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News Roundup: May 14-20 | In the Field

News Roundup: May 14-20

by | May 20, 2016

News Roundup - this week's top news stories about NC agricultureEach 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.

  • “Carolina, Virginia farmers try to meet hops demand for local craft beer,” Southeast Farm Press: The craft beer industry has taken off in North Carolina and Virginia, and farmers in both states are beginning to grow hops to meet the needs of local brewers. Growing hops is a challenge in the South Atlantic region because of the climate. Most hops in the United States are grown in the Pacific Northwest where the climate is ideal. But as the craft beer industry grows across the country, more farmers are beginning to grow hops in non-traditional regions to provide locally-grown hops to local breweries. Hops are a growing specialty crop in North Carolina and Virginia. …
  • “Hemp farmers reach goal,” The Technician: Many North Carolina farmers with aspirations of growing industrial hemp have been struggling to raise the money required to pay the expenses set by the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission. That commission was determined by North Carolina lawmakers not be funded with government money due to Senate Bill 313, which went into effect last October. This forced the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Association, the lobbying group that was the driving force behind this legislation, to add language in the bill saying that it would raise the $200,000 initial operating expenses of the commission themselves through private donations. This money will go toward hiring the initial staff of the commission, which will have five members: the commissioner of agriculture, a chief of police, a sheriff, a professor from a state university (either from NC State or NC A&T) who teaches agricultural science and a full-time farmer with more than 10 years of experience. “It’s been a consistent effort across the board,” said Warren Williams, director of operations for the NCIHA. The NCIHA presented Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler with the money last week, marking the next step toward full industrial hemp production. …
  • “Wet weather impacting crops in the east,” WITN: While farmers need rain, officials say all the rain we’ve had recently is creating problems with drainage in the soil and spreading diseases among crops like wheat and corn. In a Beaufort County wheat field, leaves are brown or dead and some even have holes in them. Beaufort County Extension Director Rod Gurganus, says that’s because wet weather and cool temperatures are causing wheat crops to wither and decline. He says the soil cannot properly drain all the water and the lack of sunshine has made it hard for the plants to dry out properly. …
  • “Troxler visits Edenton peanut processor,” Elizabeth City Daily Advance: North Carolina’s commissioner of agriculture cited Jimbo’s Jumbos in Edenton as an example of the state’s expanding food processing industry — and a company that stays ahead of the curve in food safety — during a Tuesday afternoon visit to the company’s new oil roasting facility. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler toured the 181,000-square-foot building on Peanut Drive in Edenton along with his chief of staff, Zane Hedgecock, and local officials and business leaders. Paul Britton, vice president of operations for the peanut processor, led the tour of the new facility, which is expected to have its first lines operational in September or October and be running at full capacity by this time next year. …
    http://www.dailyadvance.com/News/2016/05/17/Troxler-visits-Edenton-peanut-processor.html
  • “Farmers markets herald new growing season,” Hendersonville Times-News: Farmers’ markets have taken root once again in Henderson County. Mills River Farmers’ Market has set up at new location this year at Mills River Elementary, at 94 School House Road, after spending years at G&B Energy on Highway 280, and patrons seem to be enjoying the new surroundings. The market opened its season on May 7. “It’s so much quieter here,” said organizer Joe Brittain of Brittain Farms. “Didn’t notice how loud the traffic was here until you don’t have it. I don’t have to scream at my customers for them to hear me.” It’s still early in the season, but spring greens and plant starts were in abundance on Saturday. Other items on sale included fresh eggs, bread, milk, beef and butter. Brittain said most of the food is produced within a 15-20 mile radius. “As the market grows, we will see seasonal produce …
  • “New Money Pouring In For New Ideas In Agricultural Technology,” WUNC: (Audio) It used to be hard to convince blue chip investors to put millions of dollars into agricultural technology startups. But times are changing. Last week, a new business accelerator launched in Research Triangle Park with $11.5 million. AgTech Accelerator CEO John Dombrosky said The Triangle is the right place for this model. “There’s no reason that we shouldn’t be the global epicenter for all things ag-tech,” Dombrosky said. “We have the right talent, we have the right research, we have the right large company presence. We have all the conditions necessary.” Dombrosky said historically, agriculture has been a “niche” in the investor world. “It has been kind of a sleepy and underserved area that is perceived as difficult to make money in, or seen as so big it’s hard to find ways to create new companies around,” Dombrosky said. AgTech Accelerator is positioned to identify, form, finance and manage the most promising emerging agriculture companies and build products that deliver strong returns, he said. …
  • “Bird flu egg shortages disappear, U.S. farms quick to replace flock,” AgWeek.com: America’s egg crisis is over. Not only have shortages disappeared, but there are signs of an emerging glut. U.S. prices have tumbled 75 percent from a record in August, after the biggest bird-flu outbreak ever forced farmers to destroy flocks. Since then, the laying-hen population has rebounded faster than expected while demand languished from home chefs to food makers. With supplies returning to normal, wholesale prices are near a five-year low. The cost of making everything from quiches to cakes is less than before avian influenza killed more than 35 million laying hens and the government spent $1 billion to prevent the disease from spreading. Cheaper eggs are providing relief to buyers like Marybeth Flynn, the owner of Loretta’s Bake Shop & Cafe in Chicago, who wasn’t able to raise menu prices fast enough last year. …