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Bladen County residents place in NC State Fair Competition

Contributed Bladen County residents of all ages love the NC State Fair as it is sure sign Fall has arrived. Many Bladen County residents enjoy entering the competitions the fair offers. Andrew Runion II, age 9, of Garland, grew watermelons this year for competition at the local fairs. He won the Cumberland County Fair and the Wayne County Fair, and he placed third in the North Carolina State Fair and 10th in GPC competition which includes other states. Andrew’s sister, Alexa Runion, 6, placed third for her apple. Their parents are Andy and Amber Runion of Garland. “We fought through two hurricanes. We had to store them (the watermelons) in the …..

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USDA

USDA Prepared to Respond to Hurricane Michael

Contributed (Washington, D.C., Oct. 11, 2018) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds rural communities, farmers and ranchers, families and small businesses potentially impacted by Hurricane Michael of programs to provide assistance in the wake of disasters. USDA staff in the regional, State and county offices stand ready and eager to help. Additionally, USDA’s Operations Center will function around the clock. “Hurricane Michael quickly grew into a dangerous storm, and residents within its path should heed the advice from their local authorities to ensure their safety,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. “All of USDA’s relevant agencies are ready to assist when natural disasters strike, and we will be there for …..

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USDA

Trump Administration Appoints Barry Bushue to Serve as State Executive Director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Oregon

Contributed TUALATIN, Ore. – October 11, 2018- The Trump Administration recently appointed Barry Bushue as the new State Executive Director (SED) for the USDA Oregon Farm Service Agency (FSA). Bushue will join the Oregon FSA team on Tuesday, October 9. Bushue is a proven leader and advocate for agriculture and natural resources in Oregon with over 25 years of experience in the industry. He is the owner and operator of Bushue Farming in Boring, Oregon. Bushue previously served as president and chief executive officer of the Oregon Farm Bureau Federation where he represented the agriculture industry by advocating for public policy for farmers and ranchers. He also served as vice …..

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NCDA&CS announces fifth phase of voluntary  floodplain swine buyout program

RALEIGH- The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has partnered with the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to continue its program to purchase permanent conservation easements on swine operations within the 100-year floodplain. This will be the fifth time the state has offered this program which began in 2000 following devastating flooding from Hurricane Floyd. The program offers an opportunity for swine production operations with a high risk of flooding to convert to other forms of agriculture more compatible with floodplain locations. A total of 42 swine operations from the 100-year floodplain were bought out using funds from four Clean Water Management Trust Fund grants totaling $18.7 million.  Buyout …..

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Local 4-H Agent Recognized for Accomplishments

Contributed Stacie Kinlaw, 4-H Youth Development Agent with NC Cooperative Extension, was recognized for an achievement during the 2018 North Carolina Association of Extension 4-H Agents Annual Conference held in Charlotte, NC. Kinlaw was awarded the prestigious TC Blalock Young Agent Award, 4-7 years, for her excellence in 4-H youth development.  She received her award during the evening Awards Banquet held in Charlotte, NC – the Queen City. Kinlaw’s application included highlights of her efforts in providing 4-H county programs in 2017. During the 2017 year, Stacie Kinlaw succeeded in many areas of her job, some highlights of her participation in 4-H include: *Serving as a key team member for …..

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NCDA&CS declares an internal quarantine for all North Carolina  counties for the Guava knot nematode

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has established an interior quarantine for all 100 counties for the Guava root knot nematode, Meloidogyne enterolobii.  Under the quarantine, regulated articles are prohibited from movement to non-quarantined states unless they meet the conditions specifically outlined in the official declaration.  The quarantine is effective immediately, and does not affect the movement of fresh market potatoes. Currently, the only other state where Guava root knot nematode is known to occur is Florida.  This nematode has been reported from China, Vietnam, Mexico, Brazil, Switzerland, Kenya and Nigeria. Guava root knot nematode is a serious pest of sweet potatoes, and can also infect …..

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Johnston County Hams Recalls Products Due to Listeria Concerns

WASHINGTON – Johnston County Hams, a Smithfield, N.C. establishment, is recalling approximately 89,096 pounds of ready-to-eat ham products that may be adulterated with Listeria monocytogenes, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The ready-to-eat deli-loaf ham items were produced from April 3, 2017 to Oct. 2, 2018. The following products are subject to recall: *Varying weights of 7 to 8-lbs. plastic-wrapped “JOHNSTON COUNTY HAMS, INC. COUNTRY STYLE FULLY COOKED BONELESS DELI HAM.” *Varying weights of 7 to 8-lbs. plastic-wrapped “Ole Fashioned Sugar Cured The Old Dominion Brand Hams Premium Fully Cooked Country Ham” with Sell-By dates from 4/10/2018 to 9/27/2019. *Varying weights of 7 to 8-lbs. plastic-wrapped “Padow’s …..

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Agritourism farms open up after Hurricane Florence

RALEIGH – Fall is one of the most anticipated times of year for agritourism operations, but the devastation from Hurricane Florence has left many farmers unsure if they will be able to offer pumpkin patches, corn mazes and other agritourism activities this year. “Agritourism farms in Eastern North Carolina were most affected, but we’ve received reports of damage from flash flooding and high winds in the Triad, Charlotte metro and other parts of the state as well,” said NCDA&CS agritourism marketing specialist Annie Baggett. Several farms were already open for the fall season before Hurricane Florence made landfall. Many of them had to close for two weekends or more. Baggett …..

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NCDA&CS offers soil management guidance after Hurricane Florence

RALEIGH – Hurricane Florence inundated southeastern NC with record rainfall and left many fields saturated and flooded for days, while fields in other areas of the state received only a few inches of rain. Although storms like this have complex effects across the landscape, two general effects are most important to consider: 1) soil disturbance, including erosion loss plus accumulation of soil and debris and 2) soil nutrient losses. “It is important to factor in soil disturbance and nutrient loss in your soil and crop management plans to lessen the impacts on upcoming growing seasons,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Our Agronomic Services Division can help with advice and testing …..

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Farmers suffer in more ways than one in Bladenboro

Photos contributed by Don White Written by Erin Smith While businesses and residents begin the process of rebuilding, Boost the ‘Boro members have been working to repair flood damage to the Bladenboro Farmers Market. The local Farmer’s Market is the host of fresh produce, handmade crafts and so much more. Hurricane Florence caused record breaking flooding and significant damage to the market. According to Boost the ‘Boro President, Don White Jr., there were 10 inches of flood water reported inside the farmers market. “That building was purposefully designed to be built up off the ground by 34 inches. Even with that, 10 inches of water was inside,” said White. He …..

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USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for October 2018

WASHINGTON, October 1, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation, today, announced interest rates for October 2018. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for October is 2.500 percent, up from 2.375 percent in September. The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during October is 3.500 percent, up from 3.375 percent in September. Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for October are as follows: 2.750 percent with three-year loan terms, the same as 2.750 in September; 2.750 percent with five-year loan terms, the same as 2.750 percent in September; 2.875 percent with seven-year loan terms, the same as …..

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Troxler announces availability of grants for bioenergy research and new and emerging crops

RALEIGH – The N.C. Bioenergy Research Initiative is seeking grant proposals focused on research and development of agricultural and forestry-based feedstocks for bioenergy production as well as new and emerging crops. “We are excited that the North Carolina Bioenergy Research Initiative will be offering $1 million in competitive grants for projects focused on bioenergy and the production of new and emerging crops,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Our state’s investment in agricultural research has helped maintain agriculture and agribusiness’ strength as the leading industry in the state. Bio-based industries and new emerging crops and products are potential opportunities to increase N.C. farm income.” High consideration will be given to projects …..

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USDA

Trump Administration Appoints Brent Hampy to Serve as State Executive Director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in Missouri

 September 28, 2018- The Trump Administration recently appointed Brent Hampy as the new State Executive Director for the USDA Missouri Farm Service Agency (FSA). Hampy will join the Missouri FSA team on Monday, Oct. 1. Hampy has extensive experience in production agriculture and public service. He has been a landowner since 1987 and has a row crop and cow-calf operation in Smithton, Missouri. Hampy has served as the Pettis County Commissioner since 2012 and was the chair of the Pioneer Trails Regional Planning Commission. He has served as a Missouri Farm Bureau State Board member since 2013 and previously held county leadership positions with the Missouri Pork Producers Association. Hampy …..

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Homeowners should review termite treatment agreements if flooding caused substantial damage

RALEIGH – Hurricane Florence not only flooded many areas, knocked out power and destroyed the possessions of thousands of homeowners and businesses in North Carolina, it may have washed away household termite protection as well, Commissioner Steve Troxler said today. “If soil eroded from around the foundation of a house, or if more soil was deposited on top of original soil, a home’s termite protection has been jeopardized,” Troxler said. “Where termite bait systems are in place, the bait or monitors in saturated stations may need to be replaced at the next scheduled monitoring.” In a conventional termite treatment using a liquid termiticide, the chemical applied to the soil next …..

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Swish, Slap, Splat: How to deal with mosquitoes

By Nancy Olsen, Bladen County Cooperative Extension Do you get eaten up in the evenings by thousands of blood-sucking mosquitoes? Do you fear going deaf from all the buzzing mosquitoes, which eagerly await your arrival into the yard? Mosquitoes have been around more than 50 million years and live in every possible environment, from the Arctic to the tropics. North Carolina has over 50 species of mosquitoes. Many of these are not a problem because they do not attack humans. Each type of mosquito may prefer blood from different kinds of animals – birds, frogs, deer, or humans. The mosquito has four life phases: eggs, larva, pupa and adult. Through …..

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USDA

USDA Adds Shelled Almonds and Fresh Sweet Cherry to Market Facilitation Program

Department Amends Timeline for Hogs Operations   WASHINGTON, Sept. 21, 2018 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced the addition of commodities to the trade mitigation package aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations. Starting Monday, Sept. 24, producers of shelled almonds and fresh sweet cherries may apply for Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments at their local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office. In addition, the timeline for hog producers has been extended. Perdue announced in July that USDA would act to aid farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation. President Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to …..

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Flooded crops cannot be used for human food

NCDA&CS, NCSU to help farms divert crops to animal feed with proper testing RALEIGH – Farmers whose crops were flooded by Hurricane Florence face not only the prospect of lower yields and loss of quality, but also the reality that those crops cannot be used for human food. Crops and commodities exposed to floodwaters are considered adulterated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and cannot enter human food channels. They also cannot be used for animal feed unless they pass a testing protocol. “Floodwater may contain sewage, harmful organisms, pesticides, chemical wastes or other substances,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Also, wet foods may grow mold, which can produce …..

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County sees loss of livestock, crop damage due to Hurricane Florence

By Erin Smith Bladen County’s farmers have suffered severe losses of livestock and crop damage as a result of Hurricane Florence. Chris Tatum with the Farm Service Agency office in Bladen County said on Thursday he had no estimated dollar amount yet for the losses as there are still areas of the County which remain inaccessible due to flooding. Tatum did say the County’s farmers have reported losses of poultry, swine and cattle. Again, Tatum said he had no exact figures yet as areas such as White Oak, Rowan and Kelly remain unaccessible to agriculture agents. “We did have a high mortality rate (for livestock),” said Tatum. “We have suffered …..

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NCDA&CS moving into communities to assess damage & assist in recovery

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is dispatching inspectors and field forces to begin assessing damage to the state’s agriculture industry and to ensure food is safe for consumers. Inspectors are waiting for flood waters to recede to safe levels before making site visits. In the meantime, they are contacting firms to determine which areas will be prioritized. “This was an unprecedented storm with flooding expected to exceed that from any other storms in recent memory. We know agricultural losses will be significant because the flooding has affected the top six agricultural counties in our state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, who conducted an aerial survey …..

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Remember safety first during storm debris cleanup

RALEIGH – Hurricane Florence has resulted in damaged and downed trees and branches. The N.C. Forest Service is encouraging homeowners and anyone else looking to clean up after a storm to exercise caution and think safety first. Unless a damaged tree is a safety risk, tree removal decisions can come later after the storm cleanup. After a storm, hasty or emotional decisions about damaged trees can result in unnecessary removals or drastic pruning decisions. The following are some basic guidelines: Debris cleanup Cleaning up downed debris is fraught with safety risks including a debris field making for poor footing and potentially downed electric lines. If electrical wires are an issue, …..

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NCDA&CS activates hotline to help farmers impacted by Hurricane Florence

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has activated its hotline to connect farmers with resources that can assist with agricultural emergencies. The toll-free number is 1-866-645-9403. The hotline operates 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. “Although this storm may change course, we are monitoring the situation closely,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We advise everyone to take this situation seriously and take proper safety measures. We are prepared to work with our state and local partners to help our agricultural community as needed.” Farmers can also find recovery resources on the department’s disaster Web pages, www.ncagr.gov/disaster. Share:

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Farmers Preparing for Wrath of Hurricane Florence

By Erin Smith Bladen County’s farmers have been busy this week preparing for the wrath of Hurricane Florence. Chris Tatum, with the Bladen County Farm Service Agency, said farmers are extremely busy right now. “Most of our farmers are going wide open with the State of Emergency in place, harvesting corn and tobacco,” said Tatum. He said as of Tuesday morning, about 70 percent of Bladen County’s corn crop and about 60 to 65 percent of Bladen County’s tobacco crop have been harvested. “The farmers are doing everything they can to get the crops out of the fields right now,” said Tatum. Tatum said the county’s cotton, soybeans, and peanut …..

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Statement from Agriculture Commissioner Troxler on waiving of motor vehicle regulations to help farmers

RALEIGH – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler released the following statement regarding Gov. Roy Cooper’s issuance of Executive Orders 51 and 52 in preparation for Tropical Storm Florence: “With the potential impact of Tropical Storm Florence next week and the threat of severe economic loss of livestock, poultry and crops, I appreciate Gov. Cooper issuing a state of emergency for North Carolina. At my recommendation and as allowed by state law, the Governor has directed the Department of Public Safety to temporarily suspend weighing vehicles used to transport livestock, poultry, feed and crops in the emergency area. The order also waives the maximum hours of service allowed for people transporting essential …..

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USDA Launches Trade Mitigation Programs

(Washington, D.C., September 4, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today launched the trade mitigation package aimed at assisting farmers suffering from damage due to unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations.  Producers of certain commodities can now sign up for the Market Facilitation Program (MFP), while USDA will also begin to purchase identified commodities under a food purchase and distribution program.  Additionally, USDA has begun accepting proposals for the Agricultural Trade Promotion Program (ATP), which will help American farmers find and access new markets for their products.  In total, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with World Trade Organization obligations. Perdue announced in July that USDA would …..

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Motions filed to allow appeal process to begin for third hog farm case

By Erin Smith Attorneys involved in the hog farm lawsuits against Murphy-Brown LLC have filed motions to allow an appeal to the verdict in the third case. The motions were filed in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, on Thursday afternoon. The Plaintiffs’ attorney, Michael Kaeske, filed three motions. The first motion is the plaintiffs’ response to the Defendant’s motion submitted to the federal court asking Judge Earl Britt to enter final judgement in the case against Dean Hilton. The Plaintiffs response notes they no longer oppose the appeal process based on recent developments in the case. The Plaintiff’s motion to the federal court states that due …..

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Smithfield Foods moving distribution center to Bladen County

By Charlotte Smith Smithfield Foods announced plans to construct a new distribution center and expand its blast cell cold storage capabilities at its processing facility in Tar Heel back in August of 2017. The company announced yesterday the Distribution Center in Clayton will be moved to the pork processing plant in Bladen County. The new distribution operation center in Tar Heel will better meet customers needs, according to a statement released by Smithfield.  Smithfield has invested about $100 million in its latest projects according to past BladenOnline.com articles. The Clayton facility houses 102 employees. The new operation in Tar Heel is projected to provide 250 jobs in addition to the previously announced 30 …..

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Sludge Treatment Wetland in Tar Heel, NC

Jordan Phasey, Founder of Phinite, Inc. has created the first full scale Sludge Treatment Wetland in Tar Heel, NC and it could be the answer hog farmers are looking for when dealing with disposal issues of their hog waste. Becky Spearman with the Bladen County Department of Soil and Water Conservation District linked Phasey with Bladen County Hog Farmer, Michael Inman in Tar Heel, NC.  R & M Farms owned by Inman has been in operation since 1998. Excited about the possibility of the new permanent solution to sludge management, Inman and Phasey pose for a photo while holding a sign stating, “This farm is committed to Sustainable Agriculture.” Exactly …..

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September is N.C. Wine and Grape Month

RALEIGH – Wineries, grape growers, restauranteurs 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 …..

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Agritourism farms offer family fun this fall

RALEIGH – From pumpkin patches and apple picking to wine tastings and farm stays, there is something every member of the family can enjoy this fall in North Carolina. More than 1,000 farms in the state offer agritourism activities, and many will be opening their gates for visitors this fall. Following is a selection of agritourism events happening this fall sorted by region: Western North Carolina Addison Farms Vineyard in Leicester will host a five-course progressive wine tasting tour with Chef Corey Marino. The Taste and Sip of Appalachia event will be held Sept. 23 at 3 p.m. Reservations can be made on the vineyard’s website. B&B Farm in Lincolnton will open its pumpkin …..

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State environmental officials seek public input on draft swine waste management permit    

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality will host a public meeting on Oct. 4 in Greenville to obtain input on the state’s draft swine waste management system general permit (AWG100000), which nearly all North Carolina hog farms are required to comply with. Information shared at the event will include a summary of a technical work group session held earlier that day. Community feedback obtained through the meeting will assist environmental regulators in preparing a final draft permit which will be published for public review early next year. The public meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Oct. 4 at East Carolina University’s Murphy Center located at 9999 Pirates Walk, Greenville, N.C. 27858. …..

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Bladen resident earns first place

Contributed A Bladen County resident has earned first place at the Cumberland County Fair. Andrew Runion’s prize winning watermelon weighed in at 167 pounds. His father, Andy Runion, said Andrew has more watermelons growing and he plans to enter the competition at the NC State Fair in Raleigh in October. Share:

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USDA Announces Details of Assistance for Farmers Impacted by Unjustified Retaliation

(Washington, D.C., August 27, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced details of actions the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations. President Donald J. Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. As announced last month, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with our World Trade Organization obligations. “Early on, the President instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to …..

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Sunrise on farm industry

The sun rises again on the farm industry. Captured in this photo is the industrial park in Bladenboro. The park houses different farming industries and their operations.  Share:

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Plaintiffs withdraw opposition to appeal in hog farm lawsuits

By Erin Smith The first of the appeals of the verdicts in the first three hog farm lawsuits against Murphy Brown, LLC may soon be moving forward after the plaintiffs filed a motion Wednesday afternoon withdrawing their opposition to the appeal. The Plaintiffs’ attorney, Michael Kaeske, filed three motions on Wednesday afternoon in the United States Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia. The first motion notes there is no reason to delay the entry of final judgement in the first three cases which were tried. This will clear the way for the appeals process to begin. The second motion filed by Kaeske requests the appeal process be allowed …..

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USDA

USDA Announces Assistance to Pecan Growers Affected by 2017 Weather Events

Washington, D.C.– The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that additional assistance has been made available for pecan growers to replant and replace trees through the Tree Assistance Program (TAP) as they recover from the impacts of 2017 weather events, which was made available by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018. “Pecan orchards were hard hit in by storms in 2017. I saw first-hand the damage inflicted on communities, resources and the land.” said USDA Farm Production and Conservation Under Secretary Bill Northey. “These funds will help the industry recover and replace lost and damaged trees.” Funding will be provided through the TAP, a program administered by the Farm Service Agency …..

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USDA

USDA Announces Details of Assistance for Farmers Impacted by Unjustified Retaliation

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced details of actions the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will take to assist farmers in response to trade damage from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations. President Donald J. Trump directed Secretary Perdue to craft a short-term relief strategy to protect agricultural producers while the Administration works on free, fair, and reciprocal trade deals to open more markets in the long run to help American farmers compete globally. As announced last month, USDA will authorize up to $12 billion in programs, consistent with our World Trade Organization obligations. “Early on, the President instructed me, as Secretary of Agriculture, to make sure …..

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Vince Ferrante leads Southern Belle into vegetables

Contributed Southern Belle Organics, Bladenboro, N.C., has hired Vince Ferrante to help the blueberry company expand into organic and conventional vegetables. Ferrante, executive vice president at Southern Belle, has a background in vegetables and berries, according to a news release. For 20 years, he helped manage Teixeira Farms, a Santa Maria, Calif., operation owned by his wife’s family. He was senior director of operations for Dole Fresh Vegetables and later managed Dole Berry Co.’s West Coast and Mexico berry operations, according to the release. Ferrante has been the chief operating officer of North Carolina sweet potato grower-shipper Wayne E. Bailey Produce and most recently was vice president of business development for Dave’s Specialty …..

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West Bladen High School FFA officers participate in officer training camp

By Olivia Sholar, West Bladen High School FFA Secretary West Bladen High School’s 2018-2019 FFA officers participated in officer training camp on Tuesday and Wednesday, August 7 and 8, 2018. The first day was spent focused on discussion of the upcoming year for the club. Teams designed t-shirts for the club members and practiced team building skills to form strong interpersonal relationships. The officers also studied their FFA Constitution and plan to make changes in the future with the members’ input guiding the decisions. On the second day, the officers visited the Ronald McDonald House in Chapel Hill to bake cookies for its residents. The staff were very kind and …..

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Upcoming Events

Get Your Yard Ready For Winter

Doing a few winter chores now will assure you  of extra time come spring. Come to class to find out what needs to be done and how best to take care of the lawn, vegetable garden, house plants, perennials and other outdoor spaces prior to the cold season. When: October 10, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm Where: NCCE-Bladen County Center, 450 Smith Circle Dr., Elizabethtown, NC 28337 Free of charge Register by October 8th Contact Nancy Olsen (910)-862-4591 for more information.     Share:

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Upcoming Events

Straw Bale/Wine Bottle Decoration

A fun little project using a small straw bale and three empty wine bottles. I will provide a straw bale and hot glue. You will need to bring three wine bottles, one string of 100 white Christmas lights and flowers or whatever you are using to decorate. This would be beautiful at the front door, on the dining room table or on the patio. When: September 26, 10:00 am to 12:00 noon Where: NCCE-Bladen County Center, 450 Smith Circle Dr., Elizabethtown, NC 28337 Free of charge Register by September 24th Contact Nancy Olsen (910)-862-4591 for more information.       Share:

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Upcoming Events

Holiday Wreath Making

A great holiday activity to make a wreath for the front door, inside the house or back gate. I will provide the green wreath and hot glue. You will need to bring ribbon, flowers, seeds, pods, glitz and whatever you are decorating with. Think outside the box and design a fantastic holiday wreath.   When: November 2, 9:00 am to 12:00 noon Where: NCCE-Bladen County Center, 450 Smith Circle Dr., Elizabethtown, NC 28337   Free of charge Register by October 30th Contact Nancy Olsen, (910)-862-4591 for more information. Share:

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NCDA&CS declares sweet potato weevil quarantine for  Berkeley and Jasper counties in South Carolina

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has established Berkeley and Jasper counties in South Carolina as quarantine areas for the sweet potato weevil after the highly destructive pest was trapped on wild morning glory by South Carolina regulatory officials. The quarantine is effective immediately. Under the quarantine, the movement of certain sweet potato-related articles from Berkeley and Jasper counties in South Carolina is prohibited or regulated. This includes sweet potato roots, potatoes and plants including ornamental sweet potato plants, sweet potato vines, and vines or roots of other plants belonging to the morning glory family. Sweet potato weevils are generally considered the most serious threat …..

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Farmers, industry leaders and others participate in On Farm Readiness Review Demonstration

WHO/WHAT: The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, National Association of State Departments of Agriculture, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and North Carolina Farm Bureau will kick off a two-day On Farm Readiness Review demonstration. The program is geared to assess farmers’ readiness to comply with the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. Part of this act, the Produce Safety Rule, went into effect this year for larger farms. This represents the most sweeping regulatory changes in more than 70 years and the first time inspectors will be proactively inspecting produce at the farm level. Speakers include Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, N.C. Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten, Dr. Rich …..

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Troxler encourages horse owners to vaccinate against EEE Cases on the rise; mosquito-borne disease usually deadly to equine

 The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services recently confirmed a sixth positive case of Eastern Equine Encephalitis for 2018. In the last month there have been confirmed cases in Richmond, Onslow, Duplin, Craven and Carteret counties. In all cases, the equines had no records of vaccinations or were not vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian. “Last year we didn’t reach six cases of EEE in the state until October,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The excess rain this year, or just an increase in mosquito population, could be attributing to the early onset of cases. “EEE is a mosquito-borne disease that causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal …..

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USDA

Deadline Approaches for Continuous Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment

WASHINGTON — Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Richard Fordyce reminded producers today that the deadline to sign up for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is Friday, Aug. 17, 2018. “Any agricultural producer that has eligible land should review the benefits of this program,” said Fordyce.  “It removes from production marginal, erodible land and, in doing so, improves water quality, increases wildlife habitat and provides more opportunities for recreational activities, including fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing.” For this year’s signup, limited priority practices are available for continuous enrollment. They include grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others. View a full list of practices. FSA will use updated soil …..

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Pollinator Field Day to be held Sept. 8 at the Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury

SALISBURY – The Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury will host Pollinator Field Day on Saturday, September 8, from 1 to 5 p.m. “Because pollinators play such a vital role in crop production, it is important to protect and promote their health,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “This field day is designed to help farmers, beekeepers, urban planners, landscapers and landscape architects, master gardeners, greenhouse growers and others learn more about these valued ag “workers” and how to create habitat for them.” Attendees will learn about habitat for farms, roadsides or constructed pollinator meadows; plants that make for good pollinator habitat; native bees, butterflies and beneficial insects; honeybees and beekeeping; pesticide …..

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NCDA&CS issues stop-sale order on tractor hydraulic fluid J303

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has issued a stop-sale order for tractor hydraulic fluid products labeled, claimed or implied as meeting THF 303, which has no known specifications available. This specification was discontinued in 1974 and it was subsequently replaced with the current JDM-J20C or D specifications. Manufacturers and distributors will have six months to remove these products from retail locations. These products may be relabeled to either remove the J303 specification or include a more recent John Deere specification it does meet. Online sales shall include a note that these products are not legal in North Carolina. The Division’s Motor Fuels Laboratory tested nine …..

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USDA

Deadline Approaches for Continuous Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment

WASHINGTON, August 7, 2018 — Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Richard Fordyce reminded producers today that the deadline to sign up for enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) is Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.   “Any agricultural producer that has eligible land should review the benefits of this program,” said Fordyce.  “It removes from production marginal, erodible land and, in doing so, improves water quality, increases wildlife habitat and provides more opportunities for recreational activities, including fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing.”   For this year’s signup, limited priority practices are available for continuous enrollment. They include grassed waterways, filter strips, riparian buffers, wetland restoration and others. View a full list …..

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Van Oriental Foods Inc. Recalls Pork Egg Rolls

Van Oriental Foods Inc., a Dallas, Texas establishment, is recalling approximately 10,385 pounds of heat treated but not fully cooked and not shelf stable pork egg rolls that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically soft plastic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. The pork egg rolls were produced on May 30, 2018. The products have a shelf life of 12 months if frozen and 11 days if refrigerated. The following product is subject to recall: 5.4-oz. packages containing two pieces of “VAN’S KITCHEN 2 EGG ROLLS PORK GRAB AND GO” with lot code 18150, a Julian date of 18150A and various “FRESHNESS …..

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Agriculture Commissioner Troxler calls on FDA to take quick action to enforce truth in labeling on milk products

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler has called on the Food and Drug Administration to enforce the standard of identity for milk and require proper labeling of plant-based beverages as part of comments made recently at FDA’s Nutrition Innovation Strategy Public Meeting. Assistant Commissioner for Consumer Protection Joe Reardon made comments on behalf of the department at the open meeting, in which he highlighted an existing FDA definition of milk and a recognized standard of identity for milk. In advocating for enforcement, Reardon said “without enforcement of the law as written, the validity of all standards of identity is compromised. Uniformity and consistency of enforcement are hallmarks of an effective regulatory program.” …..

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USDA

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for August 2018

WASHINGTON, August 1, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation, today, announced interest rates for August 2018. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for August is 2.375 percent, up from 2.250 percent in July. The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during August is 3.375 percent, up from 3.250 percent in July. Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for August are as follows: 2.625 percent with three-year loan terms, the same as 2.625 percent in July; 2.750 percent with five-year loan terms, the same as 2.750 percent in July; 2.875 percent with seven-year loan terms, the same …..

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USDA

Nearly $2 Billion Now Available for Eligible Producers Affected by 2017 Hurricanes and Wildfires

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that agricultural producers affected by hurricanes and wildfires in 2017 now may apply for assistance to help recover and rebuild their farming operations. Signup began July 16, 2018, and continues through Nov. 16, 2018. “Hurricanes and wildfires caused billions of dollars in losses to America’s farmers last year. Our objective is to get relief funds into the hands of eligible producers as quickly as possible,” said Secretary Perdue. “We are making immediate, initial payments of up to 50 percent of the calculated assistance so producers can pay their bills.” Additional payments will be issued, if funds remain available, later in the year. The program, known …..

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USDA

USDA Opens Election Period for Seed Cotton Program

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that seed cotton producers, who want to participate in the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs for the 2018 crop year, may now submit applications. The signup period begins today and ends on Dec. 7, 2018. In accordance with changes to ARC and PLC made by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, farm owners with generic base acres and recent planting history of covered commodities have a one-time opportunity to allocate all of the generic base acres on their farm. “ARC and PLC are a vital part of the safety net that ensures American agriculture remains …..

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FDA warns: Do not purchase Honey Smacks Cereal

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia as well as the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA & CS) are warning consumers not to purchase any packages of Kelloggs Honey Smacks Cereal. Retailers have been asked to stop selling the products after more than 30 people sickened by the product. A recall was issued in June after the product was found to be contaminated with Salmonella but the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Inspectors found as recently as this week that retailers in North Carolina are continuing to sell Honey Smacks Cereal. “We are concerned we …..

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NCDA&CS offers organic certification cost-share assistance

RALEIGH – Organic growers in North Carolina can apply for partial reimbursement of the cost of becoming certified or for recertification through a program offered by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Growers who are certified or recertified between Oct. 1, 2017, and Sept. 30, 2018, can apply for assistance through the program. “Applicants can be reimbursed up to 75 percent of the cost of organic certification per category,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Funds are available on a first-come, first-served basis, and I would encourage growers and handlers to submit their applications early.” Under the grant, operations can be certified and reimbursed in four separate categories: crops, livestock, …..

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USDA

Bladen County Producers Have Until Aug. 1 to Submit FSA County Committee Nominations

Elizabethtown, NC — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director for BladenCounty, Chris Tatum, today reminded farmers and ranchers that they have until Aug. 1, 2018, to nominate eligible candidates to serve on local FSA county committees. County committees are made up of farmers and ranchers elected by other producers in their communities to guide the delivery of farm programs at the local level. Committee members play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of FSA. “The Aug. 1 deadline is quickly approaching,” said Tatum. “If you know of a great candidate or want to nominate yourself to serve on your local county committee, visit …..

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USDA

Nearly $2 Billion Now Available for Eligible Producers Affected by 2017 Hurricanes and Wildfires

WASHINGTON, July 16, 2018 – Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced that agricultural producers affected by hurricanes and wildfires in 2017 now may apply for assistance to help recover and rebuild their farming operations. Signup begins July 16, 2018, and continues through November 16, 2018. “Hurricanes and wildfires caused billions of dollars in losses to America’s farmers last year. Our objective is to get relief funds into the hands of eligible producers as quickly as possible,” said Secretary Perdue. “We are making immediate, initial payments of up to 50 percent of the calculated assistance so producers can pay their bills.” Additional payments will be issued, if funds remain available, later …..

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Mid-summer Leaf Fall

Everything is going along fine, then your favorite tree’s leaves begin to drop. What caused this and will the tree die? Here is a list of factors that could lead to mid-summer leaf drop. 1. In droughts, a tree may shed up to 10 percent of its leaves. This helps, because then it loses less water into the air. Loss of this much food-making capacity does little harm. 2. Vigorous trees may produce too many leaves. In wet springs, foliar growth may be over lush. Once normal summer dryness arrives, the excess leaves drop in adjustment. Such physiological leaf drop doesn’t hurt trees. 3. Inner leaves and twigs are “shaded …..

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OPINION: Hog trial misleading; living high on the hog isn’t for everyone

By Charlotte Smith Some would agree country living is worth millions, maybe even priceless. Jurors in two landmark trials have awarded multi-millions of dollars to country neighbors in the recent months. Bladen County farmers are in the midst of the third lawsuit in a series of more than 20 cases over the nuisances from smells and pests. The plaintiffs claim nuisances are produced on the farms stretched across Bladen, Duplin, Harnett, Johnston, Onslow, Pender, Robeson, Sampson, and Wake counties. Rural, farm counties may see changes they don’t like in the coming months and years. My husband and I lived over 12 years as country neighbors. We had dozens of mice …..

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NCDA&CS Agronomic Services can help ID growth concerns

RALEIGH — With the growing season for summer agronomic crops underway and many landscapes actively growing, it is an excellent time to utilize diagnostic testing to identify existing abnormal growth problems. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Agronomic Services Division offers a range of services to help optimize crops and yards. Soil testing, nematode assay, and plant tissue analyses are usually used for predictive, routine testing, but they can also help identify a current growth concern or problem. With soil testing, clients receive reports with crop-specific lime and fertilizer recommendations. A nematode assay will provide crop-specific control measures based on nematode species and populations. Plant tissue analysis provides …..

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Jury to decide country smell or collateral damage in hog industry law suit

By Charlotte Smith The United States District Court in Raleigh was packed full Wednesday for the opening arguments during the third lawsuit involving hog farms and their neighbors. Two prior lawsuits against the hog industry has resulted in millions of dollars in fines effecting Bladen County farmers since April of this year. A jury of 10 women and two men will decide the fate of the next lawsuit in line with at least 20 more cases to follow. Michael Kaeske, a Texas attorney representing the Plaintiffs in the cases gave his teams opening arguments stating, “Murphy Farms, Inc is industrialized”. He continued to point out how since 1972 the companies …..

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Early morning in Tar Heel

Rural Bladen County offers many beautiful views to those who drive through it. The sunrise above was captured near Tar Heel on Wednesday morning as the sun made its appearance above a pasture. The peaceful scene beckons one to stop and sit for a while. Share:

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State sees first EEE case of the year

Equine owners encouraged to vaccinate animals RALEIGH – A four-year-old quarter horse stallion in Richmond County was euthanized after contracting the first case of Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis in North Carolina this year. EEE is a mosquito-borne disease that is preventable in equine by vaccination. EEE causes inflammation or swelling of the brain and spinal cord and is usually fatal. Symptoms include impaired vision, aimless wandering, head pressing, circling, inability to swallow, irregular staggering gait, paralysis, convulsions and death. Once a horse has been bitten by an infected mosquito, it may take three to 10 days for signs of the disease to appear. “If your horses exhibit any symptoms of EEE, …..

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Commissioners learn about FFA Center Expansion

By Erin Smith The Bladen County Board of Commissioners learned about a planned expansion of the facilities at the FFA Camp located at White Lake.North Carolina FFA Foundation Director of Development Alycia Thornton told the board there will be a groundbreaking on Wednesday, August 1, 2018, for a new dormitory and male bath house. Thornton was joined by Gerald Barlow, who is also with Future Farmers of America (FFA) North Carolina. She addressed the Commissioners regarding the North Carolina FFA Center initiative. Thornton told the Commissioners that there is a need for additional space for females and a need for renovations to the existing female dormitory. Plans are to add …..

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USDA

Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) Educational Tool Available for Farms who planted seed cotton

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is notifying farmers with generic base acres that planted seed cotton that a new tool is available to assist them in understanding how the new seed cotton program may affect their FSA payments. It helps a producer make decisions on how to allocate generic base acres to other covered crops based on a producer’s planting history. The educational tool can be viewed at https://www.afpc.tamu.edu/tools/cotton-base. Developed by Texas A&M University, the tool is for educational purposes only, and by using the tool, it is agreed that the results are not a guarantee of future FSA program parameters or payments. Users also acknowledge …..

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Bladen Online News Advertising

Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) Educational Tool Available for Farms with Generic Base Acres that Planted Seed Cotton

July 5, 2018 —The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) is notifying farmers with generic base acres that planted seed cotton that a new tool is available to assist them in understanding how the new seed cotton program may affect their FSA payments. It helps a producer make decisions on how to allocate generic base acres to other covered crops based on a producer’s planting history. The educational tool can be viewed at https://www.afpc.tamu.edu/tools/cotton-base. Developed by Texas A&M University, the tool is for educational purposes only, and by using the tool, it is agreed that the results are not a guarantee of future FSA program parameters or payments. Users …..

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Gagging local farmers and awarding millions

By Charlotte Smith Bladen County farmers along with pork companies in the mother county are grasping for help after a multi-million dollar lawsuit. The verdict handed down in one case resulted in a Bladen County farmer losing all his hogs according to witnesses. There are over 20 more similar pork industry lawsuits set to take place and the next one has other local farmers fighting to keep their farms. In April, 10 hog farm neighbors were awarded 50 million dollars by a jury. To comply with a 1995 North Carolina law capping damages the judge presiding over the landmark verdict reduced the damage sentence from 50 million dollars to 3.25 …..

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USDA

Bladen County Farm Service Agency Acreage Reporting Dates for 2018

Elizabethtown, N.C. , July 5, 2018 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director Chris Tatum in Bladen County today announced that producers who file accurate and timely reports for all crops and land uses, including failed acreage, can prevent the potential loss of FSA program benefits. Please pay close attention to the acreage reporting dates below. “In order to comply with FSA program eligibility requirements, all producers are encouraged to visit the Bladen County FSA office to file an accurate crop certification report by the applicable deadline,” said Tatum.   The following acreage reporting dates are applicable for Bladen County: July 15, 2018:  Spring Seeded …..

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Tasty Ways to Support Your Local Farmers 

by Jacqueline DiGiovanni With scares over contaminated, big-ag produce the last few years, consumers have become more interested in where their food comes from, how it is grown and how far it traveled to get to their tables. People have become more interested in growing their own vegetables and herbs, or when space and time do not allow for that, they shop at farmers markets. Some consumers take it a step further and partner with a farmer to grow their food through a community supported agriculture program, or CSA. Tips for Shopping Farmers Markets If you are new to farmers markets, expect your experience to be educational and fun. Some …..

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N.C. Forest Service seedling sales begin July 2

RALEIGH — The North Carolina Forest Service Nursery Program will be accepting orders for seedlings on July 2. The NCFS produces about 16 million quality seedlings for nearly 50 species of conifers and hardwoods annually, including an expanded selection of control mass-pollinated loblolly pine seedlings. These seedlings offer superior growth, form and disease resistance due to solid nursery research and production experience. “Trees are one of North Carolina’s greatest renewable resources and an important economic driver in North Carolina, contributing around $32.7 billion annually to the state’s economy and provide more than 150,000 jobs for North Carolinians through the forest products industry,” said N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. The NCFS nursery …..

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General Assembly overrides Governor’s veto of NC Farm Bill

By Erin Smith The NC General Assembly completed an override of Governor Roy Cooper’s veto of the NC Farm Bill 2018 on Wednesday morning. The measure will now become law and it will restrict when and how neighbors of farms can file a lawsuit. The NC Senate override vote was 37 for and 9 against on Tuesday and the NC House override vote was 74 for and 45 against on Wednesday morning. The law attempts to modify the State’s right to farm law after a federal court ruling scuttled the law and removed protections for farms. One provision of the NC Farm Bill states that a plaintiff may not receive …..

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Governor vetoes NC Farm Bill

By Erin Smith NC Governor Roy Cooper vetoed the NC Farm Act of 2018, which addresses several issues that are facing North Carolina’s farmers and their families. The NC General Assembly will attempt to override the veto this week. NC Rep. William Brisson, a Republican who represents NC District 22 which includes Bladen County said, “I’m sure we’ll have the votes to override the veto.” He added that NC Farm Bill does have some bipartisan support in the General Assembly. It is on calendar to be discussed Wednesday, June 27th, according to Rep. Brisson. NC Senator Brent Jackson, a Republican of Sampson County, said the bill attempts to modify the …..

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USDA

USDA Announces Loan Rates for 2018-Crop Peanuts

WASHINGTON – U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) today announced 2018-crop loan rates for four types of peanuts. Eligible producers can obtain peanut loans through their local FSA county offices or alternative delivery partners (DMA’s – Designated Marketing Associations, and CMA’s – Cooperative Marketing Associations). These loans provide producers with interim financing on their production, and facilitate the orderly distribution of loan-eligible peanuts throughout the year. The 2014 Farm Bill established the national loan rate for peanuts at $355 per ton, which is unchanged from the previous farm bill. CCC calculated the price support levels for each peanut type using the same method as last year. CCC …..

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West Bladen FFA Members attend North Carolina State FFA Convention

Contributed West Bladen FFA members attended the 90th North Carolina State FFA Convention from June 19th-21st, 2018.  The State FFA Convention was held at the Raleigh Convention Center located in downtown Raleigh.  During the Convention, West Bladen FFA members competed in the Agriculture Mechanics, Agricultural Tools and Materials Identification, Food Science and Technology, and Prepared Public Speaking Career Development Events. During the 2017-2018 school year, the West Bladen FFA Chapter grew by at least 30 members.  Due to this growth, West Bladen FFA received a membership growth award and on-stage recognition during the 2nd general session of FFA Convention.  West Bladen FFA member, Rainey Thompson, was recognized on stage during …..

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USDA

USDA to Help Producers Prepare for Addition of Seed Cotton to Two Key Safety Net Programs

Information to Help Farmers and Ranchers Select the Coverage Options that Fit Their Needs WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is sending acreage history and yield reports to agricultural producers with generic base acres covered by the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs. This information will help producers decide the best options for how to allocate generic base acres, given the addition of seed cotton as a covered commodity in the programs. “We’re sending this information to make sure farmers and ranchers have the data they need to make critical decisions about these USDA programs,” said Richard Fordyce, administrator of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA). …..

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Gardening: Closed to Pests

By Rachel Williams Gardening is harder than it looks … just when we think we know what we’re doing, our beds are attacked by outside forces. How to prevent ultimate defeat? Rather, how to be at war with nature, when you’re trying to be in harmony? Be your garden’s ally – provide adequate reinforcements by instituting an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) plan using some of these methods. As with insects, our ecosystem is delicate. Please think through your actions carefully – you wouldn’t want to go get your legs waxed and end up leaving with a bald head. Okay, the bad news first: There’s no such thing as 100 percent …..

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US House Passes 2018 Farm Bill

WASHINGTON, DC –  Congressman Rouzer released the statement below following the passage of H.R. 2 – the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill: “A strong farm bill is critical to our farm families and rural communities — not to mention its role in providing every American with the safest, most affordable food supply in the world.  The 7th District will especially benefit from the Farm Bill because of the steps taken to prevent potential animal disease outbreaks, the enhancements made to the farm safety net, and the investments made to help address the infrastructure needs of our rural communities.  The Farm Bill also makes …..

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North Carolina peach season under way

RALEIGH – Good news for peach lovers. Growers are reporting fair to good crops for the 2018 peach season, which runs through Labor Day. “Growers are reporting an average crop with availability varying depending on where the orchard is located. We’ve seen some loss in early varieties, but later clingstone varieties and freestone varieties should be plentiful this year,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Our growers are really good at protecting their crops from volatile weather, but you can only do so much about the extreme cold weather and heavy rains we experienced earlier this year.” Troxler encourages consumers to check with their favorite peach grower for availability and timing …..

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All About Squash Workshop

The Bladen County Cooperative Extension Office is offering a workshop “All About Squash” on Tuesday, July 24, at 6 p.m. Learn what to do with your excess summer squash. The workshop will explore a variety of ways to use squash in your meals. There is no cost to attend. The Bladen County Cooperative Extension Office is located at 450 Smith Circle in Elizabethtown. For more information contact Nancy Olsen at 910-862-4591.   Share:

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Garden Tool repair workshop set

Learn how to repair, sand and sharpen your garden tools the right way. The Bladen County Cooperative Extension Office will be conducting a Garden Tool Repair Workshop on Thursday, August 16, from 6 p.m. until 9 p.m. Bring your spade, hoe, and hand clippers. A very nice tool kit will be provided for participants. The cost is $15 registration and the class will be conducted at the Bladen County Cooperative Extension Office located at 450 Smith Circle, Elizabethtown. Reserve your space by August 13th. Contact Nancy Olsen at 910-862-4591 for more information. Share:

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Farmers Can ‘Bee’ a Friend to Pollinators

Did you know what’s good for bees, butterflies and other pollinators can also be good for your bottom line? Through a variety of USDA conservation programs, farmers and ranchers can manage for top-notch pollinator habitat while also improving their operations. Three-fourths of the world’s flowering plants depend on pollinators, such as bees, bats, beetles and butterflies, to reproduce. Pollinators are critical to our food supply. More than 30 percent of the world’s food and flowering plants, including 130 fruits and vegetable plants, depend on insect pollination. Scientists credit insect pollinators for one out of every three bites of food eaten. While pollinators are a critical foundation of our food chain, many species are …..

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USDA

USDA Extends Application Deadline

WASHINGTON, June 12, 2018 – U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced the re-enrollment deadline for the Margin Protection Program (MPP) for Dairy will be extended until June 22, 2018. The new and improved program protects participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below levels of protection selected by the applicant. USDA has already issued more than $89 million for margins triggered in February, March, and April, and USDA offices are continuing to process remaining payments daily. “Last week we re-opened enrollment to offer producers preoccupied with field work an additional opportunity to come into their local office …..

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Enchanted Evenings

by Katie Jackson A moonlit garden is enchanting, but sometimes the moon needs a little help shedding light on a garden’s nighttime beauty. That’s when it’s time to turn to technology. One of the most helpful developments in the outdoor lighting realm is the increased availability of LED (light-emitting diode) bulb, a technology that has been used for decades in appliances and electronic devices but only recently has become more affordable for the average consumer. While LED lights still cost more than traditional bulbs, they are safer, sturdier, more energy efficient, and longer lasting than halogen and incandescent bulbs, so they easily pay for themselves over time. LED lights also …..

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USDA

USDA Extends Application Deadline for Dairy Margin Protection Program to June 22

The re-enrollment deadline for the Margin Protection Program (MPP) for Dairy has been extended until June 22, 2018.   The new and improved program protects participating dairy producers when the margin – the difference between the price of milk and feed costs – falls below levels of protection selected by the applicant.   The re-enrollment deadline was previously extended through June 8, 2018. The deadline is being extended a second time to ensure that dairy producers are given every opportunity to make a calculated decision and enroll in the program if they choose.   This will be the last opportunity for producers to take advantage of key adjustments Congress made to …..

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High and Dry: keeping kitchen gardens productive during dry periods

by Cindy Shapton A kitchen garden’s survival during a drought, or periods drier than normal requires planning, preparing and making smart, water-saving decisions along the way. Start with the Soil Add organic matter and compost to your garden soil before sowing seeds or planting veggies. This will help the soil retain more water and to absorb more rainfall when it does come. Choose the Right Plants Choose plants that have low to moderate water needs or those that can better handle drought and water restrictions. Mulch Pile it on! Mulch with newspapers, cardboard, leaf mold, grass clippings, straw, etc. My neighbor Jack puts down a heavy layer of leaf mold …..

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USDA

Farm Service Agency County Committee Nomination Period in Bladen County to Launch June 15

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages America’s farmers and ranchers to nominate candidates to lead, serve and represent their community on their local county committee. According to USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) Bladen County Executive Director Chris Tatum, FSA will accept nominations for county committee members beginning Friday, June 15, 2018. Producers across the country are already serving on committees where they play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of FSA, making important decisions on programs dealing with disaster and conservation, emergencies, commodity loan price support, county office employment and other agricultural issues. “County committees are unique to FSA and allow producers to have a voice on federal …..

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Statement from Commissioner Steve Troxler on the  contributions of the N.C. pork industry to the state North Carolina’s pork industry feeds us and provides jobs in North Carolina

North Carolina’s pork industry has been in the news a lot lately, but not in a way that tells the true story of its contributions to our economy. While the industry has drawn attention as the subject of nuisance lawsuits, what has been consistently overlooked is the significant economic contributions the pork industry makes in terms of jobs and its role in producing safe and affordable food for consumers. I consider the production of food and fiber to be admirable and certainly not a nuisance, and I want people across the state to understand how important agriculture, including the pork industry, is to our state. When we take our farmers …..

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USDA

USDA Partners with Texas A&M to Help Veterans Seeking Agriculture Loans and Careers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a partnership between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Texas A&M’s AgriLife Extension Service to help military veterans obtain loans and pursue careers as farmers and ranchers. Secretary Perdue joined local dignitaries, members of the Armed Forces, veterans, and community leaders at the Dallas Farmers Market to unveil the new pilot program. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is collaborating with AgriLife Extension Service on the pilot, which is part of the Texas A&M Battleground to Breaking Ground project. The program makes it easier for veterans to meet federal requirements to get FSA direct farm ownership loans, which can help provide access to …..

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Laurel Wilt Confirmed in Sassafras in NC by NC Forest Service

The first confirmed case of Laurel Wilt in Sassafras has been found in the Greenevers area of Duplin County.  This occurrence was found while examining areas affected by laurel wilt with personnel from both the US Forest Service and NC State University.  An area of approximately 20 trees showed signs of dieback, evidence of ambrosia beetles, and the characteristic vascular streaking associated with the disease.  Samples collected from this site were confirmed by two different labs using multiple techniques.  Additionally, forest health staff have visually confirmed laurel wilt in sassafras in other areas.  This is the northernmost known occurrence of laurel wilt in sassafras although it has been confirmed in …..

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USDA

USDA Reopens Application Period for Producers Recovering from Cattle Loss, Other Disasters

Signup Begins June 4 for Livestock Indemnity Program and Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin accepting disaster assistance program applications on June 4 from agricultural producers who suffered livestock, honeybees, farm-raised fish and other losses due to natural disasters. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is reopening the application period for two disaster assistance programs in response to statutory changes made by Congress earlier this year. Beginning June 4, FSA will accept new applications for losses for calendar year 2017 or 2018 filed under the Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) or Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP). Producers who already submitted applications and received decisions on their …..

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Lawsuits against Smithfield Foods are a dangerous threat to all North Carolina farmers

Letter from Dean Hilton, HD3 Farms of the Carolinas Many people believe that a series of nuisance trials under way in the federal court in Raleigh affect only the named defendant, a division of Smithfield Foods. They’re wrong. All of agriculture is on trial – and the outcome of these lawsuits affects all of us across the state, especially in rural North Carolina. These lawsuits affect every farm family who raises pigs, chicken, cattle or crops. They affect every employee who makes their living on a farm. They affect every local business that sells farm equipment, supplies, and fuel to the farmers in their community. And, they affect our banks, …..

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LaGrange Farmer Sentenced for Crop Insurance Fraud, Fraudulent Federal Crop Disaster Claims, Aggravated Identity Theft and Conspiracy to Commit Money Laundering

RALEIGH – United States Attorney Robert J. Higdon, Jr. announced that in federal court today, Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever III sentenced JAMES TRUMAN WIGGINS, JR.¸68, of LaGrange, North Carolina to 25 months of imprisonment to be followed by 5 years of supervised release.  In addition the court ordered WIGGINS to pay restitution in the amount of $5,669,891.00 and he is excluded from participating in any federal crop insurance programs for 5 years.  The court also ordered forfeiture in the amount of $5,600,433.00. WIGGINS previously pleaded guilty to a Criminal Information charging him with conspiracy to commit various offenses against the United States, false statements to the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation, material …..

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USDA

Dairy Farmers Have Until June 1 to Apply for Improved Safety Net under Margin Protection Program

Many Participants Will Receive Payments Beginning in Early June The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds dairy farmers of the June 1 deadline to enroll in the improved Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy).  Many producers will see payments in early June, depending on the coverage they elect. The program protects dairy producers by paying them based on the difference between the national all-milk price and the national average feed cost.  The 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act made several changes to the safety net program to provide better protections for dairy producers from shifting milk and feed prices. Updates include: Calculation of the margin period is monthly rather than bi-monthly. Covered production is increased to …..

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USDA

Dairy Farmers Have Until June 1 to Apply for Improved Safety Net under Margin Protection Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reminds dairy farmers of the June 1 deadline to enroll in the improved Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy).  Many producers will see payments in early June, depending on the coverage they elect.   The program protects dairy producers by paying them based on the difference between the national all-milk price and the national average feed cost. The 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act made several changes to the safety net program to provide better protections for dairy producers from shifting milk and feed prices.  Updates include: Calculation of the margin period is monthly rather than bi-monthly.   Covered production is increased to 5 million pounds on the Tier 1 premium …..

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FSA County Committee Nominations Launch June 15

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) encourages America’s farmers and ranchers to nominate candidates to lead, serve and represent their community on their local county committee. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will accept nominations for county committee members beginning Friday, June 15, 2018. Producers across the country are already serving on committees where they play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of FSA, making important decisions on programs dealing with disaster and conservation, emergencies, commodity price loan support, county office employment and other agricultural issues. “Our county committees make decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally to best serve the needs of agriculture in their community,” said …..

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Cooperative Leadership Camp accepting registrations

The Cooperative Council of North Carolina will conduct a Cooperative Leadership Camp (CLC) from June 18th through June 22nd, 2018, at the FFA Center at White Lake.  CLC is a five day four night summer camp that puts teens in the positions of Worker Owners of a T-shirt cooperative. The teens work through the week to elect a board of directors, design, produce and sell T-shirts for their cooperative. At the end of the week they have their Annual Meeting to hear about the week and vote to dissolve the cooperative. Sponsored teens will learn skills such as team building, the seven cooperative principles, and industry workshops as well as a …..

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NCDA&CS expects good blueberry crop through July

By Dexter Hill, NCDA&CS RALEIGH – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says the 2018 blueberry season is shaping up to be a good one despite unusually cold weather in the first quarter of the year. “Our blueberry growers have become accustomed to dealing with unusual weather,” Troxler said. “They have done an excellent job protecting the crop from frost this year, and overall, it is in very good condition. Consumers should expect fresh, N.C. blueberries from now through July.” To celebrate the season, the department will host two Blueberry Days in June. The State Farmers Market in Raleigh will host Blueberry Day on June 21. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., visitors can …..

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FSA Releases Signup Information for Tree Assistance Program

USDA’s Farm Service Agency recently released signup information for the Tree Assistance Program, a nationwide program that provides orchardists and nursery tree growers with cost share assistance to replant eligible trees, bushes, and vines following a natural disaster. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 prescribed several changes to the program, including the removal of the $125,000 per person and legal entity payment limitation. The notice outlined when producers should file applications for any recent losses, given the changes to the program.   Eligible producers should file for TAP assistance by the later of these two dates: *90 days of the disaster or when damages from the disaster are noticed; or *60 days after …..

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