News Roundup: Dec. 13-19

By on December 19, 2014

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.

  • “The only thing that will feed the world is farmers,” Southeast Farm Press: Agriculture needs to avoid claiming that biotechnology will feed the world, says Steve Savage, a worldwide expert on agricultural technology. “There is no single technology that will feed the world. The only thing that will feed the world is farmers,” Savage said at a forum on agricultural biotechnology held at North Carolina State University in Raleigh Nov. 18. Savage is an independent communicator and consultant with Savage and Associates and brings experience from Colorado State University and DuPont. Savage was the keynote speaker at the forum that drew more than 500 participants. The NC State forum was held to address the challenge of feeding 9 billion people by 2050. …
  • “From Eastern NC to Tokyo: A new breed of ‘silky’ pork,” The News & Observer: The squealing piglets were born in late January at the Quinn Sow Farm, inside a row of white and silver barns at the end of a dirt and gravel lane about an hour southeast of Raleigh. The barns stand in an open field near the town of Faison in Duplin County, No. 2 in the nation for hogs. Nearly eight months later, on a rainy night in September, a salesman walked into a restaurant and ordered a dish of sliced pork with steamed vegetables. Because he’s a regular, he knew the pork would be “sweet” and “delicious.” His name was Yoshihiro Sugawara. The restaurant was part of a chain called Ootoya. The city? Tokyo. Sugawara did not know all it took to deliver the thin slices of tender pork from a farm on this side of the planet all the way to his hashi – his chopsticks. It’s quite a story. It starts with two brothers, Bob and Ted Ivey of Wayne County, whose breeding and feeding has built a special pig, one with premium cuts that have a bit more fat, a deeper color and a sweetness even machines can measure. The Iveys are part of a weekly race against time and circumstance to deliver the pork fresh – never frozen – from barns east of Raleigh to the world’s largest metropolis. …
  • “State tour may become the big cheese for makers of fromage in NC,” Winston-Salem Journal: Cheese lovers rejoice. Just like wine lovers, you now can travel a statewide trail to sample new and favorite varieties made in North Carolina. There even is a map online to help you chart your course to farms making farmstead and artisan cheeses from cow’s, goat’s or sheep’s milk. About 40 small farmers make and sell cheese across the state, including 11 that make up the N.C. Cheese Trail, which formed in April.
  • “How Homegrown Roots Can Save Local Food Economies,” Nation Swell: The Appalachian Grown program offers certification to local farms, restaurants, distributers and grocers. When the local economy is threatened, what do you do? While some may turn to outside forces for help, others turn to the people at the heart of the matter: the community. That’s exactly what residents of Asheville, N.C. did by bringing to fruition a homegrown solution through the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project (ASAP). With the changes in the tobacco industry and the trend towards larger agricultural farms, North Carolina communities realized that something needed to be done to preserve their farmers, which are constrained in size because of the mountainous landscape. …
  • “GMO labeling: Advocates like transparency, opponents dislike the cost,” Southeast Farm Press: The panelists for a discussion on “is GMO labeling a nightmare or a boon” at the North Carolina Agriculture and Biotechnology Summit held Nov. 18 in Raleigh included those who see the need for mandatory GMO labeling and those who are opposed to the idea. While there was much debate on the need for labeling, all panelists agreed that genetically modified organisms have been proven safe and there is no evidence of health concerns. Those opposed to mandatory labeling expressed concern about the costs and the increased level of regulations and bureaucracy while those in support of mandatory labeling cited transparency and the consumer’s right to know. …
  • “Ag Community Applauds News on Relations with Cuba,” Southern Farm Network: Earlier this week, the process began to loosen the embargo on trade with Cuba. The American ag community, as a whole, is applauding the decision, including Larry Wooten, President of North Carolina Farm Bureau: “I think this is a great thing for the ag community. It’s a market of about 11 million people. Everyone else in the world is trading with them and we should be as well. It’s a real market for our poultry and pork. Rice, wheat, and soybeans as well.” Something that could see resurgence in the southeast would be the dairy industry. Currently, milk is rationed in Cuba: “No question, over ten years ago they were importing milk and dairy from Australia and New Zealand. The market opportunity for US products is huge. There is the credit that will help as well.” …
  • “Tank To Table: NC Home To North America’s Only Real Caviar Farm,” WFAE: The Yadkin River is by no means a tributary of the Caspian Sea. About the only thing the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Black Sea have in common is the reference to color in their names. And yet, in Caldwell County, you’ll find the only farm on the continent that produces one of the world’s most expensive delicacies. The farm is an anonymous compound of long red sheds nestled behind a cornfield on the outskirts of Lenoir just off Indian Grave Road. “This is the last place you’d expect to find a sturgeon farm right?” jokes Elisabeth Wall. And she’s right. Yet this is a fish farm in the foothills of the Blue Ridge. The only one in North America that produces not fish roe but high quality real caviar. …
  • “Program connects farmers and struggling families,” The News & Observer: For years, Britt Farms has resisted taking payment from recipients of the modern equivalent of food stamps. “It was so expensive and hard to do,” said Jennifer Britt, who oversees sales for the Mount Olive farm that sells vegetables and produce from the State Farmers Market in Raleigh. But earlier this month, farm owners Jennifer and Vernon Britt listened to a 30-minute spiel and then got in line to sign up for free equipment that would allow them to accept credit, debit and Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program funds, commonly referred to as SNAP, through Electronic Benefit Transfers. The Britts were among the about 25 farmers and market managers who crammed into a conference room in the State Farmers Market’s administrative offices to explore tapping into the $86.5 billion in SNAP funds that on average go to one in seven Americans. About $16 million of the federal funding was spent at farmers markets last year. …
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