Ladies and gentlemen, step right up! The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is pleased to present its lineup for the 2017 Southern Farm Show Feb. 1-3. This show is the Southeast’s largest agricultural exposition with more than 400 vendors. It’s held every February at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Come early and plan to stay all day. Admission and parking are both free. Be sure to include the following in your farm show visit:
Ag Development Forum
In the center ring, the star of the Southern Farm Show is the 2017 Ag Development Forum on Feb. 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Holshouser Building. Setting the stage for agriculture this year is Commissioner Steve Troxler’s annual State of Agriculture address. Joining Troxler are Drs. Michael Walden and Blake Brown, both of North Carolina State University, and Ray Starling, chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis. Walden and Brown will provide an agriculture economic outlook, while Starling will share a federal legislative and policy update. A panel discussion will highlight agriculture’s important role in emergency response. A free lunch will be provided for all who register by Jan. 31 at www.ncagr.gov/agforum/. An information session on new market opportunities in energy will follow lunch.
Got to Be NC Big Cart, Jeep and merchandise
In the Expo Building atrium is the Got to Be NC store featuring crowd favorites the Got to Be NC Big Cart and Jeep. This is also your one-stop shop for official Got to Be NC merchandise, including apparel and license plates. Be sure to stop by and snag your favorite Got to Be NC gear!
Answers and support
And last, but not least, in one convenient location in the Graham Building’s Hall of Fame room, get your questions answered regarding the cavalcade of programs and services offered to N.C. consumers, farmers and agribusiness through the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Find helpful answers, reliable information and more details about each division’s programs and services and pick up useful giveaway items. Plus enjoy free chilled fresh-cut apple slices courtesy of C.L. Henderson Produce. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the highlights:!
Emergency planning, preparation and response
The last few months have certainly underscored the importance of disaster planning and preparation. Be sure to pick up helpful templates and resources for farm emergency plans, pet care emergencies and equine planning from Emergency Programs staff. They’ve created a visual summary of Hurricane Matthew’s preparedness and department responses, along with other disasters such as tornadoes, ice storms, drought and wildfires.
In this same area, check out the Realistic Yield Estimating digital tool, which ties soil types with crop production estimates.
The farming industry’s health
Be sure to visit with the Agricultural Statistics staff for an introduction to the upcoming 2017 Census of Agriculture, scheduled to be mailed out in December 2017. This will be a comprehensive look at the overall health of the farming industry in the U.S. Here you’ll also find current and historic statistical data about various North Carolina commodities, including acres, yield, production and prices.
Keeping family farms in production and out of development
Learn how you can keep your family farms and forests in production and out of commercial or residential development from the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. What does the trust fund do? It assists in the preservation of N.C.’s agricultural economy by providing grants to county governments and nonprofit organizations for conservation easements, agricultural plans and agricultural development projects. More than 15,800 acres of farm and forest lands have been preserved. To date, trust fund grant recipients have secured nearly $47 million in matching funds, with more than $9 million in additional matching funds anticipated by the end of 2018.
Protecting bees, crops and workers
Growers, beekeepers, and pesticide applicators and users will find information about DriftWatch, BeeCheck and FieldWatch online mapping services to protect pollinators and reduce the effects of accidental drift on sensitive crops. Details on how to sign up for free, other pollinator protection resources and information about recent updates to the Worker Protection Standards will be provided by Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division staff.
Livestock and poultry health and welfare protection
Visit with Veterinary Division staff to learn more about North Carolina’s animal and poultry health and welfare regulatory programs and diagnostic labs. Producers will find helpful information on equipment and products and will receive free rattle paddles for humane movement of animals.
Ask a forest ranger
The N.C. Forest Service will be on hand to talk about its many programs and services, ranging from forest protection to forest management. Come visit them and learn about what they do and how they can help you. The N.C. Forest Service Nursery and Tree Improvement Program will also have an exhibit tent showcasing their program and the more than 50 different types of tree seedlings grown in at Goldsboro nursery.
Bioenergy technology opportunities
The Bioenergy Research Initiative booth will be the place to discuss potential technology opportunities in the bioenergy field, learn a little about the grant program, and get acquainted with unfamiliar plant species.
Animal feed is a key ingredient to food safety
Bring your feed samples to our booth at the show, along with your payment, and we will get them over to the lab for you.
Come ask the animal feed staff with the Food and Drug Protection Division questions about the federal government’s Veterinary Feed Directive and take home helpful materials. Receive assistance in completing VFD distribution notification forms and reviewing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Blue Bird Medicated Feed Label site as well as learn how to write a valid VFD.
Those in the animal-feed manufacturing business can also stop by for Q&A with our staff on the Food Safety Modernization Act as well as receive information, get assistance in completing facility registrations and take the opportunity to schedule pre-inspections for your facility.
Accessing agricultural credit when financing isn’t available
The N.C. Agricultural Finance Authority operates essentially as an “agricultural bank” to provide credit to agriculture in local areas where financing is not available at reasonable rates and terms. Its mission applies to all aspects of agriculture: farming, processing, manufacturing and exporting. Staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide information about on loan programs.
All this and more!
Even more of the services and resources available through the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will be featured in additional booths and displays from these divisions:
- Marketing: Providing growers marketing support of North Carolina commodities through Got to Be NC member benefits and services. Find information on marketing grants and registration for upcoming buyer-farmer meetings and more.
- Food Distribution: Administering numerous food programs for USDA.
- Agronomic Services: Providing reliable science-based land management information, such as soil testing.
- Plant Industry: Encompassing everything related to seed, fertilizer and soil additives, protecting against introduced plant pests and protecting endangered and threatened plants.
- Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program: This voluntary program utilizes federal and state resources to protect cropland and marginal pastureland through conservation easements.
If you’re not able to visit all of displays and booths in person during the Southern Farm Show, you can learn more online at www.ncagr.gov. Plus, follow @NCAgriculture on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates from the Southern Farm Show. See you there!