News Roundup: May 28 – June 3

by | Jun 3, 2016

 

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

Each 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.

  • “Honeybees pick up ‘astonishing’ number of pesticides via non-crop plants,” Phys.Org: A Purdue University study shows that honeybees collect the vast majority of their pollen from plants other than crops, even in areas dominated by corn and soybeans, and that pollen is consistently contaminated with a host of agricultural and urban pesticides throughout the growing season. Christian Krupke, professor of entomology, and then-postdoctoral researcher Elizabeth Long collected pollen from Indiana honeybee hives at three sites over 16 weeks to learn which pollen sources honeybees use throughout the season and whether they are contaminated with pesticides. The pollen samples represented up to 30 plant families and contained residues from pesticides spanning nine chemical classes, including neonicotinoids – common corn and soybean seed treatments that are toxic to bees.  …
  • “Winter peas could be grain, forage and a cover crop in North Carolina,” Southeast Farm Press: Researchers at North Carolina State University are looking to winter peas as a possible feed grain crop for North Carolina livestock production. Speaking at the 2016 Central Piedmont Small Grains Field Day at the Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury April 21, Rachel Atwell, a graduate student at N.C. State under the advisement of Chris Reberg-Horton, associate professor and organic cropping specialist, said winter peas show potential as a grain, cover crop and forage crop in North Carolina. “Winter pea is a legume, similar to soybean, that has high protein content depending on variety ranging from 20 to 35 percent,” Atwell said. A benefit of winter peas over soybeans is that winter peas don’t have to be heated prior to animal consumption, which means a potential reduction in processing costs for winter peas as a livestock feed ration. …
  • “Farm to Fork Is More Than a Fancy Meal. It’s an Essential Opportunity to Educate New Farmers,” Indy Week: Jillian and Ross Mickens sit perched on a wayward assembly of sagging hay bales, plopped between the short, straight rows of the small rectangular plots on their forty-three acre farm in Orange County. It’s not yet eight on this Friday morning, but the Mickenses are already nearing their third full hour in the fields. Ross has been riding a red tractor, pulling an elaborate contraption that cuts rows into the ground and instantly rolls a tight sheet of shiny black plastic over the surface. Jillian walks behind him, using hand signals or, if he’s not looking, hoarse yells to warn him that the machine has misfired again. This happens about every ten feet. Jillian reaches down, pulls a clod of grass or a root from beneath the weed-thwarting tarp, pitches it to the side, and motions him ahead. If all goes well, rows of eggplant, sweet potato, and squash will soon push through holes in the plastic. But for now, already covered in dirt and flush with the sun before many have begun the daily commute, Ross and Jillian seem content to stop and talk about, surprisingly, social media and streaming tutorials—the farmer in Winston-Salem who taught them about overhead sprinklers or the Maryland man who has offered some tips on kale production. …
  • “Raleigh man’s app connects consumers with local farms,” News & Observer: Griffe Youngleson wanted to make farm-fresh food available through a few taps on a smartphone. So he created a mobile app – for farmers, you, me, restaurateurs, chefs and anybody else who knows it’s important to eat fresh, healthy food. The Farmzie app allows small farmers to conduct their business, from marketing to sales, online. Meanwhile, we consumers can shop a virtual farmers market to buy from the inventory of farms we choose based on what we need to plan our home or restaurant menus. “We’re not a system that is obscuring the relationship between consumer, restaurant and farm,” Youngleson said. “We’re making it transparent, so the farm is always in direct connection with whoever is using their product. …
  • “Andrea Reusing joins White House chef Sam Kass for farm-to-fork dinner,” News & Observer: On Saturday, Chef Andrea Reusing of Lantern Restaurant and The Durham Hotel will join forces with Chef Sam Kass, former personal chef to the Obama family and assistant White House Chef for a special dinner as part of the 2016 Farm to Fork weekend festivities. Reusing and Kass, who left the White House in 2014 and is now a food analyst with NBC, will collaborate on the five-course meal and lead a discussion on the state of local agriculture in America as well as child nutrition and access to healthy food. The meal will benefit the W.C. Breeze Incubator Farm in Orange County and also the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), a partnership between N.C. State University, North Carolina A&T University and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture.  …
  • “Joe Blosser: Our hunger problem is real,” Greensboro News and Record: Food insecurity and food hardship are real issues. In Greensboro. In High Point. In most of North Carolina. We have solid, scientific evidence from multiple sources to confirm it. One can look to the 2012 Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) Report that ranked North Carolina 10th and the Greensboro/High Point area second in food hardship (23 percent). Based on Gallup Poll data, the most recent 2015 FRAC Report ranked the Greensboro/High Point Area first in the nation for food hardship, meaning 27.9 percent of respondents said yes when asked: “Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?” …