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Bladen County residents place in NC State Fair Competition

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

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USDA

USDA Prepared to Respond to Hurricane Michael

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

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USDA

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

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

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

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

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Local 4-H Agent Recognized for Accomplishments

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

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

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

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Agritourism farms open up after Hurricane Florence

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

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NCDA&CS offers soil management guidance after Hurricane Florence

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

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USDA

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

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

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Swish, Slap, Splat: How to deal with mosquitoes

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

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USDA

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

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

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Flooded crops cannot be used for human food

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

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

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

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

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

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Remember safety first during storm debris cleanup

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

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

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

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Farmers Preparing for Wrath of Hurricane Florence

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

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

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

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September is N.C. Wine and Grape Month

RALEIGH – Wineries, grape growers, restauranteurs and state officials gathered in Raleigh Tuesday to officially kick-off N.C. Wine and Grape Month, which is held each September during the peak of the local grape harvest. “North Carolina has a lot to celebrate when it comes to our wine and grape industry,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The wine and grape industry contributes $1.97 billion to the state’s economy and employs more than 10,000 people.” In September, wineries will open their doors with special events to celebrate the month, ranging from traditional grape stomps to wine-and-cheese pairing events. Large festivals, such as the North Carolina Muscadine Festival in Kenansville are also planned. A selection …..

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Agritourism farms offer family fun this fall

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

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

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

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Plaintiffs withdraw opposition to appeal in hog farm lawsuits

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

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USDA

USDA Announces Assistance to Pecan Growers Affected by 2017 Weather Events

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

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USDA

USDA Announces Details of Assistance for Farmers Impacted by Unjustified Retaliation

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

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West Bladen High School FFA officers participate in officer training camp

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

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

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

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USDA

Deadline Approaches for Continuous Conservation Reserve Program Enrollment

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

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

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

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USDA

USDA Announces Commodity Credit Corporation Lending Rates for August 2018

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

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USDA

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

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

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USDA

USDA Opens Election Period for Seed Cotton Program

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

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NCDA&CS offers organic certification cost-share assistance

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

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USDA

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

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

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USDA

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

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

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Mid-summer Leaf Fall

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

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NCDA&CS Agronomic Services can help ID growth concerns

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

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Commissioners learn about FFA Center Expansion

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

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USDA

Bladen County Farm Service Agency Acreage Reporting Dates for 2018

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

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General Assembly overrides Governor’s veto of NC Farm Bill

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

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Governor vetoes NC Farm Bill

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

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USDA

USDA Announces Loan Rates for 2018-Crop Peanuts

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

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USDA

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

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

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Gardening: Closed to Pests

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

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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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Upcoming Events

Bladen County Co-op Extension Announces Classes

Bladen County Cooperative Extension has announced a pair of classes open to the public. Plant Propagation Class, Tuesday, May 22 9am—12 noon.  Bladen County Cooperative Extension Greenhouse, 450 Smith Circle Drive, Elizabethtown. Please pay registration fee ($5) by May 18. Learn how to propagate plants.  Learn various ways to propagate plants, including semi-hard wood cuttings, air layering, stem cuttings leaf cutting, division,and other methods. We will talk about root cuttings, softwood and hardwood cutting but will not be doing these. We will be doing our “creating” outside at the greenhouse next to the Extension office. Please bring a chair. The second class is a FREE on growing grass for a lush …..

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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

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 seen in decades, some back-to-back, at the most …..

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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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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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Bladen County Animal Shelter Waives Fee for May Adoptathon

Bladen County Animal Shelter will be waiving the Adoption fees on all animals for the month of May. You will still be required to pay the $25-$30 dog and $15 cat vaccination fees. We also offer Micro-chipping for any animal adopted before it leaves the shelter for $15. May is Pet Adoptathon month and we hope that waiving the adoption fee will encourage more people to come out and adopt a shelter pet. The shelter will be open on Monday-Friday from 1-5:00 pm for adoptions. The shelter will be closed on Monday May 28th for the Holiday. These animals deserve a new loving home. So come on out and find …..

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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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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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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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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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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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Rouzer joins Ag Committee in releasing 2018 Farm Bill

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman David Rouzer joined members of the House Committee on Agriculture in unveiling H.R. 2 — the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, commonly referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill, which funds vital farm programs through 2023.  The Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 works to address the 5-year, 52 percent decline in farm income by providing certainty that a simple extension of current policy cannot provide.  “North Carolina is blessed to be one of the most agriculturally diverse states in our great country.  Unfortunately, farm families throughout America have had to weather a 5-year recession, depressed prices resulting in a 52-percent drop in net farm income.  The 2018 …..

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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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