News Roundup: Oct. 26-Nov. 1

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

  • “‘Can day’ at NC State Fair nets 243,000 pounds of food,” WRAL: The Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina collected 243,000 pounds of food during “can day” at the 2013 N.C. State Fair, according to numbers released Friday. Directors with the food bank, which serves a 34-county area, the donations are enough to provide more than 200,000 meals to needy families in the eastern half of the state.  …
  • “N.C. vineyard revives hard cider craft,”USA Today: A  beloved beverage in America’s early days, cider became the darling of colonial tables after it was discovered that apples grew better in the New England soil than the grains required to make beer. By the middle of the 18th century, the average resident of Massachusetts was downing 35 gallons of cider every year. Cider’s popularity declined in the early 1900s as beer-loving German immigrants made their way to the Midwest, where grains flourished. But today, however, cider is enjoying a comeback. Last year alone, cider sales jumped 60 percent, capturing the attention of large beverage producers. The names of heirloom Southern apples — Black Limbertwig, Grimes Golden, Newtown Pippin and Roxbury Russet — roll off Patricia McRitchie’s tongue with familiar ease. Her recitation includes 20-plus varieties that she and her husband, Sean, train up trellises in North Carolina at McRitchie Winery & Ciderworks, their Yadkin Valley winery.  …
  • “AKC mobile unit serves pets after disaster,” WRAL.com: The American Kennel Club has developed a mobile vehicle to roll out to disaster areas to help our furry friends. The AKC donated the first-of-its-kind Pet Disaster Relief Trailer, stocked with crates, microchips and microchip scanners, which can serve as a mobile boarding unit for pets whose owners must evacuate when natural disaster hits, or for those left homeless after an emergency. It can accommodate up to 50 cats and dogs. The mobile unit will be stationed in Pamlico County.
  • “Late October frosts deal another blow to North Carolina crops,” Southeast Farm Press: Late planted soybeans and grain sorghum have taken two successive weekend shots of cold weather, including heavy, killing frosts in many areas of the Upper Southeast. The result is predictable, ultra-late planted grain yield is almost certain to be well below average for the region. The problems began with heavy rainfall and long periods of cool, cloudy and damp weather, dating back to May.  …
  • “Business lessons from the pumpkin patch,” Charlotte Observer: Nancy Anderson knows this much: Running a farm in 2013 is nothing like running one in 1868. So when she and her husband, Phillip, a former fighter pilot in the Air Force, took over the family business, The Hunter Farm in Weddington, she knew they’d need to make some changes.It was 1995, and her uncle Jim had been overseeing operations. She ran her ideas by him: “Let’s bring the community here,” she said. Give tours. Teach lessons.”But Uncle Jim said, ‘No one is going to pay to come here,’” Nancy recalls. “And I said, ‘Oh yes, they will.’”Sure enough, these days every hayride is full, families from all over the region come for pumpkins and Christmas trees, and nearly every school in the area has sent a group on a field trip to the farm, where students learn that milk doesn’t come from a grocery store and beef doesn’t come from the meat counter.  …
  • “Stalemate over Farm bill in Congress may lead to doubling of milk prices,” Fayetteville Observer: The fight over renewing the nation’s farm bill has centered on cuts to the $80 billion a year food stamp program, but an unintended consequence of a stalemate could be skyrocketing milk prices. Projections show consumer milk prices could double to about $7 per gallon after the first of the year if Congress doesn’t reach an agreement on the bill, said Chrissy Waggett, a federal liaison with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services. …
  • “North Carolina had Farm To School Before it was Cool,” Southern Farm Network: Ted Fogleman, Assistant Director for the Food Distribution Division for NCDA, will be the first to tell you that the NC Farm to School food program was in existence before Farm to School was cool: “North Carolina is not new to the program, we are actually one of the states that started the whole concept in 1997. We did a pilot program with apples in the fall and strawberries in the spring. We handled the USDA commodities food program in all 100 NC counties so we had the idea that since we were making deliveries of commodity foods why couldn’t we piggy back with NC fresh fruits and veg.” …
  • “Record apple harvest goes to Asheville food bank,” Asheville Citizen Times: For four years, Allen and Sheree King have given MANNA FoodBank “gold.” Plucked straight from the tree. Executive director Cindy Threlkeld describes apples as “gold” for a food bank like MANNA, which works with 360 partner agencies in 16 counties to help the region’s hungry. “Everybody knows what to do with it,” she said. “There’s no preparation required. It’s relatively shelf stable. It’s an incredible donation.” The harvest, which was completed this weekend, yielded an unprecedented treasury: Since September, hundreds of volunteers picked more than 200,000 pounds of apples, a record for the nonprofit.  …
  • “DuPont to log 46 acres at Guion Farm,” Hendersonville Lightning: DuPont State Recreational Forest will conduct a timber harvest on 46 acres at Guion Farm starting around Nov. 1, the N.C. Agriculture Department said. The start date for the work is dependent on the weather, but visitors to the forest need to be aware that there will be some periodic trail closures and logging equipment in the woods. “The harvest is in alignment with DuPont’s Land Resource Management Plan,” said Michael Sweat, DuPont management forester. “This harvest has been in the planning stages for a while and will not only improve the health of the forest but will address some safety concerns in this area as well.” …
  • “Pest control firms turn to dogs to fight bed bugs,” Durham Herald-Sun: Other than seeing them in the lab, the president and part-owner of Durham-based Clegg’s Termite & Pest Control could only remember seeing one bed bug in an approximately 30-year span. “Now they’re everywhere,” said Phil Clegg, the president of the termite and pest control company. The company, started in 1964, now has a third generation of the Clegg family working at the business. Clegg’s father, the Rev. Ralph Clegg, was a Baptist minister. Clegg said his father got into termite control when professional prices were more than the church could afford. According to the company’s website, Ralph Clegg and church members treated the church for termites themselves after consulting with an N.C. State University expert. …
  • “Grant opportunity for Western North Carolina farmers,” Tryon Daily Bulletin: WNC Agricultural Options’ 10th annual grant cycle is underway. With funding from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, WNC AgOptions will award a total of $153,000 to diversifying farmers in western North Carolina in 2014. Farmers have until December 13 to submit an application for a $3,000 or $6,000 grant. Since 2004, more than 350 farmer grants and community grants have been awarded. …
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