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NCDA&CS expects good late-variety blueberry crop Blueberry Days planned for Raleigh and Colfax in June

RALEIGH – Despite a late March freeze that affected early varieties of blueberries grown in North Carolina, marketing specialists with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services anticipate plenty of later varieties available for consumers to enjoy. “This has been an unusual growing season for local blueberry growers, but that’s exactly why they plant so many different varieties,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The quality and quantity of later varieties should be good through July.” North Carolina is the sixth-largest producer of blueberries in the nation, with about 8,000 acres of blueberries grown in the state, said Dexter Hill, NCDA&CS marketing specialist. In 2015, blueberry production was valued at …..

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Farmers should prepare for hurricane season

RALEIGH – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler’s annual plea for farmers to prepare for hurricane season is especially poignant this year, considering many are still recovering from Hurricane Matthew. “Hurricane Matthew is a painfully fresh reminder of just how important it is to have an emergency plan for your farm, food company or agribusiness,” Troxler said. “Take precautions and think through your plan now, and discuss it with your employees and family. Doing this can help no matter what emergency strikes.” Scientists at N.C. State University are predicting 11 to 15 named storms in the Atlantic basin this year, numbers in line with the average since 1950. Of those storms, four …..

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Making Clay Pot People Workshop to be held

On Saturday, May 27, from  10 a.m. until 1 p.m. there will be a workshop on making clay pot people. We will put clay pots together and paint them to look like either a boy or a girl. All materials are provided and you will take your pot person home with you. Cost is $25.  Space is limited and registration fee is due by May 23 in order to purchase materials and to reserve your spot. If you have a small fan please bring it to help dry paint. See you there!! The fun will be at the Bladen County Cooperative Extension at 450 Smith Circle Dr., Elizabethtown. For questions, …..

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Plant Swap Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 5:30p

In conjunction with Nancy Olsen, Assistant Extension Agent, Agriculture – Home Horticulture/Master Gardeners for the Bladen County Cooperative Extension Agency, the Bladen County Public Library will be hosting a Plant Swap on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 5:30pm in the Courtyard at the Main Branch of the Bladen County Public Library. Please bring any plants you would like to swap with others. Share:

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Tufa Pot Workshop

Have you ever seen those cool concrete looking pots made of cement, peat moss and vermiculite? Well, now you can make one for your own yard. We will be having a Tufa Pot Workshop on May 16 and 23, from 9 am until noon. On May 16, you will be mixing and creating your very own Tufa Pot. Once the mix is in the mold, your pot will dry for a week, then on May 23 you will come back, take the pot out of the mold and plant your tufa pot. All materials are included in the registration fee ($15) to be paid by May 15 in order to …..

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It’s time for County Committee Elections 2017

The nomination period for local FSA County Committees will begin on June 15, 2017. Nomination forms must be postmarked or received in the Bladen County FSA Office by close of business by Aug. 1, 2017. This year, nominations and elections will be held in LAA 2, which includes Abbots, Bladenboro, Bethel, and Hollow Townships. To be eligible to serve on the FSA County Committee, a person must participate or  cooperate in an agency administered program, be eligible to vote in a County Committee election, and reside in the Local Administrative Area (LAA) where they are nominated. Agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in an FSA program may be nominated for …..

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4-Hers Compete in 3rd Annual Regional Chicken Show

White Lake  – On May 2, 2017, the lakeside picnic shelter at the NC FFA Center at White Lake, NC was converted to a show field for the evening.  A show for chickens!  We had almost 60 youth ages 5 to 18 involved in 4-H and FFA from counties across the Southeast region come out to show their hens and broilers that they have been raising and caring for over the last few months. In order to participate, the youth had to register through their school FFA advisor or their 4-H or Livestock Agent through NC Cooperative Extension. Registration for laying hens took place in December; while youth that raised …..

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Sonny Perdue Sworn in as 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture

Sonny Perdue was sworn in as the 31st U.S. Secretary of Agriculture by fellow Georgian and Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court Clarence Thomas in a brief ceremony on April 25 at the Supreme Court building. Perdue grew up on a dairy and diversified row crop farm in Bonaire, Georgia. Being uniquely qualified as a former farmer, agribusinessman, veterinarian, state legislator and governor of Georgia, he has experienced the agriculture industry from every possible perspective throughout his life. As secretary, Perdue says he will champion the concerns of farmers, ranchers, foresters and producers, and will work tirelessly to solve the issues facing our farm families. Perdue’s policies as U.S. …..

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Events: Farm Fresh Friday set to offer variety of goods

Farm Fresh Friday is already gearing up once more.  “Farm Fresh Fridays” is a rain or shine event and vendors will be on site today at the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market in Elizabethtown from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. The farmers market is located at 106 Martin Luther King Drive, Elizabethtown. Vendors will be at the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market offering all manner of baked goods and crafts. Civic groups will also be on hand with information and displays about their activities, as well. “Farm Fresh Fridays” will not cost vendors and will be conducted each Friday through the fall. However, due to limited space, pre-registration is requested. Contact Billie …..

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Defense Department program awards $9.2 million for conservation projects near N.C. military bases

Projects will protect farms, forests, plus training areas for Marines, Air Force RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has secured $9.2 million in federal funding to protect land from development and maintain agricultural, forestry and military uses. The funding will support conservation efforts by the Eastern North Carolina Sentinel Landscape Partnership, which includes the NCDA&CS, the Army, Marine Corps, Air Force, other federal and state agencies, local governments and nonprofit organizations. “The Sentinel Landscape Partnership will use this grant to protect farms and forests that are vital to relieving encroachment on military training areas and airspace,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Working with willing landowners, this …..

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Southeastern farmers granted approval for industrial hemp seed importation

Elizabethtown, NC – A farming family from Bladen County has been approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture to import top quality certified industrial hemp seeds from Europe in support of the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Pilot Program early April 2017.   Cesar and Luciano Alvarado, brothers and owners of Palomo Farms LLC, will offer a large variety of industrial hemp seeds only to farmers who have been approved by the North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission to cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes.   Currently, the United States does not have a large-scale industrial hemp production and relies solely on imported hemp; however, with …..

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Industrial Hemp Commission to host public meeting May 5 at 9 a.m.

The Industrial Hemp Commission will hold a public meeting via telephone conference call to review and approve research pilot program applications and to discuss any progress regarding the Drug Enforcement Administration’s position on hemp seed purchasing on Friday, May 5, at 9 a.m. Access to the conference call can be made at http://go.ncsu.edu/industrialhemp or by calling 1-408-638-0968 (U.S. toll) or 1-646-558-8656 (U.S. toll). The meeting ID is 457-771-465. Participants will be prompted to enter their name and email address to enter the meeting via the website, or prompted for a unique participant ID for the call. They should press # to access the call. The N.C. General Assembly passed Senate …..

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USDA

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for May 2017

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for May 2017. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for May is 1.000 percent, unchanged from 1.000 percent in April. The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during May is 2.000 percent, unchanged from 2.000 percent in April. Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for May are as follows, 1.500 percent with three-year loan terms, down from 1.625 percent in April; 1.875 percent with five-year loan terms, down from 2.000 percent in April; 2.125 percent with seven-year loan terms, down from 2.250 percent in April; …..

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Farm Fresh Friday is today

Farm Fresh Friday is already gearing up. Vendors are at the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market already setting up for the day. Vendors will be on site today in Elizabethtown from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. Fresh produce and plants will be offered and the Elizabethtown Rotary Club will be offering popcorn and baked goods to raise funds for their scholarships. READ MORE Share:

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Library to host Herb Gardening program

We will be having an Herb Gardening Program at the main library in Elizabethtown on Thursday, May 11, at 6 p.m. The program is being done by Nancy Olsen, Assistant Extension Agent, Agriculture – Home Horticulture, Master Gardeners for the Bladen County Cooperative Extension Agency. Nancy was born and raised in Western Kansas on a large cattle and field crops farm and loved riding horses and working in the yard and garden. She attended Kansas State University and received a BS degree in Soil and Water Conservation/Natural Resources, and later went back to KSU where she received a MS in horticulture. Share:

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Tillis Statement On Perdue’s Confirmation As Ag Secretary And The Future Of The Farm Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) issued the following statement on the confirmation of Sonny Perdue as Agriculture Secretary and the future of the next Farm Bill: “I congratulate Sonny Perdue for being confirmed as Secretary of Agriculture. When I met with Secretary Perdue earlier this year, I was heartened by his knowledge of agriculture and his passion for this important industry. North Carolina is a significant contributor to America’s agricultural output and I am confident that Secretary Perdue will be a wonderful addition to the President’s cabinet and a perfect fit for USDA. “As Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Stabenow continue early discussions on the next …..

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USDA

FSAfarm+, FSA’s Customer Self-Service Portal

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has launched a new tool to provide farmers and ranchers with remote access to their personal farm information using their home computers. Farmers and ranchers can now view, print or export their personal farm data all without visiting an FSA county office. The program, known as FSAfarm+, provides you with secure access to view your personal FSA data, such as base and yields, Conservation Reserve Program data, other conservation program acreage, Highly Erodible Land Conservation and Wetland Conservation status information, field boundaries, farm imagery, name and address details, contact information and membership interest and shares in the operation. This data …..

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Farm Storage Facility Loans

FSA’s Farm Storage Facility Loan (FSFL) program provides low-interest financing to producers to build or upgrade storage facilities and to purchase portable (new or used) structures, equipment and storage and handling trucks. The low-interest funds can be used to build or upgrade permanent facilities to store commodities. Eligible commodities include corn, grain sorghum, rice, soybeans, oats, peanuts, wheat, barley, minor oilseeds harvested as whole grain, pulse crops (lentils, chickpeas and dry peas), hay, honey, renewable biomass, fruits, nuts and vegetables for cold storage facilities, floriculture, hops, maple sap, rye, milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, meat and poultry (unprocessed), eggs, and aquaculture (excluding systems that maintain live animals through uptake and discharge …..

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Enrollment Period for 2017 Safety Net Coverage Continues Through Aug. 1  

Producers on farms with base acres under the safety net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, can visit their local FSA office to sign contracts and enroll for the 2017 crop year. The enrollment period will continue until Aug. 1, 2017. Since shares and ownership of a farm can change year-to-year, producers on the farm must enroll by signing a contract each program year. If a farm is not enrolled during the 2017 enrollment period, the producers on that farm will not be eligible for financial assistance from the ARC or PLC programs for the 2017 …..

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USDA

USDA Farm Service Agency Offers Text Alerts to Bladen County Producers

Bladen County USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Chris Tatum announced that farmers and ranchers in North Carolina now can receive notifications from their county office through text messages on their cell phone. Whether producers are in the field, on a tractor or even on horseback, this service enables FSA customers and stakeholders to receive notifications while on the go. Producers will receive text messages regarding important program deadlines, reporting requirements, outreach events and updates. Producers can text NCBladen to FSANOW (372-669) to subscribe to text message alerts from Bladen County. Standard text messaging rates apply. Contact your wireless carrier for details associated with your particular data plan. Participants may unsubscribe at any …..

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A Warm Friday afternoon at the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market

Warm temperatures and plenty of sunshine have begun to draw folks out to the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market in Elizabethtown. On Friday, Elizabeth Norris along with Alyssa, Andrew and Brooklyn were at the farmers market enjoying a Sunset Slush. The family is from Bladenboro and were enjoying the warm weather and a tasty treat. In addition to being a great spot to have lunch or grab a tasty treat, the Cape Fear Farmers Market is also set to begin offering Farm Fresh Fridays.  Next Friday, April 28, will kick off the “Farm Fresh Fridays” at the market with the Bladen County Master Gardeners Annual Plant Sale. The Master Gardeners and others …..

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Census of Agriculture Countdown Begins for America’s Farmers and Ranchers

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2017 – America’s farmers and ranchers will soon have the opportunity to strongly represent agriculture in their communities and industry by taking part in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. Conducted every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the census, to be mailed at the end of this year, is a complete count of all U.S. farms, ranches, and those who operate them. “The Census of Agriculture remains the only source of uniform, comprehensive, and impartial agriculture data for every county in the nation,” said NASS Administrator Hubert Hamer. “As such, census results are relied upon heavily by those who …..

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N.C. strawberry growers expect second wave of crop

Events planned in May in Raleigh, Colfax, Charlotte RALEIGH – It has been about a month since most areas of North Carolina saw their last freeze, and for local strawberry growers and eaters that means the second wave of strawberries is almost here. “This has been an unusual strawberry season in North Carolina,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Thanks to a warm February, many growers were picking at least two weeks ahead of schedule. Then the state had freezing temperatures in March, which put production on hold. It takes 30 days or more for a blossom to turn into a berry. Now that we are past the last freeze, more …..

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Troxler announces three new directors

RALEIGH – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler today announced three new appointments at the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to replace division directors who are retiring. “I am pleased to have well-qualified and dedicated staff members who will be stepping into new leadership roles at the department,” Troxler said. “I am confident they will do an outstanding job based on their years of experience in their respective fields.” John Howard, Emergency Programs director John Howard of Efland has worked 18 years with the N.C. Forest Service, most recently as a district forester with supervisory responsibilities for 27 employees. He is an incident commander on the N.C. Forest Service Incident …..

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A Sheep and Meat Goat Field Day planned for April 29

North Carolina Cooperative Extension Centers in Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson and Bladen Counties are having a Sheep and Meat Goat Field Day on Saturday, April 29, from 9 a.m. until noon at Grays Creek High School (5301 Celebration Dr. in Hope Mills, NC  28348). Registration is at 9 a.m. and the field day begins at 9:30 a.m. The field day will be an opportunity to learn more on sheep and goats. The field day will cover basic nutrition, feeding minerals, and an overview of the FAMACHA deworming system. There will also be 3 tracks to choose from during part of the field day. Track 1: FAMACHA certification – producers will learn …..

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USDA

USDA Announces 2017 Cotton Loan Rate Differentials

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced the 2017-crop loan rate differentials for upland and extra-long staple cotton. The differentials, also referred to as loan rate premiums and discounts, have been calculated based on market valuations of various cotton quality factors for the prior three years. This calculation procedure is identical to that used in past years. The Commodity Credit Corporation adjusts cotton loan rates by these differentials so that cotton loan values reflect the differences in market prices for color, staple length, leaf, extraneous matter, micronaire, length uniformity, and strength. The 2017-crop differential schedules are applied to the 2017-crop loan rate of 49.49 …..

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Industrial Hemp Commission to hold public meeting via telephone conference call

The Industrial Hemp Commission will host a public meeting on Monday, April 17, at 2:30 p.m. via telephone conference call to review and approve applications received to grow industrial hemp under a pilot program. No public comments will be taken during the meeting. Access to the conference call can be made at http://go.ncsu.edu/industrialhemp or by calling 1-646-558-8656 (U.S. toll) or 1-408-638-0968 (U.S. toll). The meeting ID is 552-175-681. Participants will be prompted to enter their name and email address to enter the meeting via the website, or prompted for a unique participant ID for the call. They should press # to access the call. The N.C. General Assembly passed Senate …..

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West Bladen High School Logo

West Bladen High School Horticulture Plant Sale

The West Bladen High School Horticulture plant sale will begin on Monday, April 10, and continue through Friday, April 14, at the West Bladen Greenhouse. Hours for the sale are Monday from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.; Tuesday from 7 a.m.until 10 a.m.; Wednesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.; and Friday from 8 a.m. until noon. Types of plants include bedding plants, vegetables, hanging baskets and potted plants. Prices are $3 for 6-pack and $15 for a flat of 36 plants. For a complete list of plants available and pricing, click here. For more information, contact Dana Mill at 910-862-2130, ext. 3306. Share:

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WBHS FFA Members attend Bladen County Soil and Water Awards Program

  On Wednesday April 5th, 2017 several WBHS FFA members attended the Bladen County Soil and Water Awards Program.  Representing the FFA  Land Judging team were MacKenzie Morris, Sean Nunnery, and Ashlea Williams.  The FFA Land Judging team was recognizing for being the 1st place Senior team in Bladen County.  Ruby Arellano received the Bladen County Soil and Water Scholarship.  Madison Cain opened the awards ceremony by reciting the FFA Creed. The awards ceremony was planned and sponsored by Bladen County Soil Water Conservation Service. Share:

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North Carolina House set to discuss Right to Farm Bill

The North Carolina House of Representatives is set to discuss HB 467 known as the “Right to Farm Bill” this week. Residents and farmers alike are encouraged to contact their representatives and voice their support for the measure. Out-of-state trial lawyers have been traveling the United States and making millions by suing farmers for alleged nuisances, according to the NC Farm Bureau. The out-of-state attorneys have begun working in North Carolina in recent years and have managed to convince several neighbors they can receive damage payments that exceed the value of their homes and land. The law states that someone can sue a farmer over pollution issues or creating a …..

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USDA

USDA Announces No Actions under Feedstock Flexibility Program

WASHINGTON, DC– The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation announced today that it does not expect to purchase and sell sugar under the Feedstock Flexibility Program in the second quarter of 2017. The Commodity Credit Corporation is required by law to announce quarterly estimates of the amount of sugar available for purchase and sale under the Feedstock Flexibility Program based on crop and consumption forecasts. Federal law allows sugar processors to obtain loans from USDA with maturities of up to nine months when the sugarcane or sugar beet harvest begins. Upon loan maturity, the sugar processor may repay the loan in full or forfeit the collateral (sugar) to …..

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Industrial Hemp Commission to host public meeting Thursday, April 6

Industrial Hemp Commission to host public meeting Thursday, April 6, at 2 p.m. The Industrial Hemp Commission will host a public meeting via conference call to review and approve applications received to grow industrial hemp under a pilot program. No public comments will be taken during the meeting. Access to the conference call can be made at http://go.ncsu.edu/industrialhemp or by calling 1-646-558-8656 (U.S. Toll) or 1-408-638-0968 (U.S. Toll). The webinar ID is 390256250. Participants will be prompted to enter their name and email address to enter the meeting via the website, or prompted for a unique participant ID for the call. They should press # to access the call. The …..

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Thoughts While Shaving

Thoughts While Shaving

Sure could use a little good news today.   As of 7AM today, about 35/100 of an inch was recorded by the National Weather Service at Curtis Brown Airport, Elizabethtown. Hopefully, much more is expected. Find myself riding along, listening to Southern Gospel Music, turn the volume up and pretend I am at an all-night singing in the 50s and 60s. Statesman, Blackwood Bros., Lefevres, Sunshine Boys, Homeland Harmony, Florida Boys, and more. Tomorrow begins a new month, with April Fool’s Day. Checking weather stats for the new month, average high is 74, compared with 67 in March and the low for April is 48, up 8 degrees from March. …..

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USDA

USDA Announces Loan Rates for Wheat, Feed Grains, Oilseeds, Rice and Pulse Crops

WASHINGTON, March 29, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation today announced the 2017 marketing assistance loan rates by county for wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, soybeans and each “other oilseed” (canola, crambe, flaxseed, mustard seed, rapeseed, safflower, sesame seed and sunflower seed), loan rates by region for pulses (dry peas, lentils, small chickpeas and large chickpeas), and loan rates by state for rough rice. The rates are posted on the Farm Service Agency (FSA) website at www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/price-support/commodity-loan-rates/index. Marketing assistance loans provide interim financing to producers so that commodities can be stored after harvest when market prices are typically low, to be sold later when …..

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West Bladen FFA Chapter Participates in State Poultry Event

The West Bladen FFA Chapter participated in the North Carolina FFA Poultry Evaluation Career Development Event on Thursday, March 16, 2017, at the NC State Fairgrounds, Raleigh, NC.  Team members include Noah Bryan, Joseluis Hernandez, Callie Lewis and Sean Nunnery. During this event students evaluated production, processing, and merchandising phases of the poultry industry, as well as, identify various industry components.  They are also tested on the application of sound management practices.  Perdue Farms Inc., with in-kind support from the Prestage Department of Poultry Science at North Carolina State University, sponsors the State Poultry Evaluation Career Development Event. Share:

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Planters Day weekend is here

The weekend forecast is looking bright, warm and sunny for the Planters Day weekend. The festivities kicked off at the Graham Farm located on Old Fayetteville Road in the Ammon community. Gates open at 9 a.m. and the event continues Saturday. On Friday vendors were setting up their wares while live entertainment took place on the stage. Classic cars and antique tools and tractor were on display. A museum is now open that allows visitors to view all manner of tools that were used on the farm. Jessie Bullard, the owner of a horseless carriage, said he comes to Planters Day each year. “I just like to see this type …..

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Rouzer Agriculture Subcommittee hosts hearing, “The Next Farm Bill: Livestock Producer Perspectives”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman David Rouzer held a public hearing entitled, “The Next Farm Bill: Livestock Producer Perspectives.”  This hearing continues the series of House Agriculture Committee hearings that set the stage for the next farm bill.  This hearing provided representatives from four of the major livestock producer groups the opportunity to discuss their experiences with current programs, challenges facing the industry and priorities for the upcoming farm bill. “From onerous federal rules and regulations to cattle fever ticks to foot-and-mouth disease, it’s no secret our nation’s livestock producers are facing numerous, serious challenges,” said David Rouzer, Chairman of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Livestock and Foreign Agriculture.  “As …..

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Take soil samples to know plants’ spring fertilization needs

RALEIGH — Spring is the best time to fertilize your shrubs as it promotes optimal growth with healthy foliage and abundant flowers. Well-fertilized shrubs not only improve the aesthetics of the landscape and provide wildlife habitat, but also enhance value and appearance of the property. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Agronomic Services Division encourages home gardeners, community gardeners and landscapers to submit soil samples to optimize growing conditions. From April through mid-November, soil testing is free, and samples are typically turned around within two weeks. “Fertilizers provide nutrients to help plants grow, but it is important to apply the correct amount and type of fertilizer to promote …..

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Thoughts While Shaving

Thoughts While Shaving

Hopefully, last night will be the last of freezing temps until next winter. Blueberry farmers have been busy attempting to ‘salvage’ this years crop. Low temps were in the upper 20s last night. Spring officially arrives Monday. After a warmer than usual February and a very cold week in March, hopefully we return soon to more normal weather for this time of the year. Average high for the month of March is 67 and normal low is 40 degrees. Remember when farmers (and others) spoke of ‘breaking land’ as they prepared to begin the planting season. Later there was takin’ out tobacco, pickin’ cotton, stackin’ or pullin’ peanuts. A reminder …..

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Backyard/Small Flock Poultry Meeting set for April 6

There will be a Backyard/Small Flock Poultry Meeting on Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 6:30 pm.  The meeting will be at the Bladen County Cooperative Extension Office located at 450 Smith Circle Drive in Elizabethtown. Topics will include: chick brooding, feeding chickens for egg production, culling standards for egg layers, and money saving ideas for small flocks.  Feed and Garden Center will sponsor refreshments. Call the Extension office at 910-862-4591 to register by April 3rd.  Persons with disabilities may request accommodations to participate by contacting Becky Spearman, Extension Agent, at 910-862-4591, by email, or in person at the office at least (7) days prior to the event. Share:

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Albert Beatty Farm Featured In Farm Bureau Magazine

The Spring issue of North Carolina Field and Family, a magazine published by the North Carolina Farm Bureau, has a feature story on the Albert Beatty farm in Bladen County. A third generation farmer, Albert Beatty and his wife Ada have spent the last 45 years growing their small farm in Bladen County. AA&S Farms sits on 500 acres of Bladen forestland, about 70 of which is set aside to grow corn and soybeans. To read this story entitled “Small But Mighty” go to NCFieldFamily.org or to ncfb.com. Share:

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Sub-freezing temperatures could impact agricultural interests at end of week

Exhausted farmers in Bladen County are bracing for more freezing temperatures following this weekends snow as sub-freezing temperatures are forecast for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday nights. Agricultural interests in Bladen County seemed to fair well with the snow during the weekend, but are bracing for more freezing weather towards the end of the week. A hard freeze, meaning temperatures below 28 degrees, are forecast for Thursday and Friday nights. Farmers will be implementing their frost and freeze protection plans for their crops once more this week. Share:

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World Champion Wakeboarder to attempt to set record at White Lake

One a warm spring or summer day, it is not that unusual to find folks enjoying an afternoon boat ride or even skiing on White Lake. One World Champion Wakeboarder took notice of the activity on the lake and has decided to attempt to set a record at White Lake. World Champion Wakeboarder Shaun Murray visited White Lake Marine several years ago to teach a class on Wakeboarding. While at White Lake, Murray said he noticed there were a large number of Ski Nautique boats on the lake. Murray, who is set to return to White Lake in April, has decided to attempt to set a new record by riding …..

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Thoughts While Shaving

Thoughts While Shaving

The weather will likely be the big story over the next several hours/days. Today, a slight chance of rain before noon, windy this afternoon with gusts up to 25 mph and highs near 75. Saturday, sunny with a high near 54. Saturday night we have a 60% chance of rain and snow with lows near freezing. Sunday, rain and snow, mainly before 1 pm, High temp near 39 degrees with a northerly wind near 10 mph, gusts up to 18 mph, and an 80% chance of precipitation. Snow expectations range from a tenth to a couple of inches, depending on the source. Next week, lows in the mid to upper …..

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Farmers getting ready for spring growing season

  With the weather getting warmer and the days growing longer, folks are beginning to see Bladen’s farmers taking to their tractors and preparing their fields for spring planting.  Bruce McLean Jr., Field Crop and Commercial Horticulture (Fruits and Vegetables), with Bladen County Cooperative Extension said some farmers in our county are in the process of ripping the ground in preparation for spring planting rather than tilling the land. McLean said that ripping differs slightly from tilling in that ripping is usually done to break up water repellant soil layers. He explained that where Bladen County received a lot of rain in the fall, it can cause the different layers of …..

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Bladen County Farmer Attends 2017 NC State Tobacco Short Course

A Bladen County tobacco farmer, Scott Edwards of Bladenboro, participated with 45 other tobacco farmers and industry representatives recently in the 2017 NC State Tobacco Short Course in Raleigh. Edwards farms with his father J.D., at Edwards Farms Inc. Last year the Edwards’ grew 175 acres of flue-cured tobacco along with another 1,500 acres of other crops on their farming operation. During the week-long course, which coincided with the Southern Farm Show and the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina’s annual meeting, participants took part in the educational program aimed at helping them better understand all facets of tobacco production and marketing. The two days of classroom studies covered everything …..

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The North Carolina Horse Council to hold equine industry referendum Wednesday

RALEIGH, NC – The North Carolina Horse Council announced plans for holding an equine industry referendum to extend the Horse Industry Promotion Assessment which was first authorized in 1999.  The referendum will be conducted in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties on Wednesday, March 8, 2017. Polling places will be set up in each county Cooperative Extension office.  Horse owners will be able to vote on whether or not to extend, for ten years, a $4 per ton assessment being paid by manufacturers of horse feed sold in North Carolina. “The feed assessment has provided essential funding to the North Carolina Horse Council to meet a wide variety of needs …..

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Beloved Dr. Seuss honored in Bladen County and across the nation

Today is a special day! “Today you are you! That’s truer than true. There is no one alive more you-er than you!”, Dr. Seuss once said. The beloved author was born on March 2nd, 1904. Bladen County students are celebrating Dr. Seuss this week in different forms. Read Across America is the most popular way schools are celebrating the iconic artist. Happy Birthday posts have been made on many social media sites as well school students and staff recognizing the literary genius. Many of the celebrations are lasting all week. Some folks are slipping on silly socks, and some are reading “Fox in Sox” to pay tribute to Seuss. BladenOnline …..

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USDA

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for March 2017

WASHINGTON, March 1, 2017 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) today announced interest rates for March 2017. The CCC borrowing rate-based charge for March is 0.875 percent, unchanged from 0.875 percent in February. The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during March is 1.875 percent, unchanged from 1.875 percent in February. Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for March are as follows, 1.500 percent with three-year loan terms, unchanged from 1.500 percent in February; 1.875 percent with five-year loan terms, down from 2.000 percent in February; 2.250 percent with seven-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.250 percent in …..

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Applications being accepted for the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program

RALEIGH – Applications are now being accepted for a pilot program to grow industrial hemp for research in North Carolina. There is no deadline to apply for the program, which is open to farmers who can show evidence of income from a farming operation. “The N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission has worked diligently and quickly to establish temporary rules before the 2017 planting season,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “There has been considerable interest in this program, and we expect a good number of farmers to apply for licenses.” Under the rules, farmers will need to apply for a license, which will allow the holder to plant, harvest and market the …..

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Troxler appoints Dr. Beth Yongue to head Meat and Poultry Inspection Division

RALEIGH – Dr. Beth Yongue has been named director of the Meat and Poultry Inspection Division at the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Yongue replaces Alan Wade, who retired in January. She will oversee the 120-employee division, which includes meat and poultry inspectors, veterinarians and compliance officers who enforce laws designed to ensure that meat and poultry products entering grocery stores and restaurants in North Carolina pass rigorous guidelines and are properly labeled. The division has 85 inspectors located across the state whose job is to supervise the humane slaughter of animals and to make sure processing plants are in compliance with state and federal laws. “Dr. Yongue …..

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The Bladen/Columbus Corn and Soybean Production Meeting set for Feb. 24

The Bladen/Columbus Corn and Soybean Production Meeting will be held on Friday, February 24, 2017 at the Powell-Melvin Agricultural Center from noon until 2:30 p.m. The Powell-Melvin Building is located at 450 Smith Circle, Elizabethtown. Presenters at this event will include Dr. Jim Dunphy – Professor and Extension Soybean Specialist, Dr. Ron Heiniger – Professor of Crop Science and Cropping Systems Specialist, Dr. Wes Everman – Extension Weed Specialist & Assistant Professor, and Dr. Dominic Reisig – Associate Professor and Extension Specialist. 2 hr. of N O D X pesticide credits will be available. Registration is requested by Wednesday, February 22, 2017 at 5 p.m., as a meal and presentation handouts will be provided. To register, please call Bladen …..

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Corn Growers Association of North Carolina Referendum

RALEIGH—February 22 is the date when corn growers will vote on continuation of the self assessment program for six years.  The Board of Directors of the Corn Growers Association is asking that farmers assess themselves at a rate of 1.25 cents per bushel on all corn marketed in North Carolina.  The campaign to continue the assessment was announced on January 13 by President Dennis Waller at the North Carolina Commodities Conference of Corn, Cotton, Soybeans and Small Grain Producers at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center in Durham. Waller urged growers to continue the assessment program which is administered by the Corn Growers Association of North Carolina.  “As farmers, …..

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NCDA&CS to host farmers market workshop March 10 in Albemarle

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Stanly County Small Business Center will host a farmers market workshop March 10 at Stanly Community College in Albemarle. “This free event is open to managers and vendors of neighborhood, municipal and county farmers markets across the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “North Carolina is home to more than 250 markets, and the workshop will help markets of all sizes succeed in providing a viable and engaging space for farmers and consumers.” The workshop will be held at the Dennis Auditorium inside the Kelley Building on Stanly Community College’s campus from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Presentations …..

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You Decide: Is Farming a High-Tech Industry?

By Dr. Mike Walden North Carolina Cooperative Extension My paternal grandfather was a farmer in Ohio. He raised a variety of crops, but his “bread and butter” were hogs. In southwestern Ohio hogs were big business a century ago. In fact, at one time Cincinnati – where I was born – was known as “Porkopolis.” Farmers like my grandfather drove their hogs from outlying farms to the packing houses in the city. The day my grandfather bought a tractor changed the economy of his small farm. The tractor was a technological breakthrough for farmers. Tractors could plow many more acres in a day than a horse or mule. Plus they …..

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N.C. tomato growers plan referendum in March

RALEIGH – The N.C. Tomato Growers Association will conduct a statewide referendum in March to continue the $20 per acre assessment on harvested commercial tomatoes. Funds generated by the assessment would support research, education and marketing to promote tomatoes grown in North Carolina. The proposed assessment term is six years, beginning with the 2017 crop. All N.C. farmers engaged in the production of tomatoes on a commercial basis, including owners of farms where tomatoes are produced, tenants and sharecroppers, are eligible to vote. Ballots will be mailed to growers March 2. Those who have not received ballots by March 6 will have 10 days to apply for an official ballot …..

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NCDA&CS accepting applications for 2017 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

RALEIGH –The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is accepting grant applications for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Nonprofits and government agencies wishing to apply have until March 15. The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program aims to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the marketplace. It is managed by the department, through funding by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “In 2016, we awarded more than $1 million for 11 projects across the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The success and growth of specialty crops are important as we grow our agriculture and agribusiness industry from $84 billion to $100 billion.” The department will accept grant requests …..

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Bladen/Columbus Corn and Soybean Production Meeting to be conducted Friday, February 24, 2017

Bladen County Cooperative Extension will be having the Bladen/Columbus Corn and Soybean Production Meeting on Friday, February 24, 2017 at the Powell-Melvin Agricultural Center in Elizabethtown. The meeting will begin at noon and continue until 2:30 p.m. 2 hrs of N O D and X pesticide credits will be given. RSVP the Bladen County Extension Office prior to the event, as a lunch will be served. If you have any questions or would like to register for this event, call Bruce McLean – Bladen County Field Crops and Commercial Horticulture Agent at 910-862-4591 or by email at bruce_mclean@ncsu.edu . Share:

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Southeast Peanut Production Meeting to be held Friday, February 17, 2017

Bladen County Cooperative Extension will be having the Southeast Peanut Production Meeting on Friday, February 17, 2017 at the Powell-Melvin Agricultural Center in Elizabethtown. The meeting will begin from noon and continue until 2 p.m. 1 hr of N O D and X pesticide credits will be given. RSVP the Bladen County Extension Office prior to the event, as a lunch will be served. If you have any questions or would like to register for this event, call Bruce McLean – Bladen County Field Crops and Commercial Horticulture Agent at 910-862-4591 or by email at bruce_mclean@ncsu.edu . Share:

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NC Blueberry Council will have Bladen County Blueberry Growers meeting on Feb. 13, 2017

Bladen County Cooperative Extension, along with the NC Blueberry Council, will be having the Bladen County Blueberry Growers Meeting on Monday, February 13, 2017 at Lu Mil Vineyard in Dublin. The meeting will begin at noon and continue until 4:30 p.m. N O D and X pesticide credits will be given. RSVP the Bladen County Extension Office prior to the event, as a lunch will be served. If you have any questions or would like to register for this event, call Bruce McLean – Bladen County Field Crops and Commercial Horticulture Agent at 910-862-4591 or by email at bruce_mclean@ncsu.edu . Share:

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Bladen County Cotton Production meeting set for Feb. 7

Bladen County Cooperative Extension will be having the Bladen County Cotton Production Meeting and the Bladen County Auxin Herbicide Training on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 at the Powell-Melvin Agricultural Center in Elizabethtown. The Bladen County Auxin Herbicide Training will begin at 10 am and continue until noon. The Bladen County Cotton Production Meeting will begin at noon and continue until 2 pm. Two hours of N O D and X pesticide credits will be given for the Auxin Training, and one hour of N O D and X pesticide credits will be given for the Cotton Meeting. RSVP the Bladen County Extension Office prior to the event, as a lunch …..

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Consider applying lime for home gardens

RALEIGH — Gardeners in North Carolina know that our Old North State soils are naturally too acidic to grow a vegetable garden without lime. While there is great benefit in applying lime, too much lime can be harmful, whether applied at one time or over multiple occasions. Dr. David Hardy, Soil Testing Section chief with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Agronomic Services Division, offers the following review of lime benefits, plant requirements and tips to help home gardeners determine lime application needs. Lime supplies plants with calcium or magnesium nutrients, depending on the type. Calcitic lime provides only calcium, while dolomitic lime provides magnesium and calcium. Dolomitic …..

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2017 N.C. boll weevil assessment drops to 75 cents per acre

RALEIGH — The board of the Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation of North Carolina has set the 2017 boll weevil assessment at 75 cents per acre of cotton, dropping the fee from $1. The fee supports the foundation’s efforts to monitor cotton acreage in North Carolina for any re-introduction of the boll weevil and to respond promptly with eradication treatments if necessary. “This trapping and monitoring program is a great investment for farmers who already have a lot of variables to manage in raising a crop,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Eliminating the boll weevil from our state years ago has allowed us to have a viable cotton crop. We certainly …..

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Timber Restoration Fund to help landowners recover from recent disasters

RALEIGH – Landowners in 93 North Carolina counties whose timber lands were damaged by Hurricane Matthew or wildfires last year may apply for state funds to help with tree planting costs. The Disaster Recovery Act of 2016 included $1 million for the Timber Restoration Fund, administered by the N.C. Forest Service. “Funding for the program is available now, and landowners are encouraged to apply early,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “This is a one-time, time-limited fund designed to help landowners who have shovel-ready projects that can be completed by April 30, 2018.” To be eligible for the program, projects must be between five and 100 acres, and landowners must be …..

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NCMGA to meet at Lu Mil Vineyard on January 28

The North Carolina Muscadine Grape Association is set to hold their annual conference at Lu Mil Vineyard on Saturday, January 28, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Cost is $50 for members plus $25 membership fee and non-members is $75.  The cost includes a lunch. Topics to be discussed include Muscadine Sales to China, Website and Social Media Promotion, Why Add Muscadine Products to Your Diet –Cancer fighting properties, Frost/ Freeze protection for Carlos variety and Fresh Market Muscadine Grape marketing and open session for discussion. See the proposed agenda below. If you have questions or plan to attend, contact Dianna at 919-738-6381 for a head count for the lunch. Share:

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Bladen County Farm Service Agency Committee Election Results

The Bladen County Farm Service Agency committee elections are over, the ballots are counted and the results have been announced. Steve Dunham of White Oak was re-elected to represent LAA -3 and Angela Autry of Elizabethtown will serve as the first alternate. Elected county committee members serve a three-year term and are responsible for making decisions on FSA disaster, conservation, commodity, and price support programs, as well as other important federal farm program issues.  County committee members are a valuable asset because they are composed of local producers who participate in FSA programs themselves and have a direct connection to farmers and ranchers in the community. All recently elected county …..

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USDA

USDA Expands Grasslands Conservation Program to Small-Scale Livestock Producers

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that USDA will accept over 300,000 acres in 43 states that were offered by producers during the recent ranking period for the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands enrollment with emphasis placed on small-scale livestock operations. Through the voluntary CRP Grasslands program, grasslands threatened by development or conversion to row crops are maintained as livestock grazing areas, while providing important conservation benefits. Approximately 200,000 of the accepted acres were offered by small-scale livestock operations. “Producers of all sizes are interested in USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program,” said Dolcini. “This latest round of CRP Grasslands enrollment, …..

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Troxler hosts Ag Development Forum Feb. 2

Economic outlook, State of Agriculture address on tap at 12th annual event RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is hosting two events for farmers and agribusinesses Feb. 2 in the Holshouser Building at the State Fairgrounds. The 12th annual Agricultural Development Forum will focus on the 2017 economic outlook for N.C. agriculture. It will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Following a short lunch break, the department will host an information session on agricultural energy market opportunities for N.C. farmers. Admission to both events is free and lunch will be provided, but registration is requested by Jan. 31. Register online at www.ncagr.gov/agforum. Individuals with …..

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USDA

USDA’s Farm Service Agency Expands Bridges to Opportunity Nationwide

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced the expansion of a unique service for farmers and ranchers. FSA’s Bridges to Opportunity program provides a one-stop-shop that connects producers with resources, programs and educational services offered across the department, as well as from other USDA partner organizations. Bridges to Opportunity, which currently provides enhanced customer support to more than 150,000 customers in 20 states, will expand to serve customers across the country before the end of the month using fiscal year 2016 funds. “By partnering with numerous local, state, regional and national agricultural organizations, FSA employees now can provide farmers and ranchers with …..

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Growing for the Local Market

Bladen County Cooperative Extension is hosting a series of workshops for homeowners and farmers (alike) on growing produce for the local market. Whether you are a homeowner wanting to offset the cost of the garden by planting an extra couple of rows to sale at the local farmers’ market, or a farmer wanting to grow fruit and vegetables commercially, these workshops will help guide you to success.   The introductory training will be held on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 from 1 until 3 p.m. at the Powell-Melvin Agricultural Center, located at 450 Smith Circle Dr., Elizabethtown, NC. At this training, we will discuss: selling at farmers’ markets, roadside stands, to …..

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USDA

USDA Farm Service Agency Offers Text Alerts to Bladen County Producers

Subscribers Can Receive Important Program Reminders and Updates Elizabethtown, NC – January 6, 2017 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Chris Tatum in Bladen County announced that farmers and ranchers in North Carolina now can receive notifications from their FSA county office through text messages on their cell phone. “In addition to the free FSA GovDelivery email news, customers now can choose to receive text message alerts from their county office,” said Mr. Tatum. “These text messages inform producers of important program deadlines, reporting requirements, outreach events, and updates.” Whether producers are in the field, on a tractor or even on horseback, this …..

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USDA

USDA Makes it Easier to Transfer Land to the Next Generation of Farmers and Ranchers

Agriculture Deputy Under Secretary Lanon Baccam today announced that beginning January 9, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will offer an early termination opportunity for certain Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) contracts, making it easier to transfer property to the next generation of farmers and ranchers, including family members. The land that is eligible for the early termination is among the least environmentally sensitive land enrolled in CRP. This change to the CRP program is just one of many that USDA has implemented based on recommendations from the Land Tenure Advisory Subcommittee formed by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in 2015. The subcommittee was asked to identify ways the department could …..

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USDA

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for January 2017

WASHINGTON, Jan. 3, 2017 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) today announced interest rates for January 2017. The CCC borrowing rate-based charge for December is 0.875 percent, up from 0.750 percent in December. The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during January is 1.875 percent, up from 1.750 percent in December. Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for January are as follows, 1.500 percent with three-year loan terms, up from 1.125 percent in December; 1.875 percent with five-year loan terms, up from 1.375 percent in December; 2.250 percent with seven-year loan terms, up from 1.750 percent in December; …..

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Cape Fear Cattle Conference set for January 24

The 8th annual cattle conference will be held on Tuesday, January 24th from 4:30 until 7:30 p.m. at the Southeastern N.C. Agricultural Events Center located at 1027 Highway 74 East in Lumberton.  This conference is an excellent opportunity to receive updates on the cattle industry, learn new management practices, and visit with other cattle producers in the area.  The conference includes a meal and time to visit vendors.  There will be a $5 charge (pay at the door) to help cover the cost of the meal and guest speaker. Schedule 4:00       Registration and Visit with Vendors 4:30       Welcome and North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association Update …..

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Agriculture and Forest Landowners Meeting

There will be an Agriculture and Forest Landowners Meeting on Tuesday, January 17th from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.  The meeting is at the Powell Melvin Agricultural Service Center Auditorium located at 450 Smith Circle Drive in Elizabethtown.  Lunch is sponsored by Bladen County Farm Bureau and Cape Fear Farm Credit.  Please call the Bladen County Extension Office at 910-862-4591 to register by January 13th. Local agencies will give updates on the following: – Disaster Relief Update from Federal and State Legislators – Farm Bill and Farm Services Agency Updates – Voluntary Agricultural District Updates – Bladen County Cooperative Extension – Natural Resources Conservation District – Bladen County Soil and …..

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USDA

USDA Provides New Cost Share Opportunities for Organic Producers and Handlers

WASHINGTON, DC– The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that starting March 20, 2017, organic producers and handlers will be able to visit over 2,100 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices to apply for federal reimbursement to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic or transitional certification. “USDA reimburses organic producers up to 75 percent of the cost of organic certification, but only about half of the nation’s organic operations currently participate in the program,” said FSA Administrator Val Dolcini. “Starting March 20, USDA will provide a uniform, streamlined process for organic producers and handlers to apply for organic cost share assistance either by mail or in person …..

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New Master Gardners series beginning focuses on selling at farmers markets and restaurants

A new Master Gardners series will be kicking off in January that will teach students how to grow and sell their vegetables. According to Bladen County Cooperative Extension’s Horticulture agent Nancy Olson, the class will begin on January 24. “We are targeting homeowners who want to grow trees and maybe they have a few extra vegetables,” said Olson. She said the goal is to teach homeowners how they can grow and market their homegrown vegetables at their local farmers market or sell their products to local restaurants. Olson said a new trend in restaurants is serving what are called “ugly” vegetables. She said these are vegetables that are considered to …..

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USDA

Organic Producers and Handlers May Apply for Certification Cost Share Reimbursements; Expanded Eligibility for Transition and State Certification Cost

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that starting March 20, 2017, organic producers and handlers will be able to visit over 2,100 USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices to apply for federal reimbursement to assist with the cost of receiving and maintaining organic or transitional certification. USDA reimburses organic producers up to 75 percent of the cost of organic certification, but only about half of the nation’s organic operations currently participate in the program.  Starting March 20, USDA will provide a uniform, streamlined process for organic producers and handlers to apply for organic cost share assistance either by mail or in person. USDA is making changes to increase …..

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Bladen County FSA Announces 2016 County Committee Election Results

The Bladen County Farm Service Agency (FSA) recently completed its 2015 County Committee Elections and Steven H. Dunham was re- elected to a three year term beginning January 1, 2017.  Mr. Dunham will represent Local Administrative Area-3, which includes White Oak, Turnbull, Cypress Creek, Colly, Lake Creek, Frenches Creek, and Central Township. FSA committees are responsible for local administration of USDA- FSA farm programs, under the guidance of the State FSA Committee and applicable Federal Laws and regulations.  Then Bladen County FSA Committee meets the second Tuesday of each month at 9 a.m. at the Powell-Melvin Agriculture Service Center, USDA-FSA Office, located at 450 Smith Circle in Elizabethtown. Share:

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2017 Master Gardener Volunteer and Complete Gardener Program

The Bladen County Cooperative Extension is offering the popular Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program and Complete Gardener Program together for those interested in gardening and horticulture. The Complete Gardener Program will have no commitments after the training is completed. It is an opportunity for individuals to develop your skills, increase your knowledge base of gardening in North Carolina, and to share your expertise with others in both the classroom and hands-on experiences. Participants will receive 54 hours of training in a wide variety of horticulture related topics. Instruction for the program will be provided by North Carolina State University Staff, as well as representatives of the local horticulture industry. An …..

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USDA

Farmers and Communities Manage Deer Program

Donate Deer to Help Farmers and Feed the Hungry Farmers and communities manage deer is a successful program demonstrating  that farmers, sportsmen, deer processors and community groups can work together to limit deer damage to crops, increase local farm and community revenue and provide harvested venison to food pantries. Local food banks are often overwhelmed with the resources to feed hungry people requesting services.  Hunters typically limit their harvest to what their family can consume.  As deer populations continue to grow, this offers a good solution while increasing quality of life that can create new sustainable income for farmers, help feed the hungry in local communities and offer hunters more …..

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Quarantine area for the imported fire ant expanded

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is expanding a quarantine for the imported fire ant for the entire counties of Catawba, Northampton, Rowan and Rutherford, and the portion of Burke County south of U.S. 70. The expansion is effective Jan. 1, 2017, and will now include portions or entire areas of 74 counties. The quarantine means residents and business owners in those counties and portions of counties will now need to obtain a permit before moving plants, sod and related equipment into or through non-infested areas. Certificates can be obtained from a local plant protection specialist or by contacting the Plant Protection Section at 800-206-9333 or …..

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NCDA&CS announces healthy corner store funding; application deadline is Dec. 31

RALEIGH – Corner stores have until Dec. 31 to apply for funding that is meant to provide healthier food options for people living in food deserts in Eastern North Carolina. The Healthy Food Small Retailer Program, which is administered by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, was established in the 2016 state budget bill. The pilot program will reimburse participating stores for refrigeration, freezers and stocking equipment needed for healthier items. “There are 349 food deserts across our state, affecting about 1.5 million North Carolinians,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Corner stores and convenience stores are integral parts of their communities, and can play an important role in …..

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N.C. Agritourism Networking Association offers savings on annual conference if you register by Dec. 20

RALEIGH – Organizers of the N.C. Agritourism Networking Association’s annual conference have extended the early-bird registration deadline to Dec. 20. Registrants who sign up before the deadline can save $45 off the conference fee. Registration information and a schedule of events are available at www.nc-ana.org. The conference is scheduled for Jan. 9 and 10 at the Marriot in downtown Winston-Salem. It is open to agritourism farm operators and others who want to learn more about agritourism. The two-day event includes farm tours, workshops and educational sessions catered to those who welcome visitors to their farms. On Monday, Jan. 9, participants can take part in a five-stop farm tour to talk …..

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Farm Service Agency Extends Voting Deadline for County Committee Elections

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Michigan Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director, Christine white, today announced that the deadline to submit ballots for the 2016 County Committee Elections has been extended to ensure farmers and ranchers have sufficient time to vote. Eligible voters now have until Dec. 13, 2016 to return ballots to their local FSA offices. Producers who have not received their ballot should pick one up at their local FSA office. “We’re extending the voting deadline to Dec. 13 to give farmers and ranchers a few additional days to get their ballots in,” said White. “I urge all eligible producers, especially minorities and women, to get involved …..

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Farmers Markets offer variety of goods for holiday planning

The Bladenboro Farmers Market and the Cape Fear Farmers Market in Elizabethtown are open and gearing up for the holiday season.  The Bladenboro Farmers Market will be open all day Friday and closed on Christmas Eve. During the month of December they will offer homemade cakes and there will be fresh produce and pecans sold outside. The Bladenboro Farmers Market is located at 204 N. Main Street, Bladenboro. The Cape Fear Farmers Market in Elizabethtown is one Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily.  During the month of December craft vendors can be found each Saturday at the Cape Fear Farmers Market. They will have a variety …..

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FFA and 4-H gearing up for Regional Chicken Project

The Regional Chicken Project is an opportunity for youth in FFA and 4-H in the Southeastern Region to learn more about the livestock industry. Through this project, youth will get to choose hens or broiler chicks to purchase at a discounted rate. The birds will be raised and youth will complete a project record book to record their care and knowledge learned about chickens. In May, the youth will participate in the Southeastern Chicken Show, where they will demonstrate to the judge their knowledge of the bird. Training for this will be provided through workshops or classes. At the end of the project the youth will have the opportunity to …..

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Farm-City Banquet offers glimpse into blueberry production

The Bladen County Farm-City Week Banquet was held on Tuesday at the Cape Fear Farmer’s Market in Elizabethtown. Ralph Carter was the speaker for the evening.  Becky Spearman introduced the evening’s speaker Ralph Carter, owner Carter Farms and Vice-President of the Carolina Blueberry Association and President of the North Carolina Blueberry Council. Carter said that the cooler weather has helped to put the blueberry plants into a dormant phase for this year. He said just like people need to rest and sleep, so do the blueberry plants hence the dormant phase. “Bladen County has been good to us,” said Carter. He told those in attendance that he is a third …..

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Agritourism farms hosting fun activities for the holidays

RALEIGH – Farms across the state are opening up to visitors for the holidays, offering choose-and-cut Christmas trees, winter hayrides, visits with Santa and other fun activities. “Agritourism is a big part of North Carolina’s $84 billion agriculture economy,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “While many people may think about visiting farms during the spring or summer, the holidays can be a wonderful time to visit local farms with family and friends.” Christmas Trees and Poinsettias North Carolina is the second-largest producer of Christmas trees in the nation. Some choose-and-cut Christmas tree farms have already opened for the season, and even more are scheduled to open Thanksgiving weekend. Almond Christmas …..

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One Medicine Symposium examines human-animal health connections for 13th year

RALEIGH – Veterinarians, physicians and other health professionals will gather in Durham next month to learn more about the intersection of human and animal health and the environment at the One Medicine Symposium, sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. Topics at this year’s symposium, held Dec. 7 & 8 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel and Convention Center, include the latest information about the Zika virus, cat scratch disease, new infectious disease transmission pathways, canine Lyme disease and more. “In today’s environment, it is important to consider health issues from human and animal perspectives,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “This conference …..

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N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission begins work

RALEIGH – The N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission recently held its first meeting, officially beginning work to establish rules governing a pilot program for industrial hemp production in North Carolina. The commission’s first order of business was to elect Dr. Tom Melton, of N.C. State University as its chairman. Melton is deputy director of N.C. Cooperative Extension and leader of the Agriculture and Natural Resources Program. The commission came about following congressional changes to U.S. farm policies that allowed institutions of higher education and state departments of agriculture to participate in research-focused pilot programs for industrial hemp production. Interest in the crop has grown because industrial hemp has numerous uses as …..

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Board of Agriculture will meet Nov. 16 in Wilmington

RALEIGH – The N.C. Board of Agriculture will hold its quarterly meeting Wednesday, Nov. 16, at 2 p.m. in the Maritime Building at the N.C. Ports Authority in Wilmington. The meeting is open to the public. The board will act on the following items: *A request from the N.C. Tomato Growers Association to conduct a referendum asking growers to continue a self-assessment of $20 per acre on harvested commercial tomato acreage. The assessment supports research, education and promotion of North Carolina-grown tomatoes. *A request from the American Dairy Association of North Carolina to conduct a referendum asking producers whether they want to continue using a portion of their checkoff program …..

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USDA

USDA Resumes Incentives to Grow the Bioeconomy and Improve Forest Health

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that $1.5 million will be available in fiscal year 2017 for farmers and foresters who harvest and deliver biomass for renewable energy. The funds are from the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. “USDA investments in expanding biofuel feedstocks lay the foundation for more bioproducts made in rural America, supporting rural economic development, reducing carbon pollution and helping decrease our dependence on foreign energy,” said Dolcini. In fiscal year 2017, there is $3 million total available for BCAP, half of which is for harvesting and delivering …..

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NCDA&CS encourages consumers to support N.C. pecan growers this holiday season

RALEIGH – November is Pecan Month in North Carolina, which usually signifies the busiest time of year for growers ahead of the holiday rush. However, in storm-damaged Eastern North Carolina, pecan growers are hoping to have any business at all. “In an average year, North Carolina farmers grow 3 million to 5 million pounds of pecans. But 2016 was not an average year,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Many pecan growers are reporting 80 percent or more crop loss. We want to make sure that those growers are able to sell the crop they have left.” That’s why the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the N.C. Pecan …..

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Bladen has new Consumer Horticulture Agent

There is new Consumer Horticulture Agent who has joined the ranks of the Bladen County Cooperative Extension. Nancy Olsen recently began her duties at the Powell-Melvin Agriculture Center located on Smith Circle after teaching horticulture for ten years at Sampson Community College. Prior to her teaching career, Olsen said she worked at the Cumberland County Cooperative Extension office. When asked how she became interested in horticulture as a career, she laughed easily and said, “I grew up with Extension. I am originally from Kansas and participated in 4-H.” Olsen said that her father had trial plots and the local Extension agent was a family friend. she said everyone in the family …..

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USDA

USDA Expands Working-Lands Conservation Opportunities through CRP

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services Deputy Under Secretary Alexis Taylor today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will offer a new Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) Grasslands practice specifically tailored for small-scale livestock grazing operations. Small livestock operations with 100 or fewer head of grazing dairy cows (or the equivalent) can submit applications to enroll up to 200 acres of grasslands per farm. USDA’s goal is to enroll up to 200,000 acres. “For 30 years, lands in the Conservation Reserve Program have contributed to soil and water protection and wildlife and pollinator habitat, while playing a significant role in mitigating climate change,” said Taylor. “CRP Grasslands …..

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USDA

USDA Announces Enrollment Period for Safety Net Coverage in 2017

WASHINGTON, Oct. 28, 2016 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that producers on farms with base acres under the safety net programs established by the 2014 Farm Bill, known as the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) or Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, can begin visiting FSA county offices starting Nov. 1, 2016, to sign contracts and enroll for the 2017 crop year. The enrollment period will continue until Aug. 1, 2017. Share:

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FSA County Committee Elections to Begin; Producers to Receive Ballots Week of Nov. 7

Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin mailing ballots to eligible farmers and ranchers across the country for the 2016 FSA County Committee elections on Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. Producers must return ballots to their local FSA offices by Dec. 5, 2016, to ensure that their vote is counted. “Producers elected to FSA county committees play a vital role in local agricultural decisions,” said Dolcini. “Their contributions are essential to the daily operation of nearly 2,200 offices across the country. It is a valued partnership that helps us better understand the needs of the farmers and ranchers we serve.” …..

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