News Roundup: 2011 Year in Review

The following are the top 10 headlines of 2011, as determined by our Public Affairs staff. Click on the links to go straight to the full story.

  1. S. Korea president signs laws enabling US trade deal,” USA Today (Nov. 29): South Korea’s president on Tuesday signed a slew of laws needed to implement the country’s free trade deal with the United States, amid growing protests denouncing the accord at home. …
  2. Pig waste proves powerful,” News & Observer (Oct. 27): The old saw about using every part of a pig but the squeal now includes its droppings, which are producing electricity on a Yadkin County farm. Duke University is a partner with Duke Energy and Google in testing a system that captures methane, a potent greenhouse gas, from manure. …
  3. Agritourism offers farmers & local families fall fun,” WFMY-TV (Sept. 21): If you asked Trey Early 10 years ago what his family’s farming business would look like today, he’d never have thought he’d be growing pumpkins and cutting corn mazes. But with the tobacco business drying up, the Earlys are entering another year of operating the J. Razz & Tazz Farm in Gibsonville. …
  4. Honeybees: an endangered $186M industry,” Durham Herald-Sun (Sept. 15): Honeybees are responsible for approximately $186 million of North Carolina’s agricultural production annually, from apples and carrots to alfalfa and soybeans, according to the N.C. Zoo’s website. As the environment’s primary pollinator, honeybees are essential to the state’s agricultural economy. …
  5. Farmers affected by Hurricane Irene speak out to state officials,” News 14 (Sept. 7): Farmers who saw Hurricane Irene devastate this year’s crop voiced their concerns to state officials Wednesday. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler headed up an emergency meeting where he listened to farmers’ concerns. Troxler said one plan he has considered is trying to find a way for the state to set aside funds to help guarantee operating loans for farmers. …
  6. Plant closing stuns Siler City, Mocksville,” News & Observer (July 30): The Ukrainian owner of the North Carolina operations of chicken processor Townsend plans to close all the company’s facilities by October and lay off more than a thousand workers in Siler City and Mocksville. …
  7. NC ports falling behind on ag exports,” WUNC-FM (May 2): North Carolina agriculture leaders say the state is losing exports to neighbors like Virginia and South Carolina. State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler told the Ports Authority board almost 90 percent of North Carolina’s overseas agricultural exports leave from other states. He says it’s too expensive to transport goods to the coast and ports don’t have the right equipment to handle large loads. …
  8. Relief efforts ramp up for storm victims,” WRAL-TV (April 20): The death toll from North Carolina’s worst tornado outbreak in nearly three decades has risen to 24, as the state and federal governments and private citizens alike ramped up relief efforts. …
  9. Agriculture research center helps increase blueberry yields, profits,” Wilmington Star-News (March 20): The perfect blueberry is elusive. But across Castle Hayne Road from the GE plant, there’s a farm with rows of muscadine grapes, some blueberry bushes and several small buildings. Trucks with state license tags come and go down the long dirt driveway. And signs indicate visitors need a purpose to be there. This is not a state-supported Area 51 for alien fruits. It’s an N.C. State University Horticultural Crops Research Station, one of 18 research farms operated in cooperation with the N.C. Department of Agriculture. …
  10. North Carolina opens ag trade office in China,” Southeast Farm Press (March 10): North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler officially opened the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ first trade office in Beijing March 9, marking an increased focus on the growing Chinese market. …
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