News Roundup: March 24-29

By on March 30, 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.

  • “NC’s rural-urban divide reveals ‘classic tale of two Carolinas’ at N&O forum,” News & Observer: By many accounts, North Carolina is a prospering state. It’s been in the running for an Amazon second headquarters and its urban areas are among the fastest growing in the country. But in rural North Carolina, which is most of the state — 80 of its 100 counties — there is a different narrative. Many counties are losing population; job growth is flat or on the decline and they are struggling with such basic needs as access to health care and the Internet in a fast-moving digital age. That divided story was the subject of The News & Observer’s Community Voices forum on Wednesday. Nearly 200 people were at the NC Museum of History to discuss “Bridging North Carolina”s urban-rural divide.” …
  • “A congregation of small farmers gathers at A&T,” Triad City Beat: Through an obscured sky, the early spring sun hung high as two dozen or so predominantly black farmers gathered around the strawberries Sanjun Gu, his colleagues and graduate students tend to on Tuesday afternoon, a day of learning that ended on fertile soil, just the way they like it.
    NC A&T University hosted its 32nd Small Farms Week beginning on Monday, an annual program sponsored by the NC Cooperative Extension that provides educational programs devised to promote sustainability and foster the economic viability of small-scale agriculture. Small farmers from across North Carolina learn contemporary best practices through farm tours, workshops, hands-on activities and farming demonstrations. The week also presents students with opportunities to talk about their education and discuss their farming futures. …
  • “OMNIBUS BILL ADVANCES DAIRY PRIORITIES,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) The omnibus spending bill passed last week addresses several issues important to dairy farmers. Micheal Clements reports.
  • “CSAs offer fresh, local food and flowers all season long,” Asheville Citizen-Times: With spring finally here – at least according to the calendar – The News-Record & Sentinel reached out to local farms who offer boxes of Madison County grown produce, meats, flowers and more to customers throughout the growing season. The community-supported agriculture (CSA) model typically allows a subscriber/member to pay upfront for a variety of goods from their farm of choice. Through a one-time payment at the beginning of the season, CSA members make a financial investment in a farm to help support investment in costs like seeds and soil amendments. More information on Madison County farms offering CSAs is available online at asapconnections.org. …
  • “VETERINARIANS TAKE TO CAPITOL HILL,” Southern Farm Network: Nearly 100 veterinarians took to the nation’s capital earlier this week to discuss farm bill priorities. While lawmakers are on break this week, the American Veterinary Medical Association held its annual fly-in to meet with congressional offices. Vets are asking Congress to help prevent animal disease outbreaks by establishing and funding a three-pronged measure, including an animal pest, disease and disaster prevention and response program, a stronger national animal health laboratory network, and a U.S. livestock vaccine bank with immediate priority to foot-and-mouth disease. …
  • “$8.4 million available for veteran farmers,” Southeast Farm Press: Up to $8.4 million is available in funding for training and technical assistance for socially disadvantaged and veteran farmers and ranchers. Funding is made through the USDA’s Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program, also known as the 2501 Program. “The USDA is committed to reaching all farmers and ranchers,” said Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement Director Diane Cullo. “Through the 2501 program, the USDA is building lasting relationships among these farmers and ranchers, the local organizations that serve them, and the USDA’s local, state, regional, and national offices.” …
  • “Trump draws ire of farmers targeted in Chinese trade dispute,” WRAL:  From hog producers in Iowa to apple growers in Washington state and winemakers in California, farmers expressed deep disappointment Friday over being put in the middle of a potential trade war with China by the president many of them helped elect. After President Donald Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on products including Chinese steel, Beijing responded Friday with a threat to slap an equal 25 percent charge on U.S. products such as pork, and a 15 percent tariff on such things as wine, apples, ethanol and stainless-steel pipe. American farmers “should be not necessarily infuriated but close to it,” said Wayne Humphreys, who farms corn and soybeans and raises hogs and cattle near Columbus Junction, Iowa. “We’ve invested a lot of time, talent and treasure in developing markets around the world, and with the stroke of a pen, that investment has been jeopardized.”
    Overall, the nation’s farmers shipped nearly $20 billion of goods to China in 2017. The American pork industry sent $1.1 billion in products, making China the No. 3 market for U.S. pork.
  • “NC’s top small farmers locally grown,” The Robesonian: It is hard to determine the exact definition of a small farm. Some try to define small farms by the amount of income that is generated each year. Others place more emphasis on acres, while even others consider the amount of management time that is devoted to the farm operation. Whatever definition is used, small farms make a major contribution to the state’s $84 billion agricultural industry, and it is easy to understand that small farms play a very important role in American agriculture. Small Farms Week recognizes the small-scale producers in North Carolina who generate $250,000 or less annually in agricultural gross sales. Each year, Small Farms Week is officially observed during the first week of spring. This is a time when everyone is encouraged to give special recognition and appreciation to the small farmers of the state who do so much to provide vegetables, meats, and fruits for us to enjoy. North Carolina A&T State University provides leadership for this statewide celebration, but the Extension Center and its staff in each individual county are the ones that coordinate local celebrations.
  • “Immigrant workers in the region fear deportation — as do the farmers who employ them,” Greensboro News & Record: He’s now an Iredell County agriculture worker. But 10 years ago this month, he was embarking on a journey to leave Mexico and cross the U.S. border in hopes of giving his family a better life. The journey nearly killed him. It was March 2008 when the worker, who The Associated Press is not identifying because he is undocumented, decided to make the trip from Vera Cruz, Mexico to North Carolina. Like many immigrants trying to sneak across the border, he paid “coyotes” — members of a mafia-like group who smuggle people into the U.S. from Mexico — a hefty fee. In his case, the price was $5,000. After several weeks of travel by car, the coyotes “sold” the worker to a drug cartel. He then had two options: pay the cartel thousands of dollars or die. He was kept in a house in Atlanta for a week-and-a-half. “They threatened me,” he recalled. “But one day they were having like a party and in the morning when I couldn’t hear any noises, I escaped.” Even now, as he works on an Iredell County farm, he has never escaped the daily fear of being returned to a country where power-hungry drug cartels get their way and there is little opportunity for him. …

 

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