from farming, and the owner financed it,” Howey says. Frank and his business partner and wife, Alison, have stayed on that business-minded path. Today, Frank Howey Family Farms spans more than 30,000 acres across two states. The operation produces corn, soybeans and wheat. It also includes a Red Angus cattle herd, timber acres and a citrus farm in Florida. Hunting leases, rental properties and nearly 1,000 acres of solar projects round out this diversified business. …
  • “He cut a wide swath when tobacco was king. Now, colorful auctioneer gets posthumous tribute.” The News & Observer: In the age of cigarettes, when every Waffle House table had an ashtray and every employee lounge held a smoke cloud, tobacco so dominated North Carolina’s culture that the men who auctioned it became national celebrities. If they were good, they stalked through warehouses from here to Florida, hawking bales of golden leaf in a voice that was part game-show host and part accountant, spitting out a mantra of dollars and cents faster than a machine gun. And by most accounts, the greatest of all came from tiny Louisburg in Franklin County – a tenant farmer’s boy named Percy W. Joyner. He once sold 1.03 million pounds of tobacco in a single day – believed to be a record after more than half a century. And with that feat in mind, the town recently placed a stone on a prominent Main Street intersection known as Boddie’s Corner, the site of a bygone drug store but more importantly a tribute to a legendary comment made on national radio by their famous auctioneer: …
  • “Hall named chair of agriculture committee,” Rockingham Now: House Speaker Tim Moore has appointed Representative Kyle Hall (R-Stokes) chairman of the Agriculture and Forestry Awareness Study Commission. Hall announced the designation in a press release Wednesday afternoon. The commission, which is a non-standing committee, is a mixture of senators and representatives, ex officio members and public appointees. The group studies the current state of agriculture and forestry, while creating new plans and initiatives that help alleviate problems that limit growth and development in both industries. “North Carolina would be nowhere without our farmers,” said Hall, who represents all of Stokes County. District 91 also consists of six of the 15 precincts that make up Rockingham County. It covers all of Madison, Mayodan, Stoneville and part of Reidsville. …
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