News Roundup

News Roundup: June 2 – 8

By on June 8, 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.

  • “OPENING THE WORLD TO CAROLINA AGRICULTURE,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) The world may be your oyster, but where does Europe get their oysters FROM? Or how about the Chinese consumer who wants high quality sweet potatoes? Or the Canadian who is looking for affordable. delicious pork? At the recent Ag Exports Seminar hosted by the NCDA, several international markets were highlighted for producers to consider.  …
  • “Goat yoga craze hits Wilson,” The Wilson Times: Wilson is officially on the cutting edge of pop culture. No kidding. It took 14 yoga enthusiasts, 12 mother goats and 15 baby goats to pull off what may have been the county’s first ever goat yoga class Monday. “Goat yoga has become a thing. It’s been on YouTube. It’s been on CBS’s “Sunday Morning.” It’s a thing that yoga people and goat people are doing all over the country,” said Cindy Cash, of Wilson, who led the class in a straw-filled pen at Raleigh Road Garden Center. “It has kind of taken off everywhere,” said organizer Carol Wikfors, whose job it is to care for the goat herd at the business. “Goats have become the newest craze.” Tim Webb, owner of Raleigh Road Garden Center, said the goat herd started out as something to get kids out and get the community out a bit. It was something just to help the folks who might not be so used to farm animals. “We have a miniature horse, miniature donkey, chickens, ducks, geese,” Webb said. “We’ve got a little bit of everything. But then the goats started having lots of babies and I think Carol and Cindy saw an episode of goat yoga on national news or something. We have lots of babies. We still have four mamas expecting, so it’s like, ‘All right, let’s give it a shot.’” …
  • “NC BLUEBERRY CROP SUFFERING DUE TO ADVERSE WEATHER CONDITIONS,” WWAY: It’s few fruits currently for their labor. Blueberry farmers in our area are suffering this year thanks, unfortunately, to prolonged freezing this winter and heavy rains this spring. At Nelson’s Blueberry Farm in Bridgeton, farmers are trying to pick whatever blueberries they can after what they say has been a very rough year for harvest. Debbie Nelson Gustafson, who has been growing blueberries for 25 years, is watching over her crop and said it’s been a struggle so far. …
  • “PORK…IT’S WHAT TARIFFS ARE MADE OF,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) It’s good news/bad news on ag trade tariffs this week. Maria Zeiba of the National Pork Producers Council shares insights on the ever-changing landscape.
  • “Hemp Hootenanny Shines Spotlight On WNC Farm,” Blue Ridge Public Radio: Farmers and fans of Industrial Hemp are gathering across the country this week to rally support for the once illegal plant. North Carolina is one of forty-two states that allows the crop through pilot programs or for research. A small farm here in the mountains was chosen to help kick off the week long national campaign. BPR’s Helen Chickering reports. On a sunny breezy morning, Just outside of Asheville, in the scenic countryside of Leicester, a crowd gathered on a farm. They were here to celebrate a plant come. “Welcome to Hemp Hootenanny and welcome to Franny’s Farm! The small organic farm is a big hemp advocate and was among the first in NC to put seed into the ground after state lawmakers, in 2017, okayed growing the once illegal crop– under a regulated pilot program – action that caught the eye of the Hemp Industries Association as they were planning their annual national campaign – Hemp History Week. …
  • “NC Blueberry Festival has a huge economic, cultural impact on Burgaw, and it’s growing,”  Wilmington Star-News: The 15th annual festival is expected to bring upwards of 50,000 people to the Pender County town June 15-16. In lots of ways, Burgaw is the picture of a sleepy Southern town. On a recent weekday afternoon downtown, pedestrians were scant. It was quiet enough that a young couple lolling lovingly on a park bench in the green space of Courthouse Square could’ve been forgiven for thinking they had the place to themselves.
    That all changes this week, when the 15th annual North Carolina Blueberry Festival turns downtown Burgaw from quaint small town to mobbed festival hotspot. At least for a few days.
    The festival, which was founded in 2003 to celebrate Pender County’s long agricultural tradition of blueberry production, runs June 15-16. Attendance is expected to be upwards of 50,000 people this year, said Olivia Dawson, N.C. Blueberry Festival director. …
  • “Spraying begins for gypsy moth disruption,” Mt Airy News: The Mount Airy-Surry County Airport became the hub of gypsy moth disruption efforts on Wednesday. Crews associated with the N.C. Department of Agriculture began spraying pockets of the area infested with the moths. The spraying will continue on Thursday and into Friday, according to Chris Elder, manager of the gypsy moth program. At a public discussion at the Armfield Civic Center on Feb. 28, Elder explained the process to a standing-room crowd of concerned citizens. “We are not trying to kill anything. Just confusing males,” said Elder, to giggles in the room. …
  • “TAKING THE LEAD IN MILK LABELING,” Southern Farm Network: (Audio) The 2018 Farm Act was introduced at state senate ag committee Tuesday. The provision that got the most attention from legislators calls for the banning of plant-based drinks as being labeled as “milk.” SFN’s Mike Davis talks with NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler who supports the measure, saying products such as “soy milk” and almond milk” are mislabeled and confusing to consumers.
  • “Legislators Move to Protect Hog Farms, Again,” North Carolina Health News: Now that neighbors to one hog farm have one court victory against the world’s largest pork producer, state legislators are moving to shield hog farms from nuisance lawsuits. This is not the first time the General Assembly has tightened protections for both livestock growers and the corporations that own the animals they raise. They’ve done it multiple times in recent years, sometimes in direct response to court cases…Earlier this week, state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler released a statement defending the state’s $2.1 billion pork industry. USDA listing of top hob producing counties in America. Duplin and Sampson Counties are numbers 1 and 2″North Carolina ranks second nationally in pork production, and our state is home to the largest processing facility in the world. In our bigger cities, it is easy to lose sight of the impact agriculture has on our lives, but for many who live in rural areas of the state, its impact is felt every day,” he wrote. On Wednesday he defended the agriculture bill that Jackson and others introduced in person during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting. “We can sue North Carolina agriculture right out of the state,” Troxler warned. …
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