In the Kitchen with Brian and Lisa: August recipe roundup

Aug2014

WRAL reporter Brian Shrader and our own Lisa Prince feature seasonal recipes in their Got to Be Good Cookin’ segment using ingredients grown and available right here in North Carolina. Featured this month are salads made with fresh, local ingredients found at roadside stands, farmers markets and grocery stores throughout the state.

This month, Brian and Lisa make an appetizer, dessert, main dish and salad using an abundance of fresh N.C. produce.

The first recipe is a appetizer that was originally entered in the N.C. State Fair by Gail Fuller of Raleigh. Lisa says the Summer Sushi Roll is “perfect for summer” and a “great way to get kids to eat their vegetables.” The recipe below uses Savoy cabbage but any type of cabbage can be used.

Summer Sushi Roll

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup instant rice
  • 1 1⁄2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix
  • 8 ounces cream cheese
  • 10 large Savoy cabbage leaves
  • 1 cup water
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon chicken bouillon
  • 1 medium fresh carrot
  • 15 spears fresh asparagus
  • 1 yellow sweet pepper
  • 2 slices fresh onion

Instructions:

For the rice:

  • In a saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water and the ranch salad dressing and seasoning mix to a boil.
  • Add the rice, cover and steam until rice is tender. (about 10 minutes)
  • Cool and add the cream cheese, mixing well.
  • Refrigerate until cold and solid.

To prepare vegetables:

  • Cut carrot into about 6 inch sticks, the sweet pepper into slices and cut the onion slice in half.
  • Bring 1 cup of water and chicken bouillon to simmer.
  • Add all vegetables and blanch about 2 minutes (until just tender, but still whole).
  • Remove cabbage leaves, pat dry and let them come to room temperature.

To make the sushi:

  • Lay 2 cabbage leaves flat on work surface.
  • Spread about ½ cup rice mixture evenly on cabbage. (mixture will be sticky)
  • Lay 1-2 asparagus spears, 1-2 carrot sticks, 1-2 slices of yellow pepper and 1-2 half rings of onion lengthwise across the spinach leaves.
  • Roll cabbage leaves tightly around vegetables.
  • Cut each roll into 4-6 slices

Next Lisa and Brian make peach wontons from fresh N.C. peaches. Brian calls these a “new take on the peach turnover.” Lisa suggests making these wontons with a variety of N.C. fruits like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries or plums. Serve with vanilla ice cream.

Peach Wontons

Ingredients:

  • 8 wonton wrappers (found in the produce section)
  • 1⁄2 cup N.C. peaches (peeled and chopped, 1-2 peaches)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 egg
  • water
  • peanut oil
  • cinnamon
  • vanilla ice cream

Instructions:

In a sauce pan, add butter, honey and peaches. Sauté until the peaches are soft. Stir in cornstarch and let boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool fully in the refrigerator for about 2 hours. Beat the egg and add a little water to make an egg wash. Place a dollop of the peach mixture on the wonton. Brush egg wash around the edges and press together at the tips.

In a large, heavy duty pot, add enough peanut oil to allow wontons to swim and heat to 350 degrees. Add wontons and fry until golden brown. Drain on a paper towel. Place 2 fried wontons on a plate and sprinkle with cinnamon and powdered sugar.

Lisa’s husband, Robert, provided the next recipe, which Brian notes uses so many ingredients that their might not be “anything left at the grocery store after this one.” Lisa suggests it is a “great way to use all that stuff coming from the garden.” It is her version of Chinese comfort food. Add a little sriracha if you want a little extra heat .

Robert’s Stir-Fry

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sticky rice, cooked
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 green onions (green only cut into ½ inch pieces)
  • 2 tablespoons celery, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 5 thin slices of fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce plus and few dashes
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 egg white
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1⁄2 cup yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
  • 1⁄4 cup soy sauce
  • 3⁄4 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • 1 1⁄2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 stalk of celery, sliced thin
  • 2 cups broccoli florets and stalks cut small
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 ounces water chestnuts, sliced and drained
  • 5 green onions, sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1⁄2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 1⁄2 cups peppers (red, yellow, green, sliced)
  • soy sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

For the Broth:

Combine chicken broth, green onion, celery, garlic, ginger and soy sauce. Let simmer on low for 30 minutes then turn off to cool.

For the Chicken:

Chicken is easier to slice thin if slightly frozen. Place the chicken in a zip lock bag add the egg white and coat. Combine the cornstarch, salt and pepper. Pour into the bag and shake to coat.

In a large pan or wok, set on high heat; add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Once hot, add the yellow onion and cook for 1 minute. Add 1 teaspoon garlic and 1 ½ teaspoon ginger, cook for 10-20 seconds. Don’t burn it. Add the chicken and cook until no longer pink and starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Continue to toss and stir the chicken. The chicken can be cooked in 2 batches but remember to divide your oils, onion, garlic and ginger. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.

For the Sauce:

Combine ¼ cup soy sauce, ¾ tablespoon oyster sauce and ½ cup of the broth mixture. Then add ½ tablespoon cornstarch and stir to combine.

For the Vegetables:

In same pan, still set on high heat; add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon sesame oil. Once hot, add spring onions and cook for 30 seconds add 1 clove minced garlic and 1 ½ teaspoon ginger and cook for a few seconds, and then add the mushrooms. Continue to stir so the garlic does not burn. Cook for a minute so the mushrooms can sweat. Then add water chestnuts, dash or two of soy sauce, pinch of salt and pepper cooking for 1 minute. Add bell peppers and celery with another pinch of salt and dash soy sauce and cook until they begin to soften. Return the chicken to the pan. Add the sauce to the pan and then the broccoli. Turn heat down to medium. Add the rest of the broth mixture if more juice is needed. Stir occasionally keeping the broccoli on top as much as possible. Cover to steam the broccoli for 2-3 minutes and serve over the rice.

The month wraps up with a cold marinated salad which Lisa says is perfect for summer.

Edamame and Green Bean Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh ground pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces Edamame (shelled soybeans)
  • 1 pound green beans (trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 2 green onions (cut into ½ inch pieces)
  • 1⁄2 red pepper (diced)
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (chopped)
  • 1 can Garbanzo beans (15.5 oz drained and rinsed)

Instructions:

  • In a small bowl, whisk together cider vinegar, rice wine vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper; gradually add olive oil.
  • Cook edamame in boiling water for 5 minutes, then put into an ice bath. Remove and pat dry.
  • Cook green beans in boiling water for 3-6 minutes then put into an ice bath. Remove and pat dry.
  • Combine the edamame, green beans, garbanzo beans, green onions, red pepper and parsley. Pour dressing over the salad and gently stir to coat. Refrigerate a few hours before serving.

 

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Taking care of your lawn also means taking care of your trees

Mowers and trimmers can damage trees and may cause dieback, disease, or decay.  Image: J. O’Brien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org.

Mowers and trimmers can damage trees and may cause dieback, disease or decay. Image: J. O’Brien, USDA Forest Service, Bugwood.org.

It’s summer in North Carolina and that means many homeowners are pulling out the mowers on a regular basis to keep their grass trimmed throughout the growing season. While mowers may make your lawns look great though, they have the potential to make your trees look terrible.  Mowers and trimmers have the potential to damage trees, causing mechanical injury.

Trees can’t really “heal” the way you and I think of healing.  That’s why when a branch is trimmed, a permanent scar remains on the tree rather than new bark growing over it.  Instead, trees compartmentalize damage so that it does not injure other parts of the tree.  When trees are injured over and over or injured severely, it could lead to dieback, disease, decay and in some cases, death.  They just may not be able to get over the injury you cause them.

So, while you’re out in the yard this summer, cut your trees a break by not cutting them with power equipment.  Take extra care when mowing or trimming around your trees.  Another option is to mulch around your trees.  Not only will this result in a healthier tree with better soil moisture available, but you will not need to mow or trim against the main stem of the tree.

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Today’s Topic: Fees for forest management plans

Southern Farm Network logoAgriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

N.C. Forest Service shieldThe state budget approved by the General Assembly directed the N.C. Forest Service to start charging fees for woodland plans, which are commonly known as forest management plans. The budget bill also allowed the state Board of Agriculture to review and approve the fees, which the board did in early August.

Woodland plans will have a base fee of $45. In addition, there will be a fee of $3 per acre for forest management plans and forest stewardship plans, both of which are comprehensive plans. Practice plans, which are simpler plans that usually address just one management practice, will cost $2 per acre in addition to the base fee.

Commissioner Troxler says there are financial and environmental benefits to having a woodland plan. For example, certain types of plans can qualify a landowner for participation in the state’s Forestry Present Use Valuation Program, resulting in significant property tax reductions.

Woodland plans provide detailed forestry recommendations, but they can also advise landowners on wildlife habitat, soil and water protection, and recreational opportunities. In addition, they can help qualify landowners for forest certification.

The N.C. Forest Service continues to offer a variety of programs and services that are free of charge.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss forest management plans.

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Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.

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News Roundup: Aug. 15-22

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.

  • “Native Son: Winery takes root on family farm,” Asheboro Courier-Tribune: In fields where tobacco once flourished, a new crop has taken over. Planted deep in land that Tammy Smith played on as a child, next to the family farm where she grew up, are the muscadines. Muscadines are the native grapes first mentioned by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1584 before the United States came into existence. They are as rooted into the soil of North Carolina as her family. …
  • “Caswell site gets land conservancy grant,” Burlington Times-News: The Piedmont Land Conservancy has been awarded $314,000 to assist with the purchase of a perpetual conservation easement in Caswell County. The easement is on 363 acres of a livestock and poultry farm owned by V. Mac and Peggy Baldwin of Yanceyville. Also, the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center at Mount Olive University received $192,764 for a project that will serve Alamance County. The grants are part of nearly $2.3 million that the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund awarded to help communities across the state protect farmland and promote agricultural enterprises. …
  • “Blackland Farm Managers Tour draws big crowd,” Southeast Farm Press: Rainy weather brought muddy fields to the Tidewater Research Station in Plymouth on Aug. 6 which meant field tours had to be taken off the agenda of the 44th annual Blackland Farm Managers Tour, but that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the more than 400 farmers and others in attendance. “We were very pleased with the tour,” said Beaufort County Extension Agent Rob Gurganus, who served as master of ceremonies. “Of course, we had hoped to do field tours, but we made adjustments and carried on. We fed 430 people, and all told I would guess we had more than 450 people on hand because some folks left before the meal. Without a doubt, valuable information was presented at the tour.” …
  • “Safety first for today’s farmers,” Robesonian: Agriculture ranks among the most hazardous industries in the world. Working with heavy equipment, live animals, and various other tasks around the farm create ample opportunities for accidents to occur. Farm workers are at very high risk for fatal and nonfatal injuries. According to a recent study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 374 farm workers died from work-related injuries resulting in a fatality rate of 20.2 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2012. Tractor overturns were the leading cause of death for farmers and farm workers. …
  • “Forestry plans no longer free,” Wilkes Journal-Patriot: Fees must now be paid for forest management plans developed by the N.C. Forest Service. As required under the state budget recently approved by the N.C. General Assembly, the forest service developed and recently announced a schedule of fees for certain services that previously were free. The fees start with a base charge of $45 for any type of woodland plan and include another $3 per acre for forest management plans and forest stewardship plans and $2 per acre for practice plans.
  • “Apple harvest opens across county,” Hendersonville Lightning: Henderson County apple growers have began harvesting early apples amid guarded optimism that the 2014 crop will bring favorable market prices. Crews fanned out in apple country orchards where the earliest varieties, the yellow Ginger Gold and the popular Gala, have ripened. “We’ve just been getting started harvesting,” said Jack Ruff, an “Enjoy NC Apples” marketing specialist for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. …
  • “Swine Producers Ramping Up for another PEDv Season,” Southern Farm Network: Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus has the reputation of taking the summer off, so to speak, and remerging again in cold weather. Dr. Gene Nemechek, Technical services veterinarian with Zoetis, working with swine producers and swine veterinarians in North Carolina says it’s time to re-evaluate some biosecurity measures: “I think most of them are continuing to think about things like transportation issues that are high risk in spreading the virus. …
  • “Brown marmorated stink bug found at damaging levels in Cleveland County N.C.,” Southeast Farm Press: For those accustomed to the rapid spread of kudzu bugs, the brown marmorated stink bug seems like a slowpoke. This is an insect we’ve been talking and warning about for years. Unfortunately it’s decided to make its debut in Cleveland County. Here are some initial observations about it, predictions, and what should be done. Brown marmorated stink bug (BMSB) is an invader from Asia. It has been confirmed in many parts of North Carolina, but its main distribution has so far been restricted to the mountains and Piedmont. …
  • “Getting the NC Tobacco Crop to the Finish Line Full of Challenges,” Southern Farm Network: Growing tobacco in North Carolina has been mostly a trouble-free affair, once it got into the ground. But, as we’re aiming for the finish line on this year’s crop Don Nicholson, NCDA Regional Agronomist says some problems are starting to pop up: “Normally we would be saying we are very close to the finish line, but this year we are very late. The crop has been in the field a long time but we are going to start seeing some progress as well as some problems come up. I’m seeing what I call ‘popcorn’ where the stalks are starting to show disease, mainly wilt. And with wet fields, and more moisture, you are seeing folks having to go in and save what they can.”
  • “NC breweries tapped to create ‘state beer,’” News & Observer: It took official acts and legislative debate to get North Carolina a state dog (Plott hound), state flower (dogwood) and state tree (longleaf pine). It will take more than 20 breweries to get a state beer. Margo Knight Metzger, the director of the N.C. Craft Brewers Guild, announced the effort to make a “statewide collaboration beer” Wednesday at a beer industry event at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s new facility in Charlotte. The idea is to create a single beer using all N.C. ingredients and input from a group of N.C. brewers.  …
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August: What’s happening on the farm?

Farms are places of year-round activity. There is almost always something going on, regardless of the season. Each month we highlight one of our research stations and the work taking place on the farm during that month as well as give a little insight into the world of farming and innovative agricultural research.

There are 18 research stations across the state, operated in partnership between the department, N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University. The stations are strategically located to account for different soil types, climates, crops and livestock production. Department staff manage the day-to-day operations of the stations and the research field work, while researchers from the universities set up the parameters of the research. This month we are highlighting the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station in Rocky Mount. 

Field days are important outreach opportunities for research stations, where farmers and visitors can see research being conducted firsthand in a field setting and gain new insights into production techniques from researchers. The staff with the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station has been busy in recent weeks getting the station ready for Cotton Field Day on Sept. 10 and a Wild Soybean Breeding Tour on Sept. 30. A Sorghum and Corn Aflatoxin Control Field Day was held Aug. 14. These events draw farmers from near and far in Eastern North Carolina because of the widespread production of these crops in this part of the state.

The Upper Coastal Plain Research Station has been showcasing its agricultural research work for a long time, as it is the oldest of the 18 state-operated stations in the state, starting on a trial basis in 1902. The station has about 450 acres in research trials. Dr. Clyde Bogle has been the station superintendent for over 24 years.

Cotton, soybeans, sorghum and corn  are not the only crops at the station. It also produces burley and flue-cured tobacco, peanuts, small grain and small acreages of other crops. In fact, in one field visitors can see burley tobacco growing beside flue-cured tobacco, something that does not occur in real life. The site contains three black shank nurseries and Granville wilt nursery for developing disease management strategies and disease-resistant cultivars in tobacco, Sclerotina and CBR disease nurseries for fields involved in weed and insect studies. Weed management strategies are being developed for the various crops utilizing nearly 50 acres devoted to weed nurseries. Also, insect management studies are being conducted in tobacco, cotton, soybeans and corn.

Burley tobacco (plant with longer, more upright leafs in the foreground) and flue-cured tobacco (in the background) are planted side by side in one field at the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station.

Burley tobacco (plants at right with longer, more upright leaves) and flue-cured tobacco (plants to the left with shorter, more arching leaves) are planted side by side in one field at the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station in Rocky Mount. Research specialist Louis Pitt manages tobacco production at the station.

One of the research station’s three black shank nurseries. The white bags over the tobacco blooms are used to collect seed from plants that were more resistant to the disease.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Creig Deal, a research specialist who manages all crop trials other than tobacco, recently showed off some of the work on the station, and crops and test plots looked good with a few obvious exceptions — fields being used for weed control and disease and insect research.

In a normal growing situation, farmers would try to keep weeds from growing up with plants, Deal said, but in a research situation rows that have been treated for weeds and those left untreated illustrate the effectiveness of various types of weed control. In another field, Dan Mott, an agricultural research specialist with N.C. State University, was looking for insects in a cotton field. Using two flat wooden sticks and a black canvas, Mott hit the leaves of the cotton plant knocking loose any insects in the plant onto the canvas. Then he quickly counted and inventoried the insects so he would know the insect pressure in the field.

Farmers routinely survey fields for pests as part of day-to-day management of crops.

This photo shows a weed research plot. The two rows in the center have been treated for weeds; the two rows on either side have not been treated.

This photo shows a weed research plot. The two rows in the center have been treated for weeds; the two rows on either side have not been treated.

 

Agricultural research specialist Dan Mott looks for insects in a cotton field.

Agricultural research specialist Dan Mott looks for insects in a cotton field.

 

Agricultural research specialist Dan Mott discusses the insect findings with Creig Deal, the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station crop research specialist.

Agricultural research specialist Dan Mott discusses the insect findings with Creig Deal, the Upper Coastal Plain Research Station crop research specialist.

Research is expected to help farmers meet future food needs by finding new plants and techniques to increase yields and efficiencies on the farm. The United Nations predicts farmers will need to increase production by 75 to 100 percent by 2050, so agricultural research will be critical going forward.

Learning what  doesn’t work is equally as important as what does work when it comes to agricultural production, and saves farmers the time and expense of having to do their own experiments to improve crop production. A calendar of field days planned at the research stations can be found here.

 

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Flavor, NC: Coon Rock Farm

Flavor NC logoTwice a month we feature local restaurants, farms and farmers markets featured on episodes of UNC-TV’s Flavor, NC. This week, we review episode one of the first season in which hostess Lisa Prince highlights Coon Rock Farm in Hillsborough and  Zely & Ritz restaurant in Raleigh.

There are more than 600 family farms in Orange County. Coon Rock Farm, located in Hillsborough, is a sustainable farm bordering the Eno River. Owners Richard Holcomb and Jamie Dement grow several garden crops and provide pasture-raised chickens, eggs, pigs, lambs and goats.

The same year Holcomb and Dement bought Coon Rock Farm, they opened Zely and Ritz in Raleigh. More than half of the ingredients used at the restaurant are fresh from Coon Rock Farm. This includes more than 50 varieties of heirloom tomatoes, including Mr. Stripey and Cherokee purple. Be sure to watch the whole episode to get Lisa’s tips for choosing and storing tomatoes.

Below is the recipe for Bacon Basil Tomato Sauce, which  uses many of the ingredients found at Coon Rock Farms. Serve over pasta for a quick and easy lunch or dinner.

Ingredients:

1 pound bacon
2 pounds peeled, chopped tomatoes
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 chopped fresh basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation:

Slice bacon into 1/4-inch chunks. Fry in skillet until almost done. Add minced garlic. When garlic starts to look clear, add tomatoes and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes. Add basil and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve over pasta and garnish with fresh grated cheese.

 

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Blogging from the fireline

With humid conditions, the summer months are typically less active for the North Carolina Forest Service in terms of battling wildfires. However, the same isn’t true for other parts of the country. As part of a cooperative agreement, the N.C. Forest Service has been dispatching employees to assist with suppressing wildfires in the western United States.

A dispatch normally lasts for 14 days, plus two days for travel at each end of the assignment. Jobs filled by NCFS personnel include everything from the top manager on a fire (the incident commander) to members of hand crews digging fire breaks in the soil. At press time, there were 93 employees assigned to out-of-state incidents.

Mecklenburg County Forester Eddie Reese recently sent back an update from the front lines of the South Fork Complex fire in Oregon. Reese’s group is at the end of its dispatch and will return to North Carolina this week.

Western fire detail has an ideological air about it that the public seems to fear and respect. Ever since the early 1900s it has been the job of forestry agencies to contain all wildfires that occur in nature to protect life and property. Over the last 114 years our western areas have been impacted from the decision to completely contain and extinguish all wildfires. Also, our western areas have experienced large insect killed timber areas that aren’t harvested and also extended droughts that have added to the overall fire potential in our western states.

This year, 2014, has been another one for the record books for the Northwestern United States. Northern California, Oregon and Washington have been the victims of all of the above factors coming together to make this year’s fire season extremely active. To date, the N.C. Forest Service as sent more than 120 personnel out to aid in the containment of these wildfires and gain further experience dealing with extreme fires. I had the opportunity to come to Oregon to help this year with the South Fork Complex. The last couple of days have been really active on this fire. We have two N.C. Forest Service hand crews on this fire, as well as myself as Situation Unit Leader, a Division Supervisor, and a Communication Technician. We all have our role to play — from the crew actively engaging the fire on the fireline, to Division Supervisors supervising the crews and other resources on the fireline, to the Communication Technician helping maintain radio communication between all of the personnel on the fire, to my position, Situation Unit Leader, which is as you would think, keeping abreast of the current situation of the fire and creating maps to aid those on the ground with where they are, and where the fire is headed.

Wildfire is a very fluid “beast” that tends to have a mind of its own. The South Fork Complex is no different. On Aug. 7, the fire jumped across a road and river that were side by side, and burned 7,000 acres in less than six hours. Crews and engines tried to keep the fire contained by using burn out operations (burning brush ahead of the fire) to get a handle on it, but the fire spotted across the burn out areas and continued its push. Our plans change daily and our ground personnel are critical to gaining the upper hand on the fire. To date the South Fork complex has burned about 64,990 acres and is 72 percent contained. The incident has changed from a Type 2 Team to a Type 1 Team.

A typical sleeping arrangement for dispatched fire fighters

A typical sleeping arrangement for dispatched fire fighters.

Preparing a weather balloon

Preparing a weather balloon.

The sun is obscured by the thick smoke in the area.

The sun is obscured by the thick smoke in the area.

A helicopter is on its way to drop water on the fire.

A helicopter is on its way to drop water on the fire.

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Today’s Topic: August crop report forecasts big year for soybeans, cotton

Southern Farm Network logoAgriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

USDA’s August crop report forecasts a big year for soybeans, cotton, flue-cured tobacco and peanuts in North Carolina.

More than 1.6 million acres of soybeans have been planted in North Carolina this year, and the yield is forecast to be 37 bushels per acre. That combination of acres and yield should push production up 32 percent compared with 2013.

Cotton acres are a little higher than last year, but the yield is forecast to be 939 pounds per acre. That’s 140 pounds higher than last year’s yield. Total production is forecast at 910,000 bales, which is a 19 percent increase.

Production of flue-cured tobacco is forecast at 416 million pounds, which is 16 percent higher than last year. Commissioner Troxler says some in the business are describing the crop as a barn buster, but recent wet weather in eastern North Carolina may temper the yield.

Peanut production also is expected to increase this year. The yield is projected to be 4,000 pounds per acre, which is not far off the record of 4,100 pounds that was set just two years ago. Peanut acreage is forecast at 89,000 acres, and total production is expected to be 356 million pounds. That’s a 13 percent increase over 2013’s totals.

These crops are on the rise, but corn production is forecast to dip about 15 percent this year. Acreage is forecast to be 800,000 acres, and the yield is projected to be 132 bushels per acre. That’s 10 bushels less than last year’s record yield.

Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda discuss the latest crop report.

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Southern Farm Network is a division of Curtis Media Group.

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Photos from the field: Commissioner Troxler attends Blackland Farm Managers Tour

Commissioner Troxler recently visited the Tidewater Research Station for the Blackland Farm Managers Tour. Troxler and Richard Linton, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, talked about equipment and technology upgrades to the 18 research stations across the state that are operated in partnership between N.C. State, N.C. A&T State University and NCDA&CS. Following are photos from the event.

The entrance to Tidewater Research Station near Plymouth.

The entrance to Tidewater Research Station near Plymouth.

 

From left to right, N.C. Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten, Rep. Paul Tine, N.C. State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Richard Linton, Commissioner Steve Troxler, Rep. Jimmy Dixon and Dawson Pugh, president of the Blackland Farm Managers Association.

From left to right, N.C. Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten, Rep. Paul Tine, N.C. State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Richard Linton, Commissioner Steve Troxler, Rep. Jimmy Dixon and Dawson Pugh, president of the Blackland Farm Managers Association.

 

Commissioner Troxler, center, talks with Dean Linton, left, and legislators Tine and Dixon.

Commissioner Troxler, center, talks with Dean Linton , left, and legislators Tine and Dixon.

 

Some of the new equipment being added at the research stations to improve efficiency in production and research. Different brands of equipment are being added since farmers today use a variety of brands.

Some of the new equipment being added at the research stations to improve efficiency in production and research. Different brands of equipment are being added since farmers today use a variety of brands.

 

Bethany Pugh, in the white shirt, was recognized at the Blackland Farm Managers Tour as the regional winner of Monsanto's America's Farmer's Mom of the Year.

Bethany Pugh, in the white shirt, was recognized at the Blackland Farm Managers Tour as the regional winner of Monsanto’s America’s Farmer’s Mom of the Year.

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News Roundup: Aug. 9-15

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.

  • “Grafting operation called ‘a day to remember’ in farm economy,” Hendersonville Lightning: A global partnership’s decision to locate a plant-grafting operation in Mills River was described as a “monumental” recruitment coup and a “day to remember” for the business of farming in Henderson County and Western North Carolina. The international venture, a partnership of American, Italian and Israeli companies called Tri-Hishtil, announced the greenhouse operation that will bring 125 agricultural, marketing and management jobs to a 42-acre site formerly owned by Van Wingerden International on NC 19. Company officials and local agricultural leaders said the Mills River operation represents the first large-scale vegetable-grafting operation of its kind in the U.S.  …
  • “NC forest ranger from Morganton killed,” Morganton News-Herald: A state forest ranger from Morganton died Wednesday afternoon at Tuttle Educational State Forest. Education Ranger Jimmy Halliburton, 31, died while he and other forest staff members were trying to remove a tree that had fallen in the road, according to information from the state forest service. The crews were trying to use a tractor to remove the tree when the tree hit Halliburton in mid-section. EMS responded but Halliburton was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the information from the state. “We are heartbroken over the loss of Jimmy Halliburton, and our prayers are with his family,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. …
  • “North Carolina Pork Had Been Surging In Russia… Not Anymore,” WUNC: Last year, according the State Department of Agriculture, North Carolina exported about $3.7 million in meat products to Russia. So far this year, that number has increased ten-fold, to $40 million. Now that Russia has banned the import of American beef, pork, and poultry products, that surge will come to a halt. Russia released the list Thursday for what Western products it will no longer allow into the country. The move comes in retaliation for U.S. and European sanctions leveled against Russia as a consequence for its interventions in Ukraine. The news is not a death knell for meat producers (nearly all of North Carolina’s exports to Russia come from the two Smithfield plants in Clinton and Tar Heel). But it will likely mean lost revenue. “The world demand for meat is greater than the supply,” said Peter Thornton, Assistant Director of the NC Department of Agriculture’s International Trade Office. “Yes, you will find a different market. But each time you lose a buyer you lose one more person who will influence the price in a positive direction. So that will have an impact. Hopefully it’s only slight. But it’s nothing you ever want to see.” …
  • “Popular No Calorie Sweetener Being Grown in the Carolinas,” Southern Farm Network: The alternative, no calorie sweetener, Stevia has been under cultivation in North Carolina since 2011 on private lands as well as research plots. Molly Hamilton, Extension Assistant in the Department of Crop Science with NC State: “It is winter hearty, but we had a really hard winter this year and there was a lot of kill in the fields. We are looking at what temperatures it can tolerate and what types of soil it is best grown in. We are expecting that this crop will be harvested for 3-5 years. The growth comes on in the spring and its harvested 1-2 times in the summer then it dies in the winter and resprouts in the spring.” …
  •  “Hops farming takes root,” The Wilson Times: The increasing interest in craft beer in North Carolina has taken off and inspired Guilford and Pam Leggett to grow their own hops in Wilson County. The idea came from their son, Justin, a homebrewer, and resulted in the Leggetts planting their first crop in April on a patch of land off Packhouse Road where they eventually plan to build a house. What they didn’t expect was to have a bumper crop at their first harvest, Aug. 2, and plans are already in the works for a second harvest in September. “We had no idea we would have 50 pounds of hops with our first harvest,” said Pam Leggett. “We were told we would have no hops this year.” …
  • “Growing a new cash crop with Chinese medicinal herbs,” Asheville Citizen-Times: The tobacco raised by Western North Carolina farmers once provided a good cash crop for a product deemed unsafe by the U.S. Surgeon General. Now farmers could make good money raising herbs for better health through traditional Chinese medicine. “These mountains have been growing medicinal herbs forever. A lot of these herbs grow well here and it’s more sustainable agriculture,” said Amy Hamilton, who operates Appalachian Seeds Farm & Nursery in Rutherford County. Hamilton is a founding member of the Appalachian Botanical Alliance, a cooperative of women exploring how to grow and market healing plants from a medical tradition halfway around the world. …
  • “Q&A: Why Farmers Markets Are Growing in the American South,” National Geographic Daily News: Federal assistance programs allow low-income regions to enjoy the season’s bounty. For many living in the lower reaches of the United States, it’s a touch of southern comfort: Farmers markets—with offerings of peaches, sweet corn, watermelon, and cantaloupe—are cropping up across the region, filling “fresh food deserts” with local produce and offering healthier alternatives to low-income families. New data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that between 2013 and 2014, five of the states that saw the biggest increase in farmers markets were in the South — Tennessee (20.2 percent), Louisiana (12.1 percent), Texas (6.6 percent), Arkansas (5.4 percent), and North Carolina (4.8 percent). Combined, the five states now support 725 unique markets. …
  • “Race-team owner’s NC vineyard marks 10 years,” Lexington Dispatch: Richard Childress is best known for developing world-renowned race teams, but his name has now become known in a different industry where his demand for perfection has led to a successful winery that is celebrating a major milestone. Childress Vineyards is holding a variety of special events to pay homage to 10 years of wine making. “It’s gone by so fast,” Childress said. “It’s been good. Like everyone else, we have been through challenges, but we’ve had so much support from locals in Davidson County and tremendous support from throughout the state.” …
  • “Port could be home to new cold storage warehouse,” Wilmington Star-News: Plans have been submitted to the city for a major cold storage warehouse to go up at the Port of Wilmington. The plans, submitted Wednesday, call for a 101,537-square-foot building on 6.72 acres at 1 Shipyard Blvd. It will be 44 feet tall, said Charles Schoninger, who heads the facility’s developer, USA InvestCo. The warehouse will have 3 million cubic feet and approximately 11,000 pallet positions, according to its website. …
  • “Sweet potatoes lead produce hit parade in North Carolina,” The Produce News: North Carolina produce crops brought in $608 million last year for fruits, vegetables, nuts and berries. And sweet potatoes led the way, Kevin D. Hardison is quick to point out. Hardison is a marketing specialist with a 14-year career in the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in Raleigh that brings a working knowledge of the 60 kinds of produce grown in the Tarheel State. “We’re ranked first in the nation for growing sweet potatoes,” Hardison noted, gesturing toward racks of publications touting North Carolina vodka, butter and chips made from sweet potatoes, microwave-ready yams and even recipes for gourmet meals with sweet potato French fries. …
  • “Deadly U.S. Pig Virus Can Be Carried In Animal Feed: Study,” Reuters: A research study has shown for the first time that livestock feed can carry a virus that has killed about 13 percent of the U.S. hog herd, the study’s lead author said, confirming suspicions among farmers and veterinarians battling outbreaks. The findings, published this month in the peer-reviewed BMC Veterinary Research journal, bring increased scrutiny on the feed industry in the fight against Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus, or PEDv. The fast-moving virus has killed an estimated 8 million piglets since it was first identified in the United States last year, pushing U.S. pork prices to record highs. …

 

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