BladenOnline.com

Bladen County's leading website for news, sports, advertising and more!

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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USDA

Secretary Perdue Names FSA Administrator

Washington, D.C.– U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced today the appointment of Richard Fordyce to serve as Administrator of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA). In his role, Fordyce will provide leadership for FSA and its mission to support agricultural production across America through a network of over 2,100 county and 50 state offices. “As a fourth-generation farmer, Richard brings firsthand knowledge and experience to this role,” Secretary Sonny Perdue said. “I am confident that he will continue to help USDA become the most efficient, effective customer focused agency in the federal government as he leads this customer focused mission area.” Richard Fordyce most recently …..

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USDA

FSA Reminds Producers of May 31 Deadline for Cotton Ginning Cost Share Program

USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) is reminding producers of the May 31 deadline for the Cotton Ginning Cost Share (CGCS) program. Through the program, cotton producers may receive a cost share payment, which is based on a producer’s 2016 cotton acres reported to FSA multiplied by 20 percent of the average ginning cost for each production region. FSA is mailing a postcard to remind eligible cotton producers of the May 31 deadline. FSA mailed pre-filled applications with this deadline information to eligible cotton producers in March when the original signup was announced. For more information on CGCS, producers should contact their local USDA service center. Share:

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West Bladen FFA Participates in South Central FFA Regional Rally

On Friday May 4th, 2018, WBHS FFA members joined hundreds of fellow FFA members at Fayetteville Technical Community College for the South Central FFA Regional Rally. West Bladen High School FFA had over 20 FFA members competing in and helping with various Career Development Events (CDEs). WBHS FFA members competed in Agriculture Mechanics, Creed Speaking, Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Job Interview, Nursery Landscape, Parliamentary Procedure, and Prepared Public Speaking CDEs. During the awards ceremony, WBHS FFA members were recognized for their performance in previously held CDEs. Those events were: Hunter Safety, Livestock Judging, and Poultry Judging. Pictured below are WBHS FFA members who attended the South Central FFA Regional Rally on …..

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USDA

Perdue Announces Additional Hurricane and Wildfire Recovery Details

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2018 – Under the direction of President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced new details on eligibility for a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster program, 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP). In total, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will deploy the up to $2.36 billion that Congress appropriated through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to help producers with recovery of their agricultural operations in at least nine states with hurricane damage and states impacted by wildfire. Following the announcement, Secretary Perdue issued this statement: “Last year our nation experienced some of the most significant disasters we have …..

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USDA

Perdue Announces Additional Hurricane and Wildfire Recovery Details

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2018 – Under the direction of President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced new details on eligibility for a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster program, 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP). In total, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will deploy the up to $2.36 billion that Congress appropriated through the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 to help producers with recovery of their agricultural operations in at least nine states with hurricane damage and states impacted by wildfire. Following the announcement, Secretary Perdue issued this statement: “Last year our nation experienced some of the most significant disasters we have seen in decades, some back-to-back, at the most …..

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USDA

Perdue Announces Florida Citrus Hurricane Recovery Details

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2018 – Under the direction of President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced new details on eligibility for a new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster program, 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP). Additionally, USDA will provide $340 million through a block grant to the State of Florida for Hurricane Irma losses to citrus production expected during the 2018 through the 2020 crop year, reimbursement for the cost of buying and planting replacement trees – including resetting and grove rehabilitation, and for repair of damages to irrigation systems among other things. In total, USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will deploy the up to $2.36 billion that Congress …..

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N.C. Tomato Growers Association offering scholarship

ASHEVILLE – The N.C. Tomato Growers Association is offering a $1,000 merit/need-based scholarship for the 2018-2019 academic year. Any North Carolina resident who pursues a horticulture or agribusiness undergraduate or graduate degree at a four-year North Carolina college or university is eligible to apply. The deadline for submitting an application is May 30. The award will be based on a student’s demonstrated scholastic achievement, initiative, leadership, financial need and extracurricular activities. The scholarship is contingent on the recipient maintaining at least a 2.5 grade point average out of a possible 4.0 on all course work during the scholarship period. The recipient must be enrolled for the entire school year to receive …..

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USDA

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for May 2018

WASHINGTON, May 1, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for May 2018. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for May is 2.125 percent, up from 2.000 percent in April. The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during May is 3.125 percent, up from 3.000 percent in April. Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for May are as follows, 2.500 percent with three-year loan terms, up from 2.375 percent in April; 2.625 percent with five-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.625 percent in April; 2.750 percent with seven-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.750 percent …..

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Troxler encourages horse owners to vaccinate against  mosquito-borne diseases and rabies

RALEIGH – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is encouraging horse owners to have their animals vaccinated against Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis and West Nile Virus. “April until November is prime mosquito-breeding season in North Carolina and when horses are at risk if not properly vaccinated,” Troxler said. “EEE is fatal 90 percent of the time in horses and WNV has a fatality rate of 30 percent. Both diseases are preventable by vaccination.” There were six recorded cases of EEE in horses in North Carolina in 2017, but the mild winter could cause that number to go up this year, State Veterinarian Doug Meckes said. Meckes recommends that equine owners talk to their …..

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Local students participate in state environmental science competition

The Eagle 1 FFA team from East Bladen High School placed 8 the in FFA teams at the State Envirothon event held at Cedarock Park in Alamance county April 27th and 28th. Fifty middle school teams and fifty-two high school teams competed in five-member teams at the event. Envirothon is the most widely recognized hands-on environmental education program in the nation. Middle and high school students immerse themselves in a year-long learning process that combines in-class curriculum with hands-on field experiences facilitated by resource professionals such as soil scientists, foresters and wildlife specialists. This intense training culminates in a competition where teams are tested in five subject areas: Soils/Land use, …..

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Smithfield Foods to Appeal Nuisance Lawsuit Verdict

A statement was released by Smithfield Foods regarding the recent verdict of the nuisance lawsuits. It is as follows: Smithfield Foods Statement Regarding North Carolina Verdict We are extremely disappointed by the verdict. We will appeal to the Fourth Circuit, and we are confident we will prevail. We believe the outcome would have been different if the court had allowed the jury to (1) visit the plaintiffs’ properties and the Kinlaw farm and (2) hear additional vital evidence, especially the results of our expert’s odor-monitoring tests. These lawsuits are an outrageous attack on animal agriculture, rural North Carolina and thousands of independent family farmers who own and operate contract farms. …..

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Response to Lawsuit Verdict from Agriculture Commissioner Troxler

Statement from Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler about the verdict in the Murphy-Brown LLC/Smithfield Foods nuisance lawsuit “I am very disappointed in the verdict and believe it will harm our hard working farm families who produce food for the state, nation and the world. I fear this will have a detrimental effect on their ability to continue to do that. Family farms built this state, and our family farms are vital to our state’s economy.” Share:

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Jury awards plaintiffs more than 50 million in historic hog nuisance lawsuit

By Lisa Sorg, NC Policy Watch Dog A jury deliberated for less than two days before awarding 10 plaintiffs $50 million in a hog nuisance lawsuit against Murphy-Brown/Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer. According to the verdict sheet, the jury unanimously agreed that Murphy-Brown, which owns the hogs at Kinlaw Farms in  Bladen County, “substantially and unreasonably interfered with the plaintiff’s use and enjoyment of their property.” The jury awarded each of the plaintiffs $75,000 on those grounds. But the jury also had the latitude to award punitive damages. They did so: $5 million for each plaintiff. In sum, the plaintiffs, ranging in age from their teens to 85, were awarded …..

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USDA

Farm Service Agency Makes Administrative Change to the Livestock Indemnity Program

April 24, 2018 – Starting today, agricultural producers who have lost livestock to disease, resulting from a weather disaster, have an additional way to become eligible for a key U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) disaster assistance program. USDA Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey announced an administrative clarification nationwide to the Livestock Indemnity Program. In the event of disease, this change by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) authorizes local FSA county committees to accept veterinarian certifications that livestock deaths were directly related to adverse weather and unpreventable through good animal husbandry and management. The committees may then use this certification to allow eligibility for producers on a …..

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Bladen farmers getting ready for growing season

By Erin Smith Many Bladen County farmers are busy getting their fields ready for the summer growing season. Tractors can be encountered on our highways throughout  Bladen County as farmers move equipment from one field to another, ripping the soil, and preparing the land to plant.  Ripping the soil is a method farmers use to break up hard-packed soil layers so water can seep through the layers underneath, according to the NC Department of Agriculture.  For many Bladen County farmers, corn, soy beans, tobacco and cotton are all crops that will soon begin to dot the landscape. Some other crops that are reported to be performing well include strawberries and blueberries.  …..

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Duplin Winery Announces the Release of Sweet Rosé This May

ROSE HILL- Duplin Winery is jumping on the “Rosé All Day” train with its newest product addition, Sweet Rosé. Duplin Winery specializes in Muscadine wines, so naturally this sparkling wine is made with a secret blend of delicious Muscadine grapes. Duplin Winery’s last product debut was the release of Pelican Red in 2017. Since then, many dedicated minds have been working together to create the perfect blend of red and white muscadines for the Sweet Rosé and its finally here. Sweet Rosé will be available to all Duplin Winery fans starting Wednesday, May 2. The launch of Sweet Rosé will be celebrated with a ‘Pick-Up Party’ held from May 7-9 …..

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USDA

A Special 2018 Earth Day Message from: Len McBride, State Executive Director, North Carolina Farm Service Agency

America’s farmers and ranchers are the original stewards of the Earth. You understand the fragility of the land and work tirelessly to sustain and protect it to ensure its availability for generations to come. The 2012 United States Census of Agriculture counted 3.2 million American farmers, ranchers and foresters. That’s over 3 million responsible landowners and caretakers continuously looking for new and sustainable operating practices to help preserve our natural resources, while supporting an ever-growing population.  Your use of precision agriculture technologies, along with other conservation practices, help protect drinking water and reduce soil erosion. Your efforts also help preserve and restore wildlife habitats, forests and wetlands.  The world relies …..

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USDA

Submit Loan Requests for Financing Early

The Farm Loan Teams are working on operating loans for spring 2018 so it is important that potential borrowers submit their requests early so they can be timely processed. The Farm Loan Team can help determine which loan programs are best for applicants.   FSA offers a wide range of low-interest loans that can meet the financial needs of any farm operation for just about any purpose.  The traditional farm operating and farm ownership loans can help large and small farm operations take advantage of early purchasing discounts for spring inputs as well expenses throughout the year.   Microloans are a simplified loan program that will provide up to $50,000 to eligible applicants. These loans, targeted for smaller operations and non-traditional …..

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USDA

Payment Limitations by Program

The 2014 Farm Bill established a maximum dollar amount for each program that can be received annually, directly or indirectly, by each person or legal entity. Payment limitations vary by program for 2014 through 2018.   Below is an overview of payment limitations by program.   Commodity and Price Support Programs The annual limitation for the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, Loan Deficiency Payments (LDPs) and Market Loan Gains is $125,000 total.   Conservation Programs The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) annual rental payment and incentive payment is limited to $50,000. CRP contracts approved before Oct. 1, 2008, may exceed the limitation, subject to payment limitation …..

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Upcoming Events

FAMACHA Goat and Sheep Training May 10

There will be a FAMACHA Certification Training for Goat and Sheep Producers on Thursday, May 10th at 4 pm at West Bladen High School, located at 1600 NC 410 Hwy Bladenboro, NC.  The training will be behind the school at the greenhouse. Becky Spearman, Extension Livestock Agent in Bladen County and Liz Lahti, Extension Livestock Agent in Cumberland and Hoke Counties, will present the training.  There will be a classroom portion of the training and a hands-on portion at the school.  The cost is $15 per card (a farm can certify multiple people and get 1 card or more). Please bring money to class – either cash or check made payable to Bladen Extension.  Please call 910-862-4591 …..

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Taming Tough and Tiny Spaces

By Helen Yoest In most gardens there are corners, ells, edges and trees, all of which create areas that are tough to work with. Oftentimes, the smaller the spot the tougher it is to tame. Instead of ignoring those tough, tiny spaces, consider plantings that will enhance your garden by taking advantage of these available spaces. Side Yards Side yards, or space created by a new addition or any narrow strip near a building or a wall, can seem like a daunting gardening challenge. It takes acrobatics to dig the soil well, drainage is not always great and sometimes the sun in blocked. Instead of viewing the space as one …..

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N.C. strawberry season has arrived

RALEIGH – Strawberry lovers won’t have to wait any longer because N.C. strawberry season is here. Growers in Eastern North Carolina are already harvesting their crop, and growers in the piedmont and mountain regions of the state are slated to begin in the coming weeks. “Despite unusually cold weather in the first quarter of the year, crop conditions at this point look to be good,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “It may not be a record-breaking year, but there should be plenty of N.C. strawberries for consumers to enjoy.” North Carolina is the third-largest producer of strawberries in the nation, with about 1,200 acres harvested across the state. The peak …..

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USDA

USDA Announces 2018 Cotton Loan Rate Differentials

WASHINGTON, April 16, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced the 2018-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, with the exception of a reduced discount applied to color white, leaf 8 upland cotton. 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, …..

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Still Time to be Counted in the 2017 Census of Agriculture

Farmers and ranchers still have time to be counted in the 2017 Census of Agriculture, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). Although the first deadline has just passed, NASS will continue to accept Census information through the spring to get a complete and accurate picture of American agriculture that represents all farmers and ranchers. Federal law mandates that everyone who received the 2017 Census of Agriculture questionnaire complete it and return it even if not currently farming. NASS will continue to follow-up with producers through the spring with mailings, phone calls, and personal visits. To avoid these additional contacts, farmers and ranchers are …..

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USDA to Immediately Assist Producers for Qualifying Livestock, Honeybee and Farm-raised Fish Program Losses

$34 Million in Payments for 2017 Losses Part of Broad Suite of Programs Aiding Ag Operations  WASHINGTON, April 13, 2018 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will issue $34 million to help agricultural producers recover from 2017 natural disasters through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP), which covers losses not covered by certain other USDA disaster assistance programs. These payments are being made available today, and they are part of a broader USDA effort to help producers recover from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, wildfires and drought. A large portion of this assistance will be made available in federally designated disaster areas. “From Florida, Puerto Rico and the …..

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Vendor registration open for the Got To Be NC Festival

The annual Got To Be NC Festival takes place May 18-20 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Got To Be NC members are invited to show, sample and sell your products in the 50,000-square-foot Exposition Center. This is your chance to join more than 100 other North Carolina food and beverage companies to promote your products to thousands of consumers. For booth and event information, including vendor rules, regulations and application, visit http://www.gottobenc.com/node/1542. The deadline to sign up is April 20. Applications with payment are required to secure your booth(s). For more information, contact Sherry Barefoot at Sherry.Barefoot@ncagar.gov or 919- 707-3154. The show is expected to sell out, so apply …..

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USDA

USDA to Immediately Assist Producers for Qualifying Livestock, Honeybee and Farm-raised Fish Program Losses

WASHINGTON, April 9, 2018 — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will issue $34 million to help agricultural producers recover from 2017 natural disasters through the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-raised Fish Program (ELAP), which covers losses not covered by certain other USDA disaster assistance programs. These payments are being made available today, and they are part of a broader USDA effort to help producers recover from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria, wildfires and drought. A large portion of this assistance will be made available in federally designated disaster areas. “From Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, through the South, the Southwest, California and the Great Plains, American agriculture …..

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USDA

USDA Announces a Near-Record Year for Farm Loans

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced another year of high activity in its farm loan programs. Hard-working farm families across the country accessed nearly $6 billion in new credit, either directly or guaranteed through commercial lenders in 2017. At year end, FSA was assisting more than 120,000 family farmers with loans totaling just over $25 billion. “FSA loan funds have been in high demand the last few years,” said Dr. Robert Johansson, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the Farm Production and Conservation mission area. “We provide opportunities to qualified small, beginning and underserved farmers who are unable to obtain …..

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USDA

USDA Implements up to $2.36 Billion to Help Agricultural Producers Recover after 2017 Hurricanes and Wildfires

WASHINGTON, April 6, 2018 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will make disaster payments of up to $2.36 billion, as provided by Congress, to help America’s farmers and ranchers recover from hurricanes and wildfires. The funds are available as part of the new 2017 Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program (2017 WHIP). Sign-up for the new program, authorized by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, will begin no later than July 16. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) will make these disaster payments to agricultural producers to offset losses from hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria and devastating wildfires. The 2017 calendar year was a …..

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NCDA&CS to host Voluntary Agricultural District training for local government and nonprofit staff

RALEIGH – The N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund will hold five workshops across the state for local government and nonprofit staff involved in protecting their communities’ agricultural lands and administering their local Voluntary Agricultural District programs. The Voluntary Agricultural District training workshops are for county leadership, Soil and Water Conservation districts, N.C. Cooperative Extension, the N.C. Forest Service, tax assessors, planning departments, register of deeds, land trusts, and other local and nonprofit staff. The workshops are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Interested participants may register at https://fs30.formsite.com/ ADFPTrustFund/form24/index. html. Workshops will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on the following dates: Tuesday, May …..

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USDA

USDA Reopens Enrollment for Improved Dairy Safety Net Tool

WASHINGTON— U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue is encouraging dairy producers to consider enrolling in the new and improved Margin Protection Program for Dairy (MPP-Dairy), which will provide better protections for dairy producers from shifting milk and feed prices. With changes authorized under the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) has set the enrollment period to run from April 9, 2018 to June 1, 2018. “We recognize the financial hardships many of our nation’s dairy producers are experiencing right now. Folks are losing their contracts and they are getting anxious about getting their bills paid while they watch their milk check come in …..

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USDA

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for April 2018

WASHINGTON, April 2, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for April 2018. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for April is 2.000 percent, up from 1.875 percent in March. The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during April is 3.000 percent, up from 2.875 percent in March. Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for April are as follows, 2.375 percent with three-year loan terms, up from 2.250 percent in March; 2.625 percent with five-year loan terms, up from 2.500 percent in March; 2.750 percent with seven-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.750 percent …..

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USDA

USDA Announces No Actions under Feedstock Flexibility Program

WASHINGTON, March 30, 2018 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) announced today that it does not expect to purchase sugar under the Feedstock Flexibility Program in the second quarter of 2018. The CCC is required by law to announce quarterly estimates of sugar to be purchased for 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 USDA to satisfy the loan. …..

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Bladen County Master Gardeners to conduct plant sales

The Bladen County Master Gardener Volunteers will be having their Annual Plant Sale on Saturday, April 28, and again on Saturday, May 5, at the Cape Fear Farmers Market in Elizabethtown, from 8 a.m. until  1 p.m. each day. A huge variety of North Carolina grown trees, shrubs, perennials, annuals and tomatoes will be available at reasonable prices. This is the only fund raiser the Master Gardeners have to sponsor two $500 scholarships for college bound students with a focus in agriculture and to promote the Bladen County Cooperative Extension Master Gardener Volunteer program. Share:

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Be careful when burning debris in spring

Wildfire risk typically higher through May; burning debris is the No. 1 cause of wildfires RALEIGH – The N.C. Forest Service is urging residents across the state to think safety and exercise caution during the spring fire season, which typically lasts from March to May. “Burning debris is the No. 1 cause of wildfires,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “If you’re thinking about burning debris, contact your county forest ranger first. The ranger can offer technical advice and explain the best options to help maximize safety for people, property and the forest.” During the spring fire season, people do a lot of yard work that often includes burning leaves and yard …..

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N.C. Forest Service encourages people to plant a tree to celebrate Arbor Day

RALEIGH – The N.C. Forest Service is encouraging all North Carolinians to plant a tree this weekend to celebrate Arbor Day in North Carolina, which takes place on Friday, March 16. Seedlings are available to order through the N.C. Forest Service Nursery and Tree Improvement Program. Trees bring more than scenic beauty; large deciduous trees shade and cool houses in the summer, reducing dependence on air conditioning. Evergreen trees help save on heating bills by blocking the wind in the winter. Trees are also excellent filters for pollution that find their way into our lakes, rivers, wetlands, coastal waters and underground sources of drinking water. “Residents interested in planting trees …..

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Freezing temperatures have farmers working long hours 

By Erin Smith Freezing temperatures the past several nights have had farmers keeping long hours to save their early fruit crops. Blueberry farmers have been irrigating their crops with water to protect blossoms and early fruit from freezing. North Carolina State University (NCSU) recommends using irrigation systems to control frost on blueberry plants that are susceptible to freezing temperatures. NCSU recommends using 12 sprinklers per acre. Farmers were feeling optimistic on Thursday morning as they checked their crops and fields. Carey Horrell with Barnes Food Company/Big Sky Blueberry Farm near White Lake said, “I feel like we are doing well.” He said his sprinklers were still operating as of 9:30 …..

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Filing CCC-941 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) Certifications

Many producers have experienced delays in receiving Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) payments, Loan Deficiency Payments (LDPs) and Market Gains on Marketing Assistance Loans (MALs) because they have not filed form CCC-941, Adjusted Gross Income Certification. The above payments will not be paid until all eligible producers, including landowners who share in the crop, have filed a valid CCC-941. Producers without a valid CCC-941 certifying their compliance with the average adjusted gross income provisions will not receive payments that have been processed. All farm operator/tenants/owners who have not filed a CCC-941 and have pending payments should IMMEDIATELY file the form with their recording county FSA office. Farm …..

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Commissioners approve option to purchase agreement with Bladen’s Bloomin’ Agri-Industrial

By Erin Smith The Bladen County Board of Commissioners met on Monday night and approved an option to purchase agreement with Bladen’s Bloomin’ Agri-Industrial. The option to purchase agreement came about as part of a grant opportunity, according to Bladen County Economic Development Director Chuck Heustess. He said the Rural ReadySites program through the North Carolina Department of Commerce is making $12 million in funds available for 10 sites which will be selected from the applications submitted. Some of the criteria for consideration for the program include: the site must be located in a Tier 1 or Tier 2 county; the site must be publicly owned or controlled; it must …..

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USDA

$1 million USDA award expands public-private partnerships for ag sustainability

The NC Pork Council is proud to be a partner in this successful, on-going collaboration between Smithfield Foods and Environmental Defense Fund. This is a guest post by Shelby Shelton, which originally appeared on the Environmental Defense Fund’s Growing Returns blog. A collaboration between Smithfield Foods and Environmental Defense Fund has reduced fertilizer loss and improved soil health on more than 400,000 acres in the regions where Smithfield sources feed grain. That acreage is set to grow thanks to a new USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) award of $1,080,000. The RCPP project will expand Smithfield’s ongoing grain sustainability efforts in North Carolina and scale up the program in Iowa, providing …..

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USDA Helps Cotton Producers Maintain, Expand Domestic Market

(MEMPHIS, TN, March 3, 2018) – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced at the 66th Annual Mid-South Farm and Gin Show the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking action to assist cotton producers through a Cotton Ginning Cost Share (CGCS) program in order to expand and maintain the domestic marketing of cotton. “America’s cotton producers have now faced four years of financial stress, just like the rest of our major commodities, but with a weaker safety net,” Perdue said. “In particular, cotton producers confront high input and infrastructure costs, which leaves them more financially leveraged than most of their colleagues. That economic burden has been felt by …..

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USDA

USDA Helps Cotton Producers Maintain, Expand Domestic Market

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced at the 66th Annual Mid-South Farm and Gin Show the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking action to assist cotton producers through a Cotton Ginning Cost Share (CGCS) program in order to expand and maintain the domestic marketing of cotton. “America’s cotton producers have now faced four years of financial stress, just like the rest of our major commodities, but with a weaker safety net,” Perdue said. “In particular, cotton producers confront high input and infrastructure costs, which leaves them more financially leveraged than most of their colleagues. That economic burden has been felt by the entire cotton market, including the gins, …..

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Funding available for farmers markets advertising

RALEIGH – North Carolina farmers markets can expand their advertising budgets through of a new cooperative grant being offered by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. As part of the grant, the department will pay half of the total cost of advertising up to $2,500. “There are more than 250 farmers markets across North Carolina, and many of them are operated by local municipalities and nonprofits,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We hope these grants will help offset the cost of advertising for local markets, so they can better promote themselves and the farmers they represent.” To qualify, all advertising must take place between March 1 and Dec. 31, …..

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USDA

Secretary Perdue Statement on Confirmation of Bill Northey for Key USDA Post

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today applauded the Senate’s long-awaited confirmation of Bill Northey to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Northey will serve as Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service (FFAS)*. Perdue issued the following statement: “I applaud Bill Northey’s patience over these many months, which demonstrates what a strong leader he will be at USDA.  We thank everyone who worked on his confirmation.  Bill will come aboard at a crucial time, as his knowledge and expertise will be immediately put to use as the new Farm Bill is formulated to address the needs of American farmers.  In addition, his leadership will be key …..

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Grant funding available for N.C. agritourism farms

RALEIGH – North Carolina farms that welcome visitors can take advantage of the 2018 Agritourism Marketing Cost-Share Grant available through the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. “There are more than 1,000 agritourism farms across North Carolina,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “This grant is a great opportunity for agritourism farms to attract more farm visitors, increase demand for on-farm experiences and add to their overall farm value.” The $100,000 grant, which is funded by the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission, is available for individual farms or a group of agritourism farms to assist with offsetting the cost of marketing efforts. Funding is available for marketing materials and tools …..

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Board of Agriculture to meet March 1 in Chapel Hill

RALEIGH – The N.C. Board of Agriculture will meet Thursday, March 1, at 1:30 p.m. at the Stan Adams Training Center in Chapel Hill. The board will take up the following items: *Approval of revisions to the imported fire ant quarantine. *Review and initial approval of expiring rules of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Topic areas include plant protection, fertilizer, animal welfare section and sanitation of bedding. *Adoption of rules pertaining to food safety, including the Produce Safety Rule as part of the federal Food Safety Modernization Act, and Good Manufacturing Practice, Hazard Analysis, and Risk-based Preventative Controls for Human Food. *Hear a legislative update/preview. *In addition, new board …..

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USDA

USDA Announces Cotton Board Appointments

WASHINGTON, DC — Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today announced the appointment of 13 members, 13 alternate members and one advisor to serve on the Cotton Board. The following appointees will serve three-year terms ending Dec. 31, 2020. “The Cotton Board carries out research and promotional activities that strengthen the competitive position of cotton by expanding demand in domestic and foreign markets, improving fiber quality, and lowering costs of production,” said Perdue. “These appointees represent a cross section of the industry and I know that the cotton industry will be well served by their work.” The newly appointed member is Pace Hindsley, Marvell, Ark. Re-appointed members are: Michael K. Kobori, Berkeley, …..

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NCDA&CS schedules a public meeting Feb. 28 in Pilot Mountain on proposed gypsy moth treatments

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is seeking input from residents and other interested parties in Surry County concerning planned treatment activities for the non-native, highly destructive gypsy moth. The meeting will be held Wednesday, Feb. 28, at 7 p.m. at the Armfield Civic Center, 873 West 52 Bypass, Pilot Mountain. Information on proposed treatment options for the 21,755-acre site will be discussed. Field monitoring activities conducted by the department have determined that reproducing populations of the gypsy moth exist just north of the town of Pilot Mountain, including the Ararat community. U.S. Highway 52 bisects the block north to south. Portions of Ararat Road and Old Westfield Road …..

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Rotary Club learns about peanuts

The Elizabethtown Rotary Club learned about peanuts from Bladen County farmer Dan Ward of Clarkton. Ward updated the Rotarians about progress being made in the peanut industry. Normally, Bladen’s farmers produce 4,500 acres of peanuts each year, said Ward. According to the National Peanut Board, peanuts help to fight hunger in communities of need, whether in the US or abroad. According to a release, the American peanut industry works hard to feed the hungry domestically and around the globe. Peanut-based products (like RUTF) support food security and economic growth in the developing world. Ward told the Rotarians that RUTF is used in many countries to assist malnourished children. The RUTF …..

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Cultured Seafood Festival set for New Bern March 9

Public event part of annual N.C. Aquaculture Development Conference NEW BERN – The 30th annual N.C. Aquaculture Development Conference returns to New Bern March 7-10. The conference features workshops, seminars and farm tours for aquaculture farmers across the Southeast. This year’s event also will include the first-ever Cultured Seafood Festival offering a variety of all-you-can-eat aquaculture dishes for the public. The Cultured Seafood Festival will be held on March 9 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the New Bern Riverfront Convention Center. Chef James “Smoke” Boyd, owner of The Flame Catering and Banquet Centre will offer variations of aquaculture dishes including North Carolina oysters, crab cakes, clams, tilapia, mountain trout, …..

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Consider Risk Protection Coverage before the Crop Sales Deadlines

The Farm Service Agency encourages producers to consider USDA crop risk protection options: Federal Crop Insurance obtained from a Crop Insurance Sales Agent. Federal crop insurance covers crop losses from natural adversities such as drought, hail and excessive moisture. The deadline to obtain coverage for spring planted corn, sweet corn and tobacco is March 15th. http://ctfarmrisk.uconn.edu/ Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program (NAP) coverage is available through your County FSA Office. NAP covers losses from natural disasters on crops for which no federal crop insurance program is available, including perennial grass forage and grazing crops, fruits, vegetables, mushrooms, floriculture, organic, ornamental nursery, aquaculture, turf grass, ginseng, honey, syrup, bioenergy, and industrial crops   Free NAP catastrophic coverage is …..

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Perdue Unveils Farmers.gov, Interactive Website for Agricultural Producers

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today unveiled Farmers.gov, the new interactive one-stop website for producers maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Farmers.gov is now live but will have multiple features added over the coming months to allow agricultural producers to make appointments with USDA offices, file forms, and apply for USDA programs. The website, launched at a breakfast hosted by the Michigan Farm Bureau, gathers together the three agencies that comprise USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area: the Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Risk Management Agency.       “Many farmers are out in their fields using equipment that is connected to …..

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Ag Forum on Thursday will offer economic outlook update on N.C. agriculture

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is hosting a free event for farmers and agribusinesses during the annual Southern Farm Show. The 13th annual Ag Development Forum will focus on international trade, ag labor and the 2018 economic outlook for N.C. agriculture. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler will also present the Exporter of the Year award and deliver his State of Agriculture address. WHEN/WHERE: Thursday, Feb. 1, 9:30 a.m. Holshouser Building, State Fairgrounds, Raleigh AGENDA*: 9:30 a.m. – “Agricultural Economic Outlook,” Drs. Michael Walden and Blake Brown, economists at N.C. State University 10 a.m. – “Ag and Trade Issues: A Washington Perspective,” Randy Russell, The Russell Group. 10:45 a.m. – “Successful Exporting …..

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NCDA&CS to host farmers market workshop March 8

RALEIGH –  The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will host a workshop for farmers market managers in Rocky Mount on March 8. Titled “A Successful Season 2018 – Growing Your Farmers Market,” the event is an excellent way for market managers and vendors to come together from across the state, exchange ideas and share knowledge that can be used on the local level. The workshop is made possible through a grant from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission. “Farmers markets are an important part of the state’s $84 billion agriculture economy,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Farmers markets provide direct contact between consumers and the people who grow their …..

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Perdue Announces USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018

Mifflintown, PA – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018 during a town hall at Reinford Farms in Mifflintown, Pennsylvania. “Since my first day as the Secretary of Agriculture, I’ve traveled to 30 states, listening to the people of American agriculture about what is working and what is not. The conversations we had and the people we came across helped us craft USDA’s Farm Bill and Legislative Principles for 2018,” said Secretary Perdue. “These principles will be used as a road map – they are our way of letting Congress know what we’ve heard from the hard-working men …..

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NC Industrial Hemp Commission meets, CBD oil discussed

By Erin Smith   The North Carolina Industrial Hemp Commission met on Thursday morning via a conference call and approved 24 applications. They also had a discussion regarding the Federal Food and Drug Administrations views on CBD oil which is a Hemp extract. The Commission members noted that those who are applying to grow industrial hemp are growing the flower heads, they are not manufacturing the oil. The Commission stressed that those who are growing the flowers are not extracting the oil. “What they are doing is legal within the parameters of the pilot programs,” said Commission Chairman Dr. Thomas Melton. He stressed that none of the discussion is meant …..

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2018 N.C. Boll Weevil Assessment Remains at 75 cents Per Acre

RALEIGH — The board of the Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation of North Carolina has set the 2018 boll weevil assessment at 75 cents per acre of cotton. The amount remains the same as in 2017. 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 …..

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USDA

USDA Announces a Near-Record Year for Farm Loans

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) today announced another year of high activity in its farm loan programs. Hard-working farm families across the country accessed nearly $6 billion in new credit, either directly or guaranteed through commercial lenders in 2017. At year end, FSA was assisting more than 120,000 family farmers with loans totaling just over $25 billion. “FSA loan funds have been in high demand the last few years,” said Dr. Robert Johansson, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the Farm Production and Conservation mission area. “We provide opportunities to qualified small, beginning and underserved farmers who are unable to obtain commercial credit, …..

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Bladen County Farm Service Agency Announces County Committee Election Results

Bladen County U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Executive Director CED Chris Tatum announced that County Committee elections are over and the ballots have been counted. Joshua Vendrick of Bladenboro was elected to represent local administrative area (LAA) 2 and Delois Wright of Bladenboro will serve as the first alternate. “County Committee members are a critical component of the day-to- day operations of FSA,” said Tatum.  “They help deliver programs at the county level and work to serve the needs of local producers.” All recently elected County Committee members will take office in January 2018, and will be joining the existing committee.” Every FSA office is required …..

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N.C. Pesticide Board announces case settlements

RALEIGH – The N.C. Pesticide Board recently approved the following settlement agreements for individuals in Johnston, Jones, New Hanover and Rowan counties, and Trenton, Ga. Settlements included instances of pesticide drift and selling restricted-use pesticides to individuals without a valid pesticide license. Settlements are listed by county below: (Columbus) Anthony R. Allred, general manager of Land O’Lakes Golf Course in Whiteville, agreed to pay $900 for using pesticides in a manner inconsistent with its labeling. Pesticides labeled for use on a farm were used to treat areas of the golf course. The agricultural pesticides used were not labeled for golf course use. (Johnston) Joshua Daughtry of Kenly agreed to pay …..

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USDA

USDA Announces National Peanut Board Appointments

WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2018–Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue today appointed five members and six alternates to serve on the National Peanut Board. The appointees will serve three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, 2018, and ending Dec. 31, 2020. One appointee will serve the remaining one-year portion of a vacancy. Newly appointed members are: Tom Corcoran, Eufaula, Ala. William T. Carte, Live Oak, Fla. Paul Rogers, Wakefield, Va. Newly appointed alternates are: Thomas Adams, Newville, Ala. Jeremy Rolling, Westville, Fla. Westley B. Drake, Newsoms, Va. Jeff Roper, Lubbock, Texas (1-year term) Reappointed members are: Joe H. Morgan, Hattiesburg, Miss. Dan Ward, Clarkton, N.C. Reappointed alternates are: Lonnie Fortner, Port Gibson, Miss. Raymond P. …..

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Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund and Seymour Johnson AFB partnership provides conservation easement to landowners

Landowners John and Ingrid McAden, front, with Dewitt Hardee, left, and Jonathan Lanier, middle, of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and Robert Schaefer, right, of the Working Lands Trust.  RALEIGH – Landowners signed the first two conservation easement agreements under a joint partnership between the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund and the United States Air Force. Two farms, Hubers Farm and McAden Farm, were recently awarded more than $1.5 million to help protect farmland and promote agricultural enterprises. The landowners, along with the staffs at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the ADFP Trust Fund, and the Working Lands Trust, worked together to accomplish this …..

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Cape Fear Regional Cattle Conference scheduled

The ninth annual Cape Fear Regional Cattle Conference is scheduled for Thursday, January 25th, at the Southeastern N.C. Agricultural Events Center located at 1027 Highway 74 East in Lumberton.  The conference starts at 4:30 p.m. and costs $5 – pay at the door. Dr. Wes Watson will discuss fly control in the beef herd and Dr. Harrison Dudley will discuss herd health calendars and calf care. The program includes a meal and vendors. To register, call the Bladen County Cooperative Extension office at 910-862-4591 or email becky_spearman@ncsu.edu by January 19th. Share:

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Continuing Education course offered for pesticide license holders

The Bladen County Extension Office will offer continuing education credits for pesticide license holders.  All classes will be held at the Bladen County Extension office located at 450 Smith Circle Drive in Elizabethtown.  Remember to bring your license with you to class. Dates and credits offered: January 23rd at 1 p.m. will have two hours V/safety credit; March 20th at 4 p.m. will have two hours V/safety credit; March 20th at 6 p.m. will have two hours of X,  A, B , D, G, H, K, L, M, N, and O credits; August 14th at 5 p.m. will have two hours V/safety credit; and August 14th at 7 p.m. will have 2 hours of X, A, B, …..

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Agriculture and Forest Landowners Meeting Scheduled

There will be a meeting for agriculture and forest landowners on Tuesday, January 23rd, from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Bladen County Extension Office located at 450 Smith Circle Drive in Elizabethtown. Topics to be discussed include Forest Management as an Investment and Working with a Consulting Forester; Landowner Property Rights – Bladen Sheriff’s Office and NC Wildlife Resources; North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and its impacts on agriculture; Farm Bill and Farm Services Agency; Natural Resources Conservation District, Bladen Soil and Water District, Bladen Tax Office Updates, and Pesticide Reminders/Best Practices. Lunch is provided.  To register, call the Bladen Extension office at 910-862-4591 or email becky_spearman@ncsu.edu by Jan. 22.  There will be …..

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Bladen Soil and Water Conservation scholarship applications available

The Bladen Soil and Water Conservation District now has applications available for the 2018 scholarship. The scholarship is valued at $500 and is designed to encourage students who plan on majoring in either agriculture or natural resources and to encourage them for such a career through an organized program of study at a North Carolina college or university. QUALIFICATIONS – Applications will be accepted from students meeting the following qualifications: *Planning to or already enrolled in a North Carolina college or university for 2018 *A senior at a Bladen County high school or a resident of Bladen County *Planning to pursue a two or four-year degree in an agricultural or natural …..

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Bladen Soil and Water board meeting

The Bladen Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors will meet a 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 23, 2018 in the McDuffie Room at the Powell-Melvin Agricultural Center located at 450 Smith Circle in Elizabethtown, NC. For additional information call 910-247- 3457 Share:

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USDA

Perdue Announces Farm Service Agency State Committee Appointees

SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS, January 4, 2018 – U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a slate of Farm Service Agency (FSA) State Committee Appointees. State committees are selected by the Secretary, serve at the pleasure of the Secretary, and are responsible for carrying out FSA’s farm programs within delegated authorities. “The State Committees will help to ensure USDA is providing our farmers, ranchers, foresters, and agricultural producers with the best customer service,” Secretary Perdue said. “They serve as a liaison between USDA and the producers in each state across the nation by keeping them informed and hearing their appeals and complaints. The committees are made up mostly of active farmers …..

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NC Muscadine Growers Association to meet at Lu Mil Vineyard

Lu Mil Vineyard will be hosting The North Carolina Muscadine Grape Association as they conduct their annual conference on Saturday, January 20th, with registration beginning at 8:30 a.m. Cost to attend the conference is $50 plus $25 membership fee. The cost includes a lunch. Topics to be discussed include Opportunities for Muscadine Grape Breeding; Research Progress: Muscadine Grape and Your Health; H2A Labor Program: How it Works; Marketing Fresh NC Muscadine Grapes: Study Findings; Business Session; Thoughts About Muscadine Grape Production: Watering, Spraying and Fertilization; and Pruning—Fresh Marketing Vs. Processing and Open Discussion. See the proposed agenda below. If you have questions or plan to attend, contact Dianna at 910-267-4531 to register. …..

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USDA

USDA announces Commodity Lending Rates for January 2018

WASHINGTON, D. C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation today announced interest rates for January 2018. The Commodity Credit Corporation borrowing rate-based charge for January is 1.625 percent, up from 1.500 percent in December. The interest rate for crop year commodity loans less than one year disbursed during January is 2.625 percent, up from 2.500 percent in December. Interest rates for Farm Storage Facility Loans approved for January are as follows, 1.875 percent with three-year loan terms, up from 1.750 percent in December; 2.125 percent with five-year loan terms, up from 2.000 percent in December; 2.250 percent with seven-year loan terms, unchanged from 2.250 percent in December; …..

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Farm Service Agency – A Vital Source of Assistance to America’s Farmers and Ranchers

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2017 – Through the work of dedicated staff in over 2,100 county and state offices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides vital farm safety-net assistance to agricultural producers across America. “We’ve seen recent challenges in farm income and commodity prices,” said Dr. Robert Johansson, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the Farm Production and Conservation mission area. “The ‘safety net’ provided in the 2014 Farm Bill has helped producers withstand economic losses as well as losses resulting from natural disasters. Loans for operating expenses, farm purchases and other purposes help current producers stay in business and allow a new generation of farmers and …..

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USDA

USDA Announces No Actions under Feedstock Flexibility Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) announced today that it does not expect to purchase sugar under the Feedstock Flexibility Program for fiscal year (FY) 2018. The CCC is required by law to announce quarterly estimates of sugar to be purchased for 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 USDA to satisfy the loan. The Feedstock Flexibility Program was reauthorized …..

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Len McBride to Serve as State Executive Director for USDA’s Farm Service Agency in North Carolina

Raleigh, N.C. – The Trump Administration recently appointed Len McBride as the new State Executive Director (SED) for the USDA North Carolina Farm Service Agency (FSA). McBride started his new position on Dec. 11. Prior to his appointment, McBride served as a district director for FSA based in Statesville. He began his career with FSA 32 years ago in the Cleveland County FSA office. McBride lives in Sherrills Ford with his wife and two daughters, and enjoys offshore fishing on the beautiful North Carolina coastline. The Farm Service Agency serves farmers, ranchers and agricultural partners through the delivery of effective, efficient agricultural programs. The agency offers farmers a strong safety …..

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A Vital Source of Assistance to America’s Farmers and Ranchers

WASHINGTON – Through the work of dedicated staff in over 2,100 county and state offices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) provides vital farm safety-net assistance to agricultural producers across America. “We’ve seen recent challenges in farm income and commodity prices,” said Dr. Robert Johansson, Acting Deputy Under Secretary for the Farm Production and Conservation mission area. “The ‘safety net’ provided in the 2014 Farm Bill has helped producers withstand economic losses as well as losses resulting from natural disasters. Loans for operating expenses, farm purchases and other purposes help current producers stay in business and allow a new generation of farmers and ranchers get their …..

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