News Roundup: Sept. 1 – 7

by | Sep 7, 2018

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.

  • “A de-vine time September is N.C. Wine and Grape Month,” McDowell News:  Wineries, grape growers, restaurateurs and state officials gathered in Raleigh Tuesday to officially kick-off N.C. Wine and Grape Month, which is held each September during the peak of the local grape harvest. North Carolina has a lot to celebrate when it comes to our wine and grape industry,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The wine and grape industry contributes $1.97 billion to the state’s economy and employs more than 10,000 people.”
    In September, wineries will open their doors with special events to celebrate the month, ranging from traditional grape stomps to wine-and-cheese pairing events. Large festivals, such as the North Carolina Muscadine Festival in Kenansville are also planned. A selection of events is available at In addition, wine lovers can contact their favorite winery for a list of specific events planned for that location. North Carolina is home to 525 commercial grape growers and nearly 200 wineries. The state is also home to five American Viticultural Areas: Appalachian High Country, Haw River, Swan Creek, Upper Hiwassee Highlands and Yadkin Valley. Each is federally recognized for its distinctive combination of soil, climate, elevation and wine characteristics. While many of the state’s wineries are located in an AVA, wineries also can be found from Cherokee County in the mountains to Currituck County along the coast. Wineries within 20 miles of Marion:
  • “Very low nicotine cigarette study yields mixed results,” Winston-Salem Journal: A study on very-low-nicotine cigarettes released last week found smokers benefit more from an immediate, rather than gradual, reduction when it comes to risk exposure. However, the overall results were mixed, the researchers found. Smokers who experienced the immediate nicotine reduction levels “had lower toxicant exposure over time, smoked fewer cigarettes per day, had greater reduction in dependence, and more cigarette-free days.” However, the study also found immediate nicotine reduction “caused greater withdrawal symptoms, greater use of non-study cigarettes and higher dropout rates.”
  • “Pollinator protection is for everyone,” Salisbury Post: This summer I visited my alma mater, the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The UT gardens are spectacular and I highly recommend you visit if you are ever in Knoxville. The UT gardens are a trial garden just like the gardens at Raulston Arboretum at N.C. State University. Each year they evaluate hundreds of varieties of flowering plants and publish an annual report. The plants are evaluated for their growth habit, heat and drought tolerance, as well as flower power. As we move hopefully into cooler weather, many of us are ready to go work in the garden again. We all know that fall is the time for planting, so start looking now for trees, shrubs and perennials to add to your landscape. Visiting gardens like the UT gardens or the JC Raulston Arboretum is a great way to see how plants behave in our climate and what they may look like at their mature size. At the UT gardens, they have  incorporated many native plants into their gardens to enhance and encourage their pollinator power.
  • “Jacksonville mini mart gets grant to eliminate food desert,” WNCT: More than 20 million people in the U.S. don’t have regular access to healthy food, but one convenience store in Jacksonville is looking to change that.  Moore’s Mini Mart in Jacksonville used to be right in the middle of a food desert. “A food desert is an area that’s identified by the USDA as having limited access to healthy foods or to grocery stores,” said Robin Seitz, Onslow County Public Health educator.  The mart received a $25,000 grant from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. “In order to qualify, the stores had to be in a food desert,” said Seitz. “They had to be a small store less than 3,000 square feet, and they had to be able to receive WIC and SNAP benefits.” The grant allowed the convenience store to purchase a refrigeration system that lets them stock fresh produce. “When you stop into work, if you can get a fresh fruit instead of a bag of chips, that would be good for you and good for your family to shop here,” said Craig Moore, owner of the store. …
  • “Farmer at Center of Lawsuit Tells His Story,” Southern Farm Network: Last week, U.S. District Judge Earl Britt lifted the gag order he imposed on litigation in eastern North Carolina from hundreds of residents alleging that hog farms raising pigs for Smithfield Foods are a nuisance to their residential neighbors. And for the first time, one of the farmers at the heart of the controversy is sharing his story. Mike Davis has more. Watch Joey Carter’s complete interview with NCFB’s Lynda Loveland here.
  • “Labor day weekend shifts to fall agritourism,” Spectrum News: Labor Day weekend marks the symbolic shift from summer to fall. The North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s website lists at least 150 farms in North Carolina that offer fall activities. Throughout the year they offer pork, beef, lamb and eggs to consumers Starting the first of September, they will open up their corn mazes, hay rides and pumpkin patch The North Carolina Department of Agriculture’s website lists at least 150 farms in North Carolina that offer fall activities to visitors. Armstrong Artisan Farm in Stokes County is one. Throughout the year they offer pork, beef, lamb and eggs to consumers.
  • “Farmers Hurting, Speaking Out against Tariffs,” Southern Farm Network: North Carolina farmers and ag leaders are sounding the alarm at the ongoing trade war between the US and China. On Tuesday, several met at a Fuquay-Varina, NC tobacco, peanut and soybean farm in hopes of letting elected officials know the plight they are in due in part to the escalating conflict. Mike Davis has more.
  • “North Carolina Wine Month kicks off in Raleigh,” Triangle Business Journal: Did you know that September is officially North Carolina Wine Month? A small crowd of local state bloggers and wineries sure did. And they all came together on Aug. 28 at the Norris House in Raleigh to take part in the festivities. Hosted by Charlotte-area wine bloggers, NC Wine Guys and the Got to be NC Agricultural department, this event showcased statewide wineries pouring some of their award-winning wines. Gov. Roy Cooper did not attend the event, which is in its second year, but he did sign the proclamation which was read to a roomful of 50 guests by the NC Wine and Grape Council’s Executive Director, Whit Winslow. North Carolina wines were represented from the mountains to the coast. Wineries included Banner Elk Winery (Banner Elk), Cypress Bend Vineyards (Wagram), Junius Lindsay Vineyards (Lexington) and Sanctuary Vineyards (Jarvisburg) to name a few. Wineries such as Jones von Drehle Vineyards out of Thurmond, have been making an impact here in the Triangle-area lately, hosting free tastings and dinner parties in Raleigh and Wake Forest. Co-owner Diana Jones was at the event pouring a particular wine that’s getting great reviews and request from across the U.S. That wine is the winery’s Steep Canyon Rangers Red No. 5. “The band approached us about having us make them a wine,” Jones says. Yes, that same bluegrass band that occasionally performs with comedic actor Steve Martin. But just how did they find out about the winery? “They live in the Brevard area, and a bottle shop in the town carries our wines. So they reached out to us wanting to have their own wine,” she said.
    North Carolina wines are starting to gain some traction here in the state, ranking as high as 7th in the country in wine production with nearly 200 wineries across the state. The state also ranks as high as 9th in grape production with roughly 525 vineyards.
  • “Thousands line Main Street for King Apple Parade in Hendersonville,” Hendersonville Times: Thousands of visitors and locals braved the heat Monday for the King Apple Parade, the finale of the 72nd annual N.C. Apple Festival in Hendersonville. The sidewalks on Main Street were packed as attendees watched floats, bands, youth groups, antique cars, fire trucks and more march down Main Street. Many parade participants on floats passed out candy or honked their horns and waved as they drove by. Each float was received warmly by the crowd, particularly veterans’ organizations, which received standing ovations and much appreciation from the audience. Festival organizers anticipated drawing a crowd of more than 60,000 individuals to the parade this year. This year’s theme was “Apple State of Mind.” Temperatures in Hendersonville reached into the mid- to upper 80s, but that didn’t turn away the crowd. The King Apple Parade, held on Labor Day each year, celebrates the contribution of the local apple industry to the community.