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USDA

USDA Offers Targeted Farm Loan Funding for Underserved Groups and Beginning Farmers

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Utah Farm Service Agency (FSA) Acting Executive Director, Jeanine Cook, reminds producers that FSA offers specially targeted farm ownership and farm operating loans to underserved applicants as well as beginning farmers and ranchers. “Each year, a portion of FSA’s loan funds are set aside to lend to targeted underserved and beginning farmers and ranchers,” said Cook. “Farming and ranching is a capital intensive business and FSA is committed to helping producers start and maintain their agricultural operations.” During fiscal year 2017 (Oct. 1, 2016, through Sept. 30, 2017), Utah FSA obligated $35,422,155  million in loans to underserved borrowers and beginning farmers and ranchers. USDA defines underserved …..

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USDA

USDA Microloans Help Farmers Purchase Farmland and Improve Property

Producers, Including Beginning and Underserved Farmers, Have a New Option to Gain Access to Land The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans are especially helpful to beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations. The microloan program has been hugely successful, providing more than 16,800 low-interest loans, totaling over $373 million to producers across the country. Microloans have helped farmers and ranchers with operating costs, such as feed, fertilizer, tools, fencing, equipment, and living expenses since 2013. Seventy percent …..

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Tufa Pot Workshop

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

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4-Hers Compete in 3rd Annual Regional Chicken Show

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

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Events: Farm Fresh Friday set to offer variety of goods

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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USDA

FSAfarm+, FSA’s Customer Self-Service Portal

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

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Farm Storage Facility Loans

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

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

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

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USDA

USDA Farm Service Agency Offers Text Alerts to Bladen County Producers

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

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CAPE FEAR FARMERS MARKET KICKS OFF “FARM FRESH FRIDAYS”

The Cape Fear Farmers Market allows consumers to have access to locally grown, farm fresh produce as well as local craft vendors. “Customers can expect to find farm fresh produce, baked goods, meats, honey and plants and other items, “ said Eddie Madden, Elizabethtown Town Manager . “We are looking to capitalize on a great location, no-fees for vendors, and good day of the week for business in town.” The Cape Fear Farmers Market is set to open its 2017 season on Friday, April 28th. The market, which operates at 106 Martin Luther King Drive in downtown Elizabethtown, is open weekly from Monday through Saturday.  “Farm Fresh Fridays” will kick …..

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Firefighters Train for Farm Emergency

Bladen County firefighters came together to train for a possible farm emergency. In this training session firefighters learned how to safely extricate a person trapped in a blueberry harvester. These simulated training sessions help firefighters to learn valuable skills in the event of an incident involving someone trapped in a piece of equipment. Taking part in the class were members of the Bay Tree Lakes, White Lake, Kelly, Rowan, Atkinson, and Bladen County EMS and Bladen County Emergency Management. The class was held at Rowan Fire Department and was taught by Asst. Chief Brandon Norris of Kelly. Share:

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West Bladen FFA Chapter Participates in State Poultry Event

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

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Thoughts While Shaving

Thoughts While Shaving

Thinking about the blueberry crop and the farmers who are doing their best to salvage their crop despite below freezing temps. 28 degrees at 6:45 AM this morning. Another tough few hours ahead before temps begin to return to more mid-March levels. High today near 50 degrees, low tonight in the mid to upper 20s. I think back as a young teenager, dad was working to support his family. As the oldest of 6 children, It was my responsibility to make sure there was enough wood cut to keep the house warm. Green wood with temps below freezing, not a good combination. I appreciate the warm home I live in, …..

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Albert Beatty Farm Featured In Farm Bureau Magazine

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

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Thoughts While Shaving

Thoughts While Shaving

The weather continues to be a BIG story. We recorded about .80 of an inch of rainfall over the past 12 hours, and it was still falling around 6:30 this morning. More rain today, and northwest wind 9 to 16 mph with gusts up to 25 mph. 70% chance of precipitation, but less than a tenth of rainfall is expected. Windy and cold tonight with lows in the upper 20s. High Wednesday in the mid 40s with lots of wind and very cold Wednesday night..lows in the mid 20s. Hope the blueberry crop survives. 80s in February and very cold in March. Remember Woody Durham, voice of the UNC Tar …..

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

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

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Thoughts While Shaving

Thoughts While Shaving

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

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Hand Tool Repair Workshop with Tool Kit set for March 15

Are your hand tools in disrepair, not sharp at all, handles rough and put splinters in your hands? The Hand Tool Repair Workshop on Wednesday, March 15, from 9 am-noon will be a show and tell on how, you can repair rough wooden handles and sharpen the blades of spades and hoes. You will also learn how to clean and sharpen hand clippers properly. A tool kit will come with your $10 registration fee. Space is limited. A sharp spade can make digging a hole much easier and faster, a sharp hand clipper can make pruning grape vines or roses an easy chore. We all hate to work but without …..

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25th annual Old Fashioned Planter’s Day this weekend

The 25th annual Old Fashioned Planter’s Day is scheduled for Friday, March 24, and Saturday, March 25, at the Graham farm in Ammon. Gates will open at 9 a.m. each day.  On Friday night, there will be a Chicken and Rice Dinner and cost is a donation. A museum is now open. There will be hit and miss engines, a saw mill, live music, food and drinks, antique tractors and much more. There will be country, bluegrass and Gospel singing both Friday and Saturday nights and a saw mill demonstration. There will also be crafts vendors, children’s games and rides, antique farm equipment and primitive tool displays and horse drawn …..

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Farmers getting ready for spring growing season

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

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Bladen County Farmer Attends 2017 NC State Tobacco Short Course

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

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Applications being accepted for the Industrial Hemp Research Pilot Program

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

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You Decide: Is Farming a High-Tech Industry?

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

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Troxler hosts Ag Development Forum Feb. 2

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

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Growing for the Local Market

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

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USDA

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

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

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Cape Fear Cattle Conference set for January 24

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

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Agriculture and Forest Landowners Meeting

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

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USDA

USDA Provides New Cost Share Opportunities for Organic Producers and Handlers

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

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2017 Master Gardener Volunteer and Complete Gardener Program

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

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Quarantine area for the imported fire ant expanded

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

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Farm-City Banquet offers glimpse into blueberry production

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

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

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

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Wineries celebrate N.C. Wine Month in September

Wine tastings, grape stomps, festivals planned North Carolina has 525 grape growers and more than 180 wineries. (Click image to download larger version.) RALEIGH – Wine lovers will have plenty of ways to celebrate the state’s $1.7 billion wine and grape industry in September during North Carolina Wine and Grape Month. The annual celebration aligns with the traditional harvest season of grapes across the state. The N.C. Wine and Grape Growers Council, which promotes the industry, is encouraging consumers to visit local wineries during the month. “North Carolina is home to more than 180 wineries, and each one is as unique as the wines it offers,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve …..

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Updated fees for N.C. Forest Service woodland plans take effect

RALEIGH – The N.C. Forest Service’s updated fee schedule for woodland management plans took effect Aug. 1. The updated fee structure allows certain types of woodland plans to be provided to landowners without a fee. These supplementary plans typically address single forestry practices, such as tree planting, thinning and prescribed burning on individual stands of trees. Fees for comprehensive forest management and forest stewardship plans will have a flat charge of $5 per acre. Such plans are more detailed and often qualify the landowner for the state’s Forestry Present Use Valuation Program. Property tax savings from one year of participating in the PUV program can often offset the fee for …..

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USDA

USDA Resumes Incentives to Grow and Harvest Biomass for Energy and Biobased Products

WASHINGTON, May 23, 2016 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Val Dolcini today announced that incentives resume this month for farmers and foresters who grow and harvest biomass for renewable energy and biobased products. The funds come through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), which was reauthorized by the 2014 Farm Bill. “This program expands the types of feedstock that can be used to make renewable fuels and biobased products, laying the foundation for growing more products made in rural America,” said Dolcini. “The Biomass Crop Assistance Program currently supports more than 890 growers and landowners farming nearly 49,000 acres to establish and produce dedicated, …..

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NCDA&CS hosting workshop June 2 in Scotland County on identifying, eradicating cogongrass

RALEIGH – Following the discovery of the federally listed noxious weed cogongrass in northern Scotland County, plant pest regulators will hold a workshop June 2 to help residents identify the grass to be able to report it and help prevent its spread. The free, hands-on workshop will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will provide participants the opportunity to see the plant during its flowering stage, help them learn how to identify it and offer discussions with weed control specialists about various control options. The workshop will be held at the cogongrass site in Marston. “This is the fourth time cogongrass has been found in North Carolina, …..

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NCDA&CS promoting N.C. livestock with new tag program

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has launched a tag program to promote livestock born and raised in North Carolina. The new Got to Be NC tag program uses special ear tags to identify N.C.-born-and-bred cattle, swine, sheep and goats. The voluntary program is a collaboration between the department’s Got to Be NC marketing program, Livestock Marketing Section and Veterinary Division. “Livestock production generates over $3.6 billion in farm income in North Carolina,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We developed the Got to Be NC tag program to better promote the high-quality livestock raised in our state.” To qualify for the program, ranchers must be North …..

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Sheep and goat field day planned for March 19

There will be a sheep and meat/dairy goat field day on Saturday, March 19, from 9:30 a.m. to noon at Mike Herndon’s farm located at 2543 Barlow Road in Parkton.  This will be an excellent opportunity to learn about goats and sheep. Topics include selecting and culling breeding does, bucks, ewes and rams; artificial insemination demonstration and estrus synchronization; feeding dairy goats, udder care and management; and a milking machine demonstration. The field day will also include a youth component that highlights selecting animals. St. Pauls’ Farmers Exchange will sponsor the meeting.  To register or for questions, contact Becky Spearman, Extension Livestock Agent, at 910-862-4591 or email becky_spearman@ncsu.edu by March …..

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N.C. cotton growers to vote on assessment April 1

RALEIGH – North Carolina cotton growers will vote April 1 on whether to continue a checkoff program that supports their industry. The referendum would reauthorize an assessment of up to $1 per bale of cotton sold, but the N.C. Cotton Producers Association’s board of directors plans to continue the assessment at the current level of 80 cents per bale. The assessment would be in effect for another six years. The checkoff program supports improvements in cotton production, marketing and research, and also promotes the general interests of North Carolina’s cotton industry. All North Carolina cotton producers who planted the crop in 2015 and intend to plant cotton this year are …..

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Time to submit wheat tissue samples for spring nitrogen needs

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services reminds growers that properly timed spring nitrogen applications are essential to the growth and development of wheat. Assessing nitrogen needs now will optimize yield and economic return later, and is especially important for organic grain growers. To decide how much spring nitrogen to apply, growers should submit a wheat sample to the NCDA&CS Agronomic Services Division for plant tissue testing. “Tissue sampling should be done when wheat reaches Zadoks growth stage 30 (GS-30) because this is the most important time to apply nitrogen,” said Michelle McGinnis, the division’s field services chief. “To determine growth stage, wait until wheat begins to …..

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NCDA&CS accepting proposals for 2016 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

RALEIGH –The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is accepting grant proposals for the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Nonprofits and government agencies wishing to apply have until March 25. The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program aims to enhance the competitiveness of specialty crops in the marketplace. It is managed by the department and funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture under the 2014 farm bill. “In 2015, we were able to award more than $1 million to fund 13 projects across the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “I hope that we are able to see even more proposals this year as we continue to grow the state’s …..

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Boost the ‘Boro making plans

The Boost the Boro meeting was held this past Tuesday and the members were busy making plans. Don White, chair of the committee, said, “We want to give back to the community, so the community can see that Boost the ‘Boro is about helping the community.” The group discussed a second expansion of the Farmer’s Market in town. Rebecca Hester gave an update on the grant she is helping write to solicit funds for the expansion. An outdoor covered structure, with electrical and plumbing in the back of the market, is one item on the agenda in the grant application. White addressed the need for a revenue making component to …..

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USDA Sees Strong Demand for Conservation Reserve Program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is reminding farmers and ranchers that the competitive sign-up deadline for its most popular voluntary conservation program, the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), is Feb. 26, 2016. This will be one of the most competitive general sign-up periods in history, in part due a statutory limit on the number of acres that can be enrolled in the program. The most competitive applications will be those that combine multiple conservation benefits, such as water quality and wildlife habitat. For the past thirty years, CRP has provided financial incentives to farmers and ranchers to remove environmentally sensitive agricultural land from production to be planted with certain grasses, …..

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NC pecan growers to meet in Greenville March 5

RALEIGH – The N.C. Pecan Growers Association will hold its annual conference March 5 at the Pitt County Cooperative Extension office in Greenville. The event is open to current pecan growers and those interested in learning more about pecan production in the state. The meeting includes workshops and an orchard tour. Dr. Lenny Wells, a pecan horticultural specialist at the University of Georgia, will discuss varieties and successful production practices. Other pecan production and business topics will be covered, including crop growth and management, food safety, potential grant procurement and information on the pending Federal Marketing Order for Pecans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The educational sessions will be …..

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NCDA&CS to host workshops for farmers market managers March 4 and 18

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will host workshops for farmers market managers March 4 in Winston-Salem and March 18 in Mount Olive. “With more than 250 farmers markets across the state, it is easy for consumers to connect with local farmers in their community,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Our farmers market workshops make it easy for local managers to learn best practices, share success stories and discover new resources to make their local markets even better.” The workshops will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The agendas will include presentations on grant funding, digital marketing and social media. There also will be …..

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2016 N.C. boll weevil assessment remains at $1 per acre

RALEIGH — The board of the Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation of North Carolina has set the 2016 boll weevil assessment at $1 per acre of cotton, keeping the fee the same for the third straight year. 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. “Cotton production tapered back last year from record 2014 numbers, with an average yield of 686 pounds per acre. We wouldn’t have the acreage we have now without the considerable effort in the 1980s to eradicate boll weevils from the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve …..

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Oaks Unlimited named 2016 N.C. Exporter of the Year

RALEIGH – Oaks Unlimited Inc., a Waynesville lumber company, has been named 2016 Exporter of the Year by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The Exporter of the Year award honors agribusinesses that have excelled in exporting their products around the world. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler recognized Oaks Unlimited for its exporting success at the Ag Development Forum on Feb. 4 at the State Fairgrounds. Company President Joe Pryor accepted the award on behalf of the company. “Oaks Unlimited has shown the world the quality of North Carolina forestry products for more than 40 years,” Troxler said. “The company now exports 75 percent of its production to a …..

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USDA to offer certificates for farm commodities pledged to marketing loans

WASHINGTON, D. C. – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that producers who have crops pledged as collateral for a marketing assistance loan can now purchase a commodity certificate that may be exchanged for the outstanding loan collateral. The authority is provided by the 2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act, legislation enacted by Congress in December. Commodity certificates are available beginning with the 2015 crop in situations where the applicable marketing assistance loan rate exceeds the exchange rate. Currently, the only eligible commodity is cotton. USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) routinely provides agricultural producers with marketing assistance loans that provide interim cash flow without having to sell the commodities when market …..

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Blueberry Growers of NC host political event

By: Joy Warren Residents across the region gathered Tuesday evening to meet and dine with Republican Senator Brent Jackson. Hosted by the Blueberry Growers of NC, the event was held at Lu Mil Vineyard. Although Senator Jackson serves District 10 (Duplin, Johnston, and Sampson Counties), he is a strong supporter of agriculture throughout the State. Senator Jackson is Chairman of the Agriculture and Forestry Awareness Study Commission and Chairman of the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources. He was the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 513, the NC Farm Act of 2015. Senator Jackson spoke of his love of agriculture stating that “Ag is in …..

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Voluntary Agriculture Districts and Farmland Preservation Workshops announced

RALEIGH – The N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund will hold four workshops across the state for those interested in protecting their communities’ agricultural lands and learning more about the Voluntary Agricultural Districts program. The Voluntary Agricultural Districts and Farmland Preservation Workshops are for agricultural advisory board members, county representatives, program staff, farmers, landowners, elected officials and anyone responsible for, or interested in, farmland preservation and the administration of the Voluntary Agricultural Districts program. The workshops are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Workshops will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the following dates: **Thursday, February 25, University of Mount Olive …..

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Troxler to discuss national ag policy next week in Washington, D.C.

RALEIGH – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler will be in Washington, D.C., Sunday to Tuesday to discuss national agricultural policy with other commissioners, secretaries and directors of agriculture from across the country. The National Association of State Departments of Agriculture’s annual Winter Policy Conference will bring together leaders to discuss pressing issues and federal policy affecting agriculture. Troxler plans to discuss topics such as disaster relief for farmers affected by weather and other disasters; implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act; and agriculture infrastructure. Other items on the conference agenda include the Trans-Pacific Partnership, conservation and biotechnology. “Farmers in a number of states – including North Carolina – took it on …..

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YOU DECIDE: Does North Carolina follow a wilder economic ride?

Dr. Mike Walden North Carolina Cooperative Extension I love the North Carolina State Fair. My wife will tell you that around June 1 I start the countdown to the opening of the fair. Everything about the fair – the farm animals, the exhibits, the food, the happy people, and even the rides – appeals to me. Maybe my “love affair” with the State Fair has something to do with my youth. My father would frequently take me to a local county fair where my favorite activity was riding the rollercoaster. Which brings me to the point of today’s column: Our economy is very much like a rollercoaster. There are periods …..

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NC Forest Service find laurel wilt disease in Onslow County

RALEIGH – The N.C. Forest Service has confirmed that laurel wilt, a devastating disease of redbay and other plants in the laurel family, has been identified in Onslow County in an area along N.C. Highway 50 just north of Holly Ridge. The disease has been identified across the Southeast in portions of South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. In North Carolina, it was first discovered in Bladen, Columbus, Pender and Sampson counties in 2011, Brunswick County in 2012, New Hanover County in 2013 and Duplin County in 2014. In North Carolina, sassafras, pondberry, pondspice, swampbay and spicebush also are in the laurel family and could be affected by this disease. Laurel …..

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NCDA&CS offers hotline for farmers impacted by storm

RALEIGH – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced that the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will activate its toll-free weather emergency hotline Friday to help farmers affected by the winter storm connect with resources. “Farmers who have an agricultural emergency can call 1-866-645-9403,” said Troxler. “We are ready to help connect farmers with local resources right away.” Farmers can call the hotline to connect with resources to help with recovery from ice, snow or wind damage and power outages. The hotline will be staffed 24 hours a day through the weekend. Officials will keep it available longer if necessary. The department also has resources online at www.ncagr.gov/disaster/winter-weather.htm. Share:

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USDA Designates 4 Counties in North Carolina as Primary Natural Disaster Areas With Assistance to Producers in South Carolina

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Rowan and Yadkin counties in North Carolina as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by drought and excessive heat that occurred from April 25, 2015, and continues.   “Our hearts go out to those North Carolina farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. We’re also telling North Carolina producers that USDA stands with you and your communities …..

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USDA Expands Microloans to Help Farmers Purchase Farmland and Improve Property

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Krysta Harden today announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin offering farm ownership microloans, creating a new financing avenue for farmers to buy and improve property. These microloans will be especially helpful to beginning or underserved farmers, U.S. veterans looking for a career in farming, and those who have small and mid-sized farming operations.   “Many producers, especially new and underserved farmers, tell us that access to land is one of the biggest challenges they face in establishing and growing their own farming operation,” said Harden. “USDA is making it easier for new farmers to hit the ground running and get access to the …..

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Second annual Cape Fear Region Cattle Conference to be Feb. 2

North Carolina Cooperative Extension (Bladen, Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson and Scotland County Centers) will host the Seventh Annual Cape Fear Regional Cattle Conference on Tuesday, Feb. 2, at the Southeastern N.C. Agricultural Events Center located at 1027 Hwy. 74 East, Lumberton.  This conference is an excellent opportunity to receive updates on the cattle industry, learn new management practices, and visit with other cattle producers in the area. Topics and speakers include North Carolina Cattlemen’s Association Update by Bryan Blinson; Deworming & Animal Health Management by Dr. Harrison Dudley, NCSU College of Veterinary Medicine and a Beef Cattle Marketing Options Producer Panel. The program includes a meal and time to visit with …..

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NC Pesticide Board announces case settlements

The N.C. Pesticide Board recently approved the following settlement agreements for individuals in Ashe, Bladen, Catawba, Columbus, Granville, Hoke, Lenoir, Lincoln, Robeson, Sampson and Wilson counties. (Ashe County) Charles W. Greer of Warrensville agreed to pay $600 for damage caused to a neighboring property by drift from a pesticide application. N.C. pesticide law states no person should apply pesticides under such conditions that drift from pesticide particles or vapors result in adverse effects. (Bladen County) Stephen Scott Edwards, owner of Edwards Farm in Bladenboro, agreed to pay $1,200 for violations of worker protection standards. H2A workers at Edwards Farm entered a tobacco field to work during a pesticide application for …..

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NCDA&CS to host fifth annual Food Business Conference in Greensboro April 5

RALEIGH – Registration is open for the fifth annual Food Business Conference, which will be held April 5 in Greensboro. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will host the conference from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Greensboro-High Point Airport Marriott. It is geared for people interested in expanding their food business in North Carolina. “Value-added products, high-quality processed foods and other food-related businesses are vital to the success and growth of North Carolina’s $76-billion agriculture industry,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “This conference offers a great opportunity for new and established North Carolina food businesses to learn how to take their companies to the next level.” …..

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USDA Designates four counties in Virginia as natural disaster areas with assistance for North Carolina counties

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Isle of Wight, Patrick, Southampton and Surry counties in Virginia as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by flooding that occurred from Sept. 24, 2015, through Oct. 6, 2015. “Our hearts go out to those Virginia farmers and ranchers affected by recent natural disasters,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I are committed to ensuring that agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy by sustaining the successes of America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these difficult times. We’re also telling Virginia producers that USDA stands with you and your communities …..

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NCDA & CS hosting farmer meeting with Harris Teeter Feb. 26 in Brunswick County

RALEIGH – N.C. farmers interested in learning about the requirements for selling their products to Harris Teeter stores can take part in a free information session Feb. 26 in Brunswick County. The meeting will be hosted by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at N.C. Cooperative Extension’s Brunswick County Center, 25 Referendum Drive NE in Bolivia. “The department is committed to helping local farmers find new markets for their products,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “This meeting will offer growers an opportunity to meet one-on-one with buyers in a setting they may not otherwise be able to experience.” The schedule includes a …..

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N.C. tobacco growers to vote on export assessment Jan. 27

RALEIGH – Flue-cured tobacco growers in North Carolina will have a chance to vote Wednesday, Jan. 27, on whether to continue their self-assessment to support export promotion and expansion programs conducted by Tobacco Associates for the next three crop marketing years. The exact assessment will be approved by the N.C. Tobacco Associates Board of Directors, but the amount will not exceed one-fifth of 1 cent per pound of tobacco sold. The assessment would be in effect for 2016, 2017 and 2018. Ballots will be available for flue-cured tobacco growers at N.C. Cooperative Extension offices on Jan. 27. Growers should contact their county extension office for information about polling locations and …..

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USDA announces $350 million available to help states, private partners protect and restore grasslands, wetlands, and working lands

WASHINGTON, Nov. 16, 2015 – Agricultural Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced the availability of $350 million to help landowners protect and restore key farmlands, grasslands and wetlands across the nation. The funding is provided through the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP), created by the 2014 Farm Bill to protect critical water resources and wildlife habitat, and encourage private owners to maintain land for farming and ranching. Through the voluntary sale of an easement, landowners limit future development to protect these key resources. “The benefits of restoring, enhancing and protecting these working agricultural lands and critical wetlands cannot be overstated,” Vilsack said. “USDA is committed to preserving working agricultural lands to …..

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Freeze Warning in effect until 8 a.m. Monday

 A FREEZE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM 4 AM TO 8 AM EST MONDAY… … FREEZE WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM LATE MONDAY NIGHT THROUGH TUESDAY MORNING… * TEMPERATURES…WILL DROP TO BETWEEN 30 AND 32 DEGREES. * TIMING…THE 32 DEGREE OR LESS READINGS WILL OCCUR FOR UP TO 3 HOURS…MAINLY BETWEEN 430 AM AND 730 AM. * IMPACTS…SENSITIVE OUTDOOR PLANTS AND GARDEN VEGETABLES MAY BE DAMAGED OR KILLED DUE TO SEVERAL HOURS OF AT OR BELOW FREEZING TEMPERATURES. OUTSIDE PETS AND LIVESTOCK MAY NEED TEMPORARY WARM HOUSING FROM THE COLD TEMPERATURES. EXPOSED OUTDOOR WATER PIPES COULD POSE A DANGER OF BURSTING IF TEMPERATURES DROP BELOW FREEZING FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD. …..

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Tobacco growers to vote on research assessment Nov. 19

North Carolina tobacco growers will vote Nov. 19 on whether to continue their self-assessment to support tobacco research and education. The assessment is 10 cents per 100 pounds of flue-cured and burley tobacco sold. Ballots will be available for tobacco growers at county extension offices on Nov. 19. Information about polling locations and times is available at N.C. Cooperative Extension offices. The Bladen County Extension office is located at 450 Smith Circle Drive in Elizabethtown. The phone number is (910) 862-4591. Started in 1991, the tobacco research checkoff program has allocated about $300,000 annually to support tobacco-related research and extension projects at N.C. State University. State law requires that a …..

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Farmers urged to prepare for several days of heavy rain to be followed by possible hurricane conditions

RALEIGH – Farmers across the state are urged to clear drainage ditches, secure signage and loose objects, stock up on fuel and feed to be prepared for days of wet weather that may be followed by hurricane conditions. The state has already seen almost a week of rain that has saturated the ground. If Hurricane Joaquin tracks close to the coast, it could cause trees to topple and create widespread power outages, something that can be especially devastating to poultry and tobacco farmers. “Now is the time to take a tour through the farm and clean things up to help minimize damage caused by debris, wind and flooding,” said Agriculture …..

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Avian influenza informational meetings to be held for backyard poultry owners

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is holding five regional meetings to inform backyard poultry owners about the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus that is expected to be introduced in the state this fall. Veterinarians with NCDA&CS and the N.C. State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will give an overview of the U.S. outbreak and how North Carolina is planning to protect commercial poultry and small flocks. They will also answer questions about the registry for backyard flock owners and provide more information about how backyard and small-flock owners can protect their flocks from potential infection. The meetings will be held in from 1 …..

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USDA Finalizes Procedures for Sorghum Referendum

Agricultural Marketing Service Contact: Sam Jones-Ellard (202) 660-2268 Samuel.jones@ams.usda.gov WASHINGTON, Feb. 19, 2015 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is announcing procedures for the upcoming referendum regarding the continuation of the Sorghum Checkoff Program and is announcing the dates it will conduct the referendum. The Sorghum Promotion, Research, and Information Order requires that a referendum be conducted no later than seven years after the start of assessments, which began on July 1, 2008. For the program to continue, a majority of those voting must favor the continuation of the order. USDA will conduct the referendum beginning on March 23, 2015, through April 21, 2015, at county USDA Farm Service …..

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