News Roundup

News Roundup: Jan. 27 – Feb. 2

By on February 2, 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.

  • “If record yields didn’t make profits in 2017, how might 2018?” Southeast Farm Press: How did the 2017 crop year turn out? That is one of the questions I ask as we start in earnest planning for 2018.
    On the average, Tennessee had a great year yield wise. New state records were set for corn at 171 bushels per acre and soybeans at 50 bushels per acre. Cotton also came in at the third-highest yield on record at 1,031 pounds per acre. This is also representative of producer’s individual yields, as most farmers have also had very good yields. …
  • “RIDING THE RISING HEMP TIDE,” Southern Farm Network: North and South Carolina are among the 28 states that have approved legislation for growing hemp for research projects and studies. Tony Finch is a Certified Hemp Master Grower in Spring Hope, NC, and told the Uptick Newswire that hemp is proving to be much more profitable than his traditional crop, tobacco…
    Finch says that he’s found that the transition from tobacco to industrial hemp is a natural one…In addition, Finch says the growing conditions in the Southeast are well suited for the up-and-coming crop…
    Finch believes that the manufacturing side of industry will be able to develop rapidly, encouraging the expansion of the industrial hemp movement around the country. …
  • “Female farmers have a big role in Piedmont, will gather to help sustain each other,” Greensboro News & Record: Women make up one of the fastest-growing demographics in agriculture. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 40,000 women are farming in the Piedmont region and Virginia. And in late February, many won’t be down on the farm but instead in Winston-Salem at the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service Center for a conference. It’s hosted by Piedmont Women in Agriculture, a loose-knit group whose mission is to promote and foster female farmers. “I think it will be an incredible event,” said Rita Gail Cruise, who is helping organize the conference. …
  • “Saving the family farm through agritourism,” Richmond County Daily Journal: The NCSU Extension report, “North Carolina Women’s Success in Agritourism: Turning Challenges into Opportunities,” can be found online at: https://content.ces.ncsu.edu/north-carolina-womens-success-in-agritourism. Agritourism is becoming a popular way to supplement agricultural income and stimulate rural economies in the United States and in North Carolina. Types of agritourism could be on-farm visits and “farm stays,” educational field trips to farms, roadside produce stands, pick-your-own crops and more. These experiences help bring additional income to the farm and also help our population become better acquainted with how food is produced. Some farms try agritourism and it becomes a major sources of income. I recently visited the Aceto Family on a study tour of southern Italy, who have been growing lemons on mountain terraces in Amalfi for many generations. They shared with us that a majority of the income from the farm now comes from agritourism, through a tour they call the Amalfi Lemon Experience and a shop that they market their homemade limoncello. Because of agritourism, they have been able to stay in business and secure the future of their family farm. …
  • “Shark Tank funded produce box debuts in the Triangle,” WRAL: A produce box that earned the attention of an investor on the reality show “Shark Tank” has launched in the Triangle. Hungry Harvest takes produce that is rejected by grocery stores and provides the food via its delivery service. An estimated 20 percent of produce delivered to grocery stores is rejected for various reasons – too big, too small, odd shaped, unattractive, there is already a large supply of the product at the store, etc. The produce is fine to eat, but would normally just be thrown away. That is where Hungry Harvest comes in. The company has deals with grocers to get the rejected produce. CEO Evan Lutz came up with the idea when he was a senior at the University of Maryland. After hearing a lecture from a local farmer about surplus produce, Lutz decided to purchase the food at a discounted rate and see if he could sell it in his dorm’s basement. The makeshift farmer’s market caught on.
  • “NC’s small farms face host of challenges,” Wilmington Star News: Those trying to start the kind of small farms that make up the majority of the state’s facilities may have trouble breaking in, industry officials said Friday at a Wilmington event. Annette Dunlap, a N.C. Department of Agriculture agribusiness developer, told the roughly 30 people assembled at New Hanover County’s Cooperative Extension Office that when her family was trying to start a cattle farm, there was only one lender willing to finance it — in large part because of the risk associated with farming. “The people that feed us take the biggest risks every single day because we don’t back them up and underpin them the way we underpin every other industry in this entire country,” Dunlap said. Small farmers who want to farm new products or innovate may not be offered the same access to loans or other capital as larger farmers, said panelists at the event hosted by Self-Help Credit Union. “If they want to grow corn or soybeans, that’s one thing. But what if they want to do sustainably raised seafood? What if they want to do organic produce? They may not be able to get a line of capital that a large scale producer can,” said Steve Saltzman, Self-Help’s director of healthy food system finance. …
  • “10 things to know about dicamba,” Southeast Farm Press: In Nebraska, about 500,000 acres were planted in 2017 to dicamba tolerant soybeans, and more acres will most likely be planted to these new weed control systems this spring. By the first week of July, however, issues of off-target injury to non-DT soybeans began to be observed across the state. By the end of the year, Nebraska Extension fielded almost 350 dicamba off-target related injury complaints on more than 50,000 acres of non-DT soybeans, mostly in the eastern half of the state. Nebraska Department of Agriculture received about 90 off-target complaints in 2017. And these numbers pale in comparison to the number of complaints in states like Missouri and Arkansas. …
  • “Black Creek tree farmer receives posthumous honor,” Wilson Times: Ruth Underwood Campbell was recognized posthumously as the Wilson County Tree Farmer of the Year on Jan. 16. The award was presented by Brandon Webb, North Carolina Forest Service ranger for Wilson County, at the annual forestry banquet held jointly with the forest service, the Wilson County Forestry Association and Wilson County’s North Carolina Cooperative Extension office at the Wilson County Agricultural Center. About 50 people attended. “I know she would be honored,” said daughter Betsy Eatmon, who accepted the award on behalf of her late mother along with her brother, Robert Campbell. Ruth Underwood Campbell passed on Jan. 15, 2015, two weeks shy of her 98th birthday. After the death of her husband, Roy Campbell Sr. in 1974, the Black Creek widow took on the task of managing a 187-acre tree farm on her own. Underwood’s goal was sustainable forest management and she followed all clearcut harvests with reforestation in an effort to maximize the forest’s future timber growth potential. “She did not rush into anything and took her time gathering information and making informed forestry management decisions,” said Webb. According to Webb, it is rare that a woman is recognized as the county’s Tree Farmer of the Year. “The farms that she managed and her children now manage would qualify for the Century Farm designation since they have been in the Campbell family for over 100 years,” Webb said. …
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