News Roundup

News Roundup: March 3 – 9

By on March 9, 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.

  • “NORTH CAROLINA THE “HEMP EPICENTER”; JIM DUNPHY HONORED,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) Spring Hope-based Hemp, Inc. says the company is set to grow up to 25,000 acres of industrial hemp this year, thus making North Carolina the “Epicenter of the Industrial Hemp Industry”. According to Hemp, Inc. representatives, the 25,000 acres to be grown are more than what the entire country grew last year alone. The large amount of acreage is expected to improve farmer profitability as well as boost the overall economy by opening up new revenue streams in the marketplace for buyers and farmers seeking higher quality products. …
  • “$89 million available to support specialty crop growers,” Southeast Farm Press: USDA will provide webinars on grant programs later this month.
    Nearly $89 million is available from USDA to support specialty crop growers, strengthen local and regional food systems, and explore new market opportunities for farmers and ranchers.  The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program enhances the competitiveness of U.S. grown specialty crops, including fruits, vegetables, dried fruit, tree nuts, horticulture and nursery crops, including floriculture. Over $72 million in block grants will be awarded to state departments of agriculture, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • “SAFETY ON THE FARM,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) There’s no question that days on the farm can get extremely busy. Shawn Warkenthien, Bobcat Director of Product Safety, says even though farmers likely know every inch of their farm, it’s important to recognize hazards around the operation…
    Warkenthien says a fast-paced working environment is no excuse for taking safety risks. Keep machines properly maintained, and always use approved attachments. Don’t ever try to modify the machines. He says maintenance on the machines should be done daily and always follow the service schedule provided by the manufacturer…
    When showing someone how to use the machine, he says it’s important to remember the basics…
  • “Uncorked: Wine conferences, wine fun facts, wine in a can and more,” Greensboro News & Record: Bank right. Flank right. 70 Wham on Four.
    This is my wine label and recipe for my personal Bordeaux blend at the Trinchero Family Estate Build-Your-Own-Bordeaux event at Proximity Hotel.
    I tell my wife: “Mine is Super Bowl-themed. You know, a quarterback’s signals at the line?” My blend is 70 percent Merlot, 20 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 5 percent Malbec, and 5 percent Petit Verdot — styled after Right Bank Bordeaux. I’m chasing a softer side of red. My blend joins the scrap heap of other blends. The winner is 80 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 percent Petit Verdot, and 10 percent Malbec, with nary a trace of Merlot. Those wine judges must love a tannic monster. No matter. It’s all good.
    Our particular dinner table conversations grew increasingly animated with each wine served at the eighth annual blending event hosted by Quaintance-Weaver Restaurants & Hotels. Here’s hoping for a ninth next year. At last month’s N.C. Winegrower’s Association annual conference in Winston-Salem, the growth of the industry was evident. The ballroom and break-out sessions were standing-room only. …
  • “Trump signs steel, aluminum tariffs, but allows for exclusions,” Southeast Farm Press: Trump allowance for exclusions raises questions about whether the tariffs will have the intended effect of shoring up the domestic steel and aluminum industry. As expected, Trump slapped a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% on aluminum on Thursday. But he showed more leniency than initially thought. The U.S. excluded Mexico and Canada, a concession that will remain in place as long as they reach agreement on a new North American Free Trade Agreement that meets U.S. satisfaction. …
  • “New Bern conference details a new way to farm,” New Bern Sun Journal: Swansboro resident Gloria Sanders owns about 400 acres of family farmland. “We lease the farm and we don’t get enough money to pay the taxes,” she said. So that’s what brought her out to the 30th annual N.C. Aquaculture Development Conference Wednesday in New Bern. She’s exploring new ways to put the land to good use, and aquaculture just may be the solution. “I’m looking for something that will honor the traditional family farming but that’s also currently viable,” she said. “I think this might be something cool we could try.” The conference kicked off Wednesday at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center. The four-day event runs through Saturday and features workshops, seminars and farm tours for aquaculture enthusiasts across the Southeast. …
  • “Hello Fresh, Blue Apron seen as markets for Carolina agriculture,”Southeast Farm Press: The growing interest in culinary culture with such meal-preparation services as Blue Apron and Hello Fresh present a great market opportunity for North Carolina farmers, says North Carolina State University agricultural economist Dr. Blake Brown.
    Speaking at the Ag Development Forum during the Southern Farm Show in Raleigh Feb. 1, Brown said Hello Fresh, Blue Apron and other value-added meal services fit well for North Carolina’s sweet potato and produce farmers. Meat producers could benefit too. …
  • “CHINA’S HUGE MARKET PRESENTS AGRIBIZ OPPORTUNITIES,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) Looking to do agribusiness in China? There are plenty of opportunities, in a huge market that still has room to grow. Stephanie Ho has the story for SFN.
  • “Have we been eating GenX in our food for years?” Winston-Salem Journal: John and Merle Stevens haven’t eaten collards from their garden since Thanksgiving dinner.
    “I quit giving them to my neighbors, and I quit eating them,” John said. The couple in southern Cumberland County says they worry that a potentially cancer causing chemical might be in the leafy vegetable they’ve grown and enjoyed since they moved to their home on N.C. 87 about 33 years ago.
    “We’re afraid of the GenX,” Merle said. So far, nobody knows whether GenX may have been contaminating crops and livestock for years around the Chemours plant, where the compound is made. The facility is about a mile from the Stevenses’ house, off N.C. 87 at the Bladen-Cumberland county line, in a rural area surrounded by thousands of acres of farms in every direction. The potential harm of GenX in humans isn’t known; it has been linked to several forms of cancer in animal studies. The compound is used to make nonstick cookware and other products.


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