News Roundup: April 12-17

News Roundup logoEach 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.

  • “NC Tobacco Growers Asked to Vote in Referendum,” Southern Farm Network: For the first time in the history of the crop, Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina is conducting a referendum for an assessment on the crop in the state of North Carolina.  Graham Boyd, Executive Vice President of TGANC discusses the referendum and the purpose: “Farmers are familiar with the checkoff system of support or an assessment as it may commonly be referred to. This one in particular will focus on domestic tobacco issues, not only on marketing but a lot of policy issues that we are confronted with and many of the changes that are occurring in the industry. We have for 30+ years been a voluntary dues paid organization and that has been very successful.” …
  • “Bees get a sweet boost in Bayer CropScience Care Center,” WRAL Tech Wire: Steve Troxler is a big guy, but sometimes he sweats the small stuff. Honey bees, for example. Troxler is a farmer. He’s also commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. So he knows we need bees to pollinate plants. He knows that one of every three mouthfuls of food we eat was made possible by bee pollination. Grain. Fruit. Tree nuts. Bees carry that magic fairy dust around on all of ‘em. That’s why Troxler proclaimed this “an important day for agriculture, for North Carolina and the world.” He was among the dozens of Bayer CropScience employees, public officials and media gathered Tuesday at the official opening of the company’s North American Bee Care Center on its Research Triangle Park campus. …
  • “County wants spent brewery grain exempt from FDA rules,” Asheville Citizen-Times News: Buncombe County leaders asked the federal government to exempt spent brewery and distillery grains from new regulations on animal food. They also approved money for a new bus shelter in Swannanoa and asked state lawmakers to consolidate the county’s fire service districts. An additional layer of control and recording keeping under the Food Safety Modernization Act would add more costs to using spent grains from beer breweries and could force local farmers to look elsewhere for feed sources, according to the resolution the Board of County Commissioners approved. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering the new rules for animal feed under the federal law. …
  • “USDA considers mandatory reports of deadly pig virus outbreaks: industry group,” Chicago Tribune: The United States is considering rules that would require outbreaks of a deadly pig virus to be reported to the government in an effort to improve tracking of the disease, which has already spread to 30 states, an industry group said on Monday. Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus (PEDv) has killed millions of baby pigs since it was first detected in the United States a year ago. PEDv has crimped hog supplies in the United States and sent prices to record highs. It remains unclear how the virus entered the country, and farmers have struggled to find ways to contain it. …
  • “Peanut Futures series: Oversupply not deterring more 2014 peanut planting,” Southeast Farm Press: None of the Southeastern row crops has begged to be planted this spring, in terms of price, and peanuts are no different. But despite a supply and demand imbalance, Southeastern farmers still intend to plant significantly more peanuts in 2014 than in 2013. “Peanuts, like corn, cotton and soybeans, aren’t really begging you to plant – they’re just playing alongside the other crops,” says Marshall Lamb, research director at the National Peanut Research Laboratory in Dawson, Ga., and advisor for the Farm Press Peanut Profitability Award. For the past two years, markets have been somewhat oversupplied, says Lamb. Other crops, he says, are competing for land against peanuts, mainly corn, cotton and soybeans in the Southeast. …
  • “Beef prices reach highest level since 1987,” Hendersonville Times-News: The highest beef prices in almost three decades have arrived just before the start of grilling season, causing sticker shock for both consumers and restaurant owners — and relief isn’t likely anytime soon. …
  • “NC farmers lead country on legal foreign workers,” WRAL: As a push to change U.S. immigration laws stalls, North Carolina farmers have proven adept at legally bringing thousands of temporary agricultural laborers into the United States using a specialized visa program. …
  • “Sticking with tobacco: Some N.C. family farms still see crop as key,” Wilson Times: For the past 10 years, Gerald Tyner has looked forward to seeing tobacco buyout payments arrive. “When they had the buyout, I wasn’t expecting that much out of it,” Tyner said. But the guaranteed money coming into Tyner’s family farming operation has made a difference. The buyout payments, or Tobacco Transition Payments as they’re officially known, end this year. About three weeks ago, tobacco growers and former tobacco quota holders received roughly 95 percent of their anticipated buyout payment. …
  • “With e-cigs falling in gray legal area, there are more questions than answers,” Winston-Salem Journal: A familiar puff of smoke is resurfacing inside some Triad restaurants, bars and entertainment venues. It’s coming from electronic cigarettes, battery-powered devices that heat a liquid nicotine solution in a disposable cartridge and create a vapor that is inhaled. … The popularity of e-cigs is surging. Analyst Bonnie Herzog of Wells Fargo Securities estimated there was $2 billion in overall e-cig revenue last year. She projects up to $10 billion a year by 2017. …
  • “Whole Foods holding local producer fair in Lake Norman,” Charlotte Observer: Makers of local Whole Foods-type products, listen up: The grocer is inviting local producers to bring their wares for a shot to get on the shelves at the new Lake Norman store. The new Whole Foods is set to open in the fall at the Northcross Commons Shopping Center on Sam Furr Road. The retailer is interested in fruits, vegetables or food products manufactured in the Lake Norman area. … Here’s what Whole Foods says they’re especially interested in: “Coffee, Beer, Wine, Aged cheeses, Hard Cider, Chocolate, Organic soy yogurt, ethnic foods. …
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