News Roundup: March 13-19

by | Mar 19, 2010

newsroundup1Each 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 each paper’s full story.

  • The Stokes Purple is going national,” News & Observer: The North Carolina-grown purple sweet potato may soon be available in stores all over the country. Stokes Foods, the Walnut Cove grower of the Stokes Purple, has signed a distribution agreement that will take its line of purple sweet potatoes and purple sweet potato products to stores nationwide. The deal, with Georgia-based Columbus Gourmet, will help the company expand its reach. For the past year, the Stokes Purple has been sold in Southeastern Whole Foods stores, including those in the Triangle. …
  • NC Crops Need Potassium and Sulfur,” WITN: Some areas of eastern North Carolina have had more than 25 inches of precipitation since early fall. For sandy soils with little organic matter, this means that reserves of water-soluble nutrients such as potassium and sulfur have been leached out of the crop root zone. When choosing a fertilizer this spring, growers will want to pay very close attention to these two nutrients. To help growers deal appropriately with this situation, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is offering some guidelines. …
  • 1.5.0 brings local food to Lenoir,” Daily Tar Heel: 1.5.0., the newest restaurant at Lenoir Mainstreet, is known for advertising the farms its products come from and how the food being served each day was grown or raised. “We can source it all the way to the ground,” said Bill Cunningham, resident district manager for Carolina Dining Services. The reason why is reflected in the restaurant’s name. Those numbers represent the 150-mile radius that serves as Carolina Dining Services’ definition for what is considered local food. CDS has worked hard to make 1.5.0. a successful venture by finding farmers and distributors for executive chef Paul Basciano to work with to keep the food that’s served local and sustainable.  …
  • County, animal advocates war over animal treatment,” Lumberton Robesonian: The Robeson County Animal Shelter is under attack from animal rights advocates who say the shelter is abusing animals and breaking laws, mainly those regulating euthanizations. County officials say the allegations are unfounded, but are taking steps to answer to accusations even as advocates increase the scope of their assaults. Since January, animal advocates and county officials have engaged in an escalating he-said-she-said battle over the shelter; critics want an overhaul and local officials say it’s unnecessary.  …
  • Crop Damage Cost NC Farmers $29.4 Million,” WXII-TV: Wildlife damage to North Carolina field crops last year was estimated at $29.4 million, according to a statewide survey by the N.C. Agricultural Statistics Division. Damage to soybeans was reported at $19 million. Corn damage was estimated at $5.6 million, with wheat, peanut and cotton damage totaling $4.8 million. “For some crops, animals can be as damaging as diseases, insects or the weather,” Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said. “And crop loss — regardless of how it occurred — can make a difference in profitability.” Deer were the top gluttons. Ninety-two percent of soybean and cotton farms in the survey reported damage from deer. Deer caused damage on 75 percent of peanut farms and 60 percent of wheat farms. “Bambi is a pest,” Troxler said. …
  • Area growers look forward to planting in warmer temperatures,” Jacksonville Daily News: The good news is spring officially arrives at 1:32 p.m. Saturday. The bad news is the National Weather Service is predicting eastern North Carolina will experience below normal temperatures through May. “It’s as a result of the residual effects of El Nino,” said John Elardo, a duty forecaster with the National Weather Service in Newport. “We are also predicting near normal precipitation for that same period, which is good.” El Niño is “characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific,” affecting weather around the globe, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Web site.  …