News Roundup: Nov. 9-15

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.

  • “Christmas tree farmers predicting a good season,” News 14: Christmas is over a month away, but Christmas tree farmers are busy getting their fields ready to open for the season. Jordan Lake Christmas Tree Farm in Apex will open a week before Thanksgiving this year. During that time, people can tag their trees and pick them up at a later date. The farm’s owner says the earlier people tag their trees, the better selection they will have.  …
  • “Ashe Co. Wildlife Club supports Hunters for the Hungry,” Jefferson Post: Muzzle loader hunters have already started their deer hunts as of Nov. 9, and rifle hunters start in a couple of weeks. Not long ago hunters had few options on what to do with deer they harvested once their own freezers were full. Now, with Hunters for the Hungry, those sportsmen and sportswomen still eager for the thrill of the hunt beyond their personal needs can help hungry people in Ashe County. The Ashe County Wildlife Club is now in its fourth year of local sponsorship of Hunters For the Hungry, a volunteer program where deer hunters legally harvest and tag deer then take it to a N.C. Department of Agriculture approved processor. …
  • “Table Rock Fire in Linville Gorge Now Covers 1,800 Acres, Expected To Grow Friday, 40 Percent Contained,High Country Press: The Table Rock Fire is located in the Linville Gorge on the Grandfather Ranger District, Pisgah National Forest, about half way down the gorge, south of Spence Ridge Trail. The fire began on Veterans Day and was first reported to an Avery County ranger at 8 a.m. on Tuesday. A fire that the U.S. Forest Service first reported being 15 acres in size on Tuesday afternoon as since grown to 1,800 acres, and authorities expect the fire to continue to spread as firefighters – 100 personnel in all – work to contain the blaze by utilizing burnout techniques in the remote and rugged gorge.
  • “State offers grants for farmland preservation,” Lexington Dispatch: County governments and nonprofit groups pursuing farmland preservation projects have until 5 p.m. Dec. 16 to apply for funding assistance from the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. About $1.7 million is available through monies appropriated for the 2014-15 budget year by the General Assembly. “We have 86 county voluntary agricultural districts across the state and 50 county-wide farmland protection programs. We want to encourage more preservation efforts through the trust fund,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.  …
  • “Next generation of biofuels is still years away,” Charlotte Observer: The first trickle of fuels made from agricultural waste is finally winding its way into the nation’s energy supply, after years of broken promises and hype promoting a next-generation fuel source cleaner than oil. But as refineries churn out this so-called cellulosic fuel, it has become clear, even to the industry’s allies, that the benefits remain, as ever, years away. …
  • “North Carolina apples survive 100 inches of rain, rare disease attack,” Southeast Farm Press: There was good news, bad news and even more bad news for North Carolina apple growers this year. The good news was that despite record rainfall, the crop yielded reasonably well, with 80 percent of normal production in some areas and up to 100 percent in others, depending on variety and location. In Henderson County, N.C., where more than 80 percent of the state’sapples are produced, Extension Director Marvin Owings told Southeast Farm Press, this was much better than in 2012, when thanks to late spring freezes the county produced only about 40 percent of a crop. But the bad news is that all the other apple-growing states are doing better this season too, and now the market is awash in apples.  …
  • “Farmers preparing for cold temperatures,” WECT: In preparation for Wednesday’s low temperatures, some farm workers in Columbus County spent four hours covering crops. Jerry Robinson who owns Robinson Produce Farms, says Tuesday night’s weather caught him off guard. Wednesday, he had employees place row covers over his strawberries. Robinson says temperatures below freezing can damage the fruit. He tells us, covered crops are 10 degrees warmer than crops that aren’t. “In November December you want to see warmer temperatures, that is what promotes the crown development, which is a direct impression of what you’ll have next spring as far as your yield potential,” said Robinson. …
  • “Conference focuses on expanding exports,” Wilmington Star-News: There are 22 federal agencies involved in foreign trade – a lot of potential help for the small business owner looking to get into the export business. But how does he or she get in on the action? Where to start? Four groups of panelists gave their advice Thursday to a crowd of more than 200 at the N.C. Foreign Trade Promotion Conference held at Cape Fear Community College. It was an effort to “demystify” the process, said John Hayes, president of the Cape Fear Chapter of the N.C. World Trade Association and a panel moderator. The conference was meant, said organizer state Rep. Rick Catlin, R-New Hanover, “to energize and educate businesses on the tools available to reach out to 7 billion potential new customers to grow our economy and create real jobs.” …
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