News Roundup: Feb. 24 – March 2

By on March 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.

  • “Wheat growers respond to Trump’s tariffs,” Southeast Farm Press: U.S. Wheat Associates and the National Association of Wheat Growers concerned about risks of retaliation. If the United States is taken to dispute settlement at the World Trade Organization for imposing these tariffs, we call on the U.S. Trade Representative to avoid invoking the essential security exception under GATT Article XXI. The recent Department of Defense memorandum made it clear that imported steel and aluminum did not threaten its ability to acquire enough from domestic suppliers to meet its needs. The USTR should not take the extraordinary step of invoking Article XXI to defend what we believe is protectionism. …
  • “AG TOPICS ON NAFTA SCHEDULE IN MEXICO CITY,” Southern Farm Network: The numbers don’t lie when you look at how good NAFTA has been for America’s farmers and ranchers. Before the agreement took effect, America sold $8.9 billion a year in agriculture goods to both Canada and Mexico. Now, exports have increased to $39 billion last year alone. American Farm Bureau Federation Senior Director of Congressional Relations Dave Salmonsen says agriculture has a lot to look forward to with a modernized NAFTA, as the trade agreement’s negotiations continue in Mexico City this week.
    Besides food safety, Salmonsen explains that many other topics important to agriculture are up for discussion. With negotiations underway, Salmonsen says it is important to remember that NAFTA is paramount to the success of not only U.S. agriculture, but other industries and future trade partnerships. That’s AFBF Senior Director of Congressional Relations Dave Salmonsen.
  • “Farmers concerned about crops as cooler temps move in for the weekend,” WRAL: The unusually cold January followed by many days of spring-like weather in February may have caused some plants to bloom too soon.  Ben Williams and his family have been growing peaches in Moore County for more than 30 years. They have thousands of trees spread out over nearly 40 acres.  Right now, their trees are blooming like it is mid-March, but if the cold weather returns, the plants are in jeopardy. To help, they have installed four giant windmills to keep warmer air running over the trees in the event of a frost.
  • “Cooler weather brings relief for apple growers,” Hendersonville Times-News: Recent warm weather that followed plenty of cold means some of Henderson County’s apple trees are on the move. With months still to go and lingering threats of cold temperatures, there’s a chance those apples may be especially vulnerable to a late frost, though growers aren’t too concerned — yet. Apple grower Kenny Barnwell says it’s been about an every-other-year thing lately that growers have been hurt by the weather. While things are looking good now, May is a long way off. “We’ve got a couple of real early blooming varieties that I saw a little bit of green on,” he said, which is not a good sign for February. But cool weather Tuesday morning and a forecast for a cool weekend are good signs. If temperatures can cool off, “we’ll be OK,” Barnwell said, but “if we had another four or five days of 60-degree nights, it could’ve gotten real ugly.” Steve Pettis, with the Henderson County Cooperative Extension office, said apples are in good shape. A lot of ornamental trees that have already started blooming, however, such as cherries and deciduous magnolias, could suffer this weekend when temperatures are expected to dip back into the low 30s. Barnwell noted that plum trees are basically in bloom, and he’s afraid the county may be short on plums, and perhaps peaches as well. “But as for the apples, I think we’re in decent shape.”
  • “THE FORECAST FOR THE US MEAT SECTOR IN 2018,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) If USDA forecasts hold up for this year, US meat producers should expect increases in several categories. Rod Bain reports.
  • “Evans family avoids dicamba problems, and this is how and why they do,” Southeast Farm Press: Keith Evans and his son Jonathan successfully used dicamba on their Nash County, N.C. farm last year and will use it again this year. Keith Evans and his son Jonathan used dicamba on their farm last year. They saw no drift incidents and received no complaints from neighbors. Both father and son are sold on the technology and are using it again this year. They don’t want to lose the new dicamba formulations, but are worried they might if drift damage is an issue at all this year. “The federal label runs out in December 2018. If we have the same problem we had last year, the EPA will not renew the label,” said Jonathan Both Keith and Jonathan, who farm in Nash County, agree that the technology must be carefully managed to avoid drift. “You have to follow the label and you have to be smart,” Keith said. …
  • “Innovative Young Farmer Award presented,” Sampson Independent: The Farm Credit Associations of NC announce Justin and Holly Miller as the recipients of the 2018 Innovative Farmer of the Year Award presented at The Tobacco Farm Life Museum’s breakfast with the commissioner. Justin and Holly both grew up on family farms, and Justin continued to farm traditional row crops until about six years ago when the couple began looking for ways to transition to more lucrative horticultural crops. The couple owns and operates Cherry Hill Farm in Advance where they grow soybeans, small grains, strawberries, summer and winter squash, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, lettuces, cabbage, broccoli, kale, green beans, and sweet corn. “In the last six years, we’ve taken a 5th generation family farm that has not been used for anything other than grazing cattle and small grain production for the past two generations and transitioned it into a profitable produce farm. Significant expansion has occurred in the past two years, and we have a great opportunity to continue that growth.” – Justin Miller …
  • “Farmers concerned about crop prices,” The Daily Advance: Weather conditions for last week’s Northeast Ag Expo Small Grains Field Day were dreary, forcing cancellation of scheduled visits to the host farm’s wheat fields. But the drizzly and foggy conditions at times seemed downright sunny in comparison to the current outlook for crop prices, labor supply and the regulatory environment for area growers. Paul Askew, who farms 2,500 acres of corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat in the Gatesville area, said he has a number of concerns as this year’s growing season approaches. “I’m not making good money in any crop right now,” Askew said prior to the start of the Small Grains Field Day held Wednesday at the Cherry Hill Farms, just off N.C. Highway 343 in Camden County. …
  • “NC Catch Summit March 12-13 in Southport,” Coastal Review: Learn about the state’s fisheries and economic opportunities for the seafood industry during the seventh annual NC Catch Summit: Sustaining Local Fishing Communities March 12-13. Hosted this year by Brunswick Catch, the summit, to be held at the Southport Community Center, includes tours, educational sessions, live demonstrations, speakers, a new fish film viewing and meals that feature local seafood prepared by local chefs. The summit begins with tours the afternoon of March 12 and wraps up at 3 p.m. the following day, March 13. Speaker topics include fisheries management, opportunities for the future of the state’s fish, successful seafood operations and a viewing of a new, short-format documentary about underutilized fish species. Live demonstrations include processing shrimp, filleting fish, oyster shucking and preparation. …
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