News Roundup

News Roundup: May 14 – 18

By on May 20, 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.

  • “Drivers warned to look out for farm equipment on the road,”  Greenville Daily Reflector: Recent collisions between passenger vehicles and farm equipment have put a spotlight on the need for drivers to share the road. Back-to-back wrecks May 2 and 3 on U.S. 301 resulted in tractors being struck from behind. “One of the tractors that was hit actually turned over, and that driver is very, very lucky to be alive,” said Alice Scott of Scott Farms near Lucama, where both of the farm vehicles had originated. “The tractor was in his lane, and somebody just plowed into the back of him.”
  • “Farmers needed: State turns to veterans to bolster NC’s industry,” Fayetteville Observer: Agriculture is North Carolina’s largest industry. But in recent years, thousands of farms across the state have been shuttered as land has been developed or farmers have closed up shop because of shrinking profits. In response, local, state and federal officials are hoping to enlist reinforcements from North Carolina’s second largest economic driver: the military. At a Farming Resources for Military Veterans Workshop at the Cumberland County Cooperative Extension Office, experts from across the Cape Fear region shared tips, tools and contacts with farmers and would-be farmers. The event was hosted by the North Carolina Assistive Technology Program, with support from Cumberland County, N.C. AgriAbility, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and others. It drew several working farmers, including one from Charlotte. Lisa Childers of the county Cooperative Extension Office said she and others are standing by to be a resource to farmers. The county provides a resource guide for local farmers and can provide information on government grants and programs to bolster their business. “If we can be of assistance, that’s what we’re here for,” she said. …
  • “Growing the greens: Agritourism flourishes in Western North Carolina,” Smoky Mountain News: For generations, American farmers have plowed the fields, milked the cows and slopped the hogs to the seasonal rhythms of nature. In Western North Carolina, a meaty living could be wrest from this hardscrabble land with the constant backbreaking toil associated with a traditional farming lifestyle.  Could those old farmers of yore ever have imagined people actually wanting to pay money to experience some of the most onerous and monotonous tasks they ever had to perform? “I don’t think so,” said Tina Masciarelli, Project Coordinator of Buy Haywood, a grant-funded organization meant to promote local farmers and locally grown products.  …
  • “$50 Million awarded in NC hog farm case — wake-up call to ag,” Southeast Farm Press: This verdict is a wake-up call to many in agriculture that these types of cases can occur and, at least at the trial level for now, can result in significant liability for agriculture.
    In recent weeks, the big buzz in agricultural law was a verdict in North Carolina, finding a Smithfield Foods subsidiary liable for nuisance and awarding $50 million in damages to neighboring landowners. Today, we will take a look at that case, discuss why the Right to Farm statute did not apply, and consider how this might have played out in Texas. …
  • “USDA staff chief heads home, White House adviser joins team,” Agri-pulse: USDA Chief of Staff Heidi Green is returning home to Georgia after helping her long-time ally, Secretary Sonny Perdue, during his first year in office. White House agriculture adviser Ray Starling is moving to the Agriculture Department to take over as chief of staff. The changes will be effective June 1, according to USDA. “Heidi Green’s roots have called her home and she will be rejoining her family in Georgia,” Perdue said in a statement. “Heidi’s husband and two young  children made significant sacrifices so that she could help us at USDA, and we thank them for their patience. Her leadership during the transition of administrations and direction of the department through the first year of our tenure have been key to setting the course toward achieving our goals at USDA.” Perdue said Starling “enjoys a strong reputation in the agricultural community and already has been working closely with USDA as a leading voice for agriculture in the administration. USDA and its customers will be well-served by his guidance. We wish Heidi well, and welcome Ray to the team.” Starling, a lawyer who grew up on a Century Family Farm in southeast North Carolina, has been on the staff of the National Economic Council (NEC) since President Trump took office. “While our time to work together has been brief, I have come to know Ray as a trusted adviser on issues near and dear to the heart of the American farmer. We will miss his expertise, his southern charm, and the sincerity with which he approached his work,” noted Larry Kudlow, director of the NEC. “Secretary Perdue has gained a fierce advocate for agriculture, and I wish Ray the very best.” …
  • “At Caste Hayne’s last flower farm, Mother’s Day is peak season,” Wilmington Star-News: Castle Hayne Farms is the last vestige of what was once a major New Hanover County crop. Dutch immigrants, who bought land from developer Hugh MacRae in Castle Hayne, were experimenting with growing daffodils, Dutch iris and other flowers as early as 1908. What Christmas is to toys, and what Valentine’s Day is to heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, Mother’s Day is to the flower business. “Mother’s Day is the busiest holiday of the year for us,” said Christina Cooke, a veteran floral designer who works in the front office of Castle Hayne Farms, 4415 Castle Hayne Road. “Some people think it’s Valentine’s, but that’s just not the case.”
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