Business & Economy

BB&T Logo
Wikipedia Commons

Winston-Salem based BB&T has announced a today to buy Susquehanna Bank. The $2.5 billion deal adds 245 new branches to BB&T, and extends the bank's reach into Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  Much of Susquehanna's growth comes in more rural markets - something BB&T hopes to capitalize on:

Kari Underly
Leoneda Inge

Most of America’s food industry is male-dominated, from the farmers to the chefs.

But a group of women gathered in Chapel Hill, N.C. this week to learn and hopefully take their rightful place in the competitive meat business.  And that includes bringing home the bacon and frying it up in a pan.

Let’s start with the hog. 

Kari Underly has pulled out a saw to cut around the elbow of a slab of hog on the table.   She's wiping her brow, cutting up a hog is hard work.

Briana Brough

As the demand for local food and farm-to-table restaurants rises, the American agriculture and food production industries are expanding. 

Steve Troxler
Michelle VonCannon

North Carolina’s Agriculture and Biotechnology communities have launched a new global economic development platform.  

Doug Edgeton is President and CEO of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.  He said Wednesday's announcement brings Agriculture, Biotechnology, company growth and jobs together. 

“We have the companies, we have the research, we have the workforce, what we have lacked is something to call it," said Edgeton.  "So without further adieu, I’d like to officially unveil “AgBiosphere.”

A Marcellus Shale drill rig in Pennsylvania used in the fracking process.
Ken Skipper, USGS

New research from Duke University's Energy Initiative shows that revenue from oil and gas drilling tends to cover its costs to local governments.

Policy Researcher Daniel Raimi says the drilling boom caused an enormous population boom and demanded expensive infrastructure upgrades in the remote Bakken Oil Fields of North Dakota.  But, he says, leases and taxes from the industry also increased the budgets of local governments.

U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro and Secretary Clinton’s Senior Advisor for Innovation Alec Ross working together at TechCamp in Tel Aviv.
Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv

Forming partnerships and working in a collaborative setting can be difficult. 

Patrick Woodie
NC Rural Center

The North Carolina Rural Center is holding its 2014 Rural Assembly today in Raleigh.  It’s been two years since the last gathering.

2013 was not a good year for The Rural Center.  The non-profit was issued a scathing audit and its longtime leader Billy Ray Hall was forced to retire.

Patrick Woodie is the newly named president. 

The abandoned railroad corridor that has become the American Tobacco Trail.
Durham Trails and Greenways 2011 Master Plan

Lawmakers are considering an incremental plan to build faster rail lines between Raleigh and Richmond. While officials in North Carolina and Virginia had hoped a high-speed rail might be feasible between the two capitals, funding obstacles remain in the way.

One major  challenge is creating grade separation, keeping tracks from crossing existing roads. The basic tracks that cross over regular roads are limiting.

"You never reach a higher speed than 79 mph," said North Carolina Rep. Bill Brawlyer, who co-chairs the commission working on the rail project.

Stanley Hughes
Leoneda Inge

The federal tobacco buyout program has officially ended.  The last of the tobacco buyout checks are being distributed this month.

The program, officially known as the Tobacco Transition Payment Program (TTPP),  was started to help farmers transition from the Depression-era quota system to the free market. 

North Carolina has fared pretty well during the transition:

Charles Iacovou
www.wfu.edu

Wake Forest University’s business school is ending its traditional full-time MBA program.

Controversial?  Practical?  Charles Iacovou is Dean of the Wake Forest Business School.

“It was about time and it was the right time," said Iacovou.

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