News Roundup

by | Nov 20, 2009

newsroundup12Each week we’ll round up the latest N.C. agricultural headlines from newspapers across the state and country, as well as excerpts from the stories. Click on the links to go straight to each paper’s full story.

  • “Tobacco grower learns on the job,” Southeast Farm Press: Since tobacco was deregulated in 2004, the question everyone in the industry has been asking has been how many farmers would drop out of leaf production altogether? Many have. But Jeremy Rhodes of Four Oaks, N.C., has gone against the trend: He didn’t begin growing tobacco until 2005, the year after the price support program ended. So while most tobacco farmers today have the experience of several generations of family members to draw on, and often some of their capital assets, Rhodes started out as a first-time tobacco farmer with no family history in the crop. …
  • “NC foodies get coaching, tips for business success,” Raleigh News & Observer: People who think they’ve developed the world’s best hot sauce or terrific pies that restaurants will want to put on their menus can get some coaching on how to build a business. North Carolina’s Agriculture and Consumer Services Department hosts a food marketing workshop Tuesday at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. The goal is training food entrepreneurs to succeed despite the recession. That includes letting small food businesses hear from buyers for restaurants, supermarkets and institutional kitchens about what they look for from the suppliers they let in the door. Food, forestry and the rest of the agriculture industry generates more than $60 billion a year in North Carolina and employs more than 20 percent of the work force.
  • “Blog Series: Farming in the blood,” Asheville Citizen-Times blog: Although farming remains a strong tradition locally, Western North Carolina lost 679 farms and 115,447 acres of farm land from 2002 to 2007. Citizen-Times reporter John Boyle and photographer Erin Brethauer are following three local farmers through the growing season to chronicle the challenges they face.
  • “Farmland preservation grants available,” Asheville Citizen-Times: State grants are available through Dec. 4 for farmland preservation projects in North Carolina. Nonprofits and county governments are eligible for the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund, for which legislators provided $2 million for 2010, Agriculture Secretary Steve Troxler said. Applications can be found at or by calling (919) 733-7125. Grants are for projects aimed at preserving family farms.
  • “Calabash woman follows familiar path, expanding on the family business,” Wilmington Star News: Sallie Bellamy swoops a large turkey into her arms with the ease of a child picking up her favorite cat. She squats down, holding the bird’s feathered behind toward a group of special needs children from Loris Elementary School in South Carolina. She lets the brave boys and girls touch the turkey’s feathers. This is not something she normally does on a tour of Indigo Farms, she explains to a tour guide in training. But these kids, some of them non-verbal, will get more out of touching than listening. “You get so many happy kids this way,” she adds. On this hot and sunny October morning, the 22-year-old Bellamy is training new farm tour guides to take her place at her parents’ farm at the southwestern edge of Brunswick County when she launches her own dairy goat operation in the spring. …