News Roundup: Sept. 14-20

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. Click on the links to go straight to the full story.

  • “N.C. Ranger Talks About Wildfires in Alaska, Idaho,” Firehouse.com: When wildfires rage in the United States — and when local agencies can’t contain them alone — rangers and firefighters from around the country swarm in to help. When flames sprung up in Alaska and Idaho this summer, one of the people in the swarm was Ethan Matherly, the N.C. Forest Service assistant county ranger for Caldwell County. …
  • “Mountain State Fair sets attendance record,” Asheville Citizen Times: Buoyed by nice weather and a number of popular attractions, the N.C. Mountain State Fair set a record for attendance this year. The 20th annual edition of the fair at the WNC Agricultural Center, which ended a 10-day run Sunday, drew 191,596 people, surpassing the old mark of 187,819 set in 2007, fair organizers said. Average attendance is about 180,000 people. “We had a great lineup of attractions this year, from agricultural favorites like the livestock shows and Mooternity Ward to new acts such as Sea Lion Splash,” fair manager Matt Buchanan said.” …
  • “(Audio) Carolina Corn Crop Looking to Exceed Previous State Average,” Southern Farm Network: The corn crop in the Carolinas got off to a shaky start and many fields had to be replanted due to excessive rains. But, for the most part the crop looks to have shook off its early beginnings, and now some really big numbers are being reported as harvest continues. NC State Extension Corn Specialist Dr. Ron Heiniger: “The southern coastal plain, and really all up and down on the sandier soils, they are just outstanding yields. I have heard some dry land yields that went over 300 bushels. We are definitely having a big crop. The biggest complaint I have heard is from the wet natured soils where some of the corn still yielded up in the 200s, but they wanted to be a little higher.” In fact, the so-called ‘droughty’ soils that generally aren’t well suited to corn have done well this year, and Heiniger says this year’s North Carolina state-wide average could rival numbers out of the Midwest. …
  • “13 NC counties get disaster declaration,” WRAL: More than a dozen North Carolina counties have been declared disaster areas by the U.S. Agriculture Department.The declaration came at the request of Gov. Pat McCrory because of the losses caused by excessive rain and flooding. Those counties receiving the designation include Avery, Brunswick, Buncombe, Cleveland, Columbus, Durham, Rutherford, Henderson, Madison, Orange, Transylvania, Watauga and Wilson. Polk County farmers also qualify because they are next to the disaster area. …
  • “N.C. celebrates Farm Safety and Health Week with program grant,” Elkin Tribune: As fall harvest gathers momentum, the N.C. Agromedicine Institute encourages North Carolina farm families to focus on farm health and safety during National Farm Safety and Health Week, Sept. 15-21. The institute’s mission is to develop solutions for agricultural hazards, collaborate on strategies for preventing injury and illness, and work with communities to promote health and safety through its research, education and intervention programs. …
  • “Deserted factory to morph into agriculture venture,” Smokey Mountain News: An abandoned, county-owned furniture factory in Whittier could transform into a center for agritourism in Jackson County, or it could become something entirely different. The old Drexel furniture plant is in the county’s Whittier Industrial Park. The 36-acre site is equipped with a large building but sits in a flood zone, greatly decreasing its resale value. But Lynn Sprague believes it could be ideal for some sort of regional agricultural operation. …
  • “Get closer to your food,” Durham Herald-Sun: It’s a chance to see how cows are milked, where tobacco is grown or to understand how produce is grown organically. Two different farm tours are being held in the Triangle region this weekend, offering a chance for visitors to tour farms where operators are growing vegetables, raising animals such as buffalo and cattle, and in at least one case, producing wine. The 8th annual Eastern Triangle Farm Tour includes stops at 27 farms in Wake, Durham, Granville, Franklin and Chatham counties. There are 16 stops in the second annual Person County Farm Tour.  …
  • “Chapel Hill to get two of FDA’s new tobacco regulatory centers,” Winston-Salem Journal: The Food and Drug Administration plans to spend up to $273 million over five years to operate 14 tobacco centers of regulatory science, two of which will be based at UNC Chapel Hill.  The agencies called the initiative a “first-of-its-kind” program. The centers will have scientists with expertise in epidemiology, behavior, biology, medicine, economics, chemistry, toxicology, addictions, public health, communications and marketing. The goal is conducting research on seven main topics: diversity of current and new tobacco products, such as smokeless and electronic cigarettes; reducing addiction; reducing toxicity and carcinogenicity; adverse health consequences; communication; marketing of tobacco products; and economics and policies. The FDA began regulating tobacco products and marketing in June 2009, but it cannot ban nicotine or tobacco. …
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