Agriculture

Mercy for Animals

A bill in the state Senate could put an end to secret videos seeking to expose shoddy business practices.  The N.C Commerce Protection Act would stop advocacy groups from getting hidden-camera evidence of crimes unbeknownst to employers. 

Mercy For Animals made one such video at a Butterball plant in Hoke County in 2011 that led to charges.  The group's lead investigator Matt Rice says the bill would go beyond just animal cruelty.

Strickland Farms tobacco and house
Leoneda Inge

Farmers in North Carolina and around the country are keeping their eyes on Washington, where Congress is crafting a new Farm Bill

The Senate's version cuts more than $2 billion in agricultural spending per year, but includes about $100 billion in subsides over the next five years.  President Obama has asked Senators to find more ways to save money, including cuts to a farm insurance program.

strawberries
NC Strawberry Association

Researchers at N.C. State say oils extracted from herbs and spices could act as a natural disinfectant for fruits and vegetables. 

A joint project with the University of Tennessee aims to find an alternative to chlorine used on produce grown for mass consumption. Dr. Penelope Perkins-Veazie is a horticultural science professor at N.C. State's research campus in Kannapolis.  She says pungent spices tend to be best at fighting harmful germs.

"They have a very distinct odor, like cinnamon, for instance," Perkins-Veazie says.

USDA photo by Anson Eaglin / flickr

Starvation is often considered a problem distant from the American experience. But for many United States citizens, hunger is a way of life. And many of them live right here in North Carolinians.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 636,000 households in the state have been labeled “food insecure” within the past year. This means that over 17 percent of our families lack consistent access to nutritious food. Families hit hardest by food insecurity are Black, Latino and homes led by single mothers.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
www.ncagr.gov

Farmers and many of those they do business with will gather at the State Fairgrounds Thursday for the annual Ag Development Forum.  State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler will begin his third term in office by discussing the state of the industry.  Ag Department spokesman Brian Long says the meeting will be about much more than just tending crops and animals.  It's about the process of getting the goods to your home.

North Carolina Agriculture products are in growing demand around the world according to new numbers from the US Department of Agriculture.

The USDA reports North Carolina agriculture exports hit 3.75-billion dollars last year.  That makes the state 11th in the nation for overall ag exports.  The latest export numbers also set a record for North Carolina.  Peter Thornton is an International Marketing spokesman for the state ag department.

North Carolina has a significant number of local, niche and pasture based meat producers and consumers, but it lacks enough processors to make the farm to market meat supply chain run as smoothly as possible. On December 3rd and 4th, people involved in all aspects of the meat business in North Carolina will gather in Bermuda Run to work on streamlining the process during the Carolina Meat Conference.

An NC State researcher says a 10-million-dollar gift will mean a stable future for the poultry science program.

North Carolina is one of the nation's leaders in poultry production. Clinton-based Prestage Farms' endowment has given NC State's School of Poultry Science new life.

Mike Williams says, "The concept of poultry science is often hard to sell to new students coming into a program."

An “Ag-Biotech Summit” gets underway in Raleigh today.  It’s the first gathering of its kind in the state.  It will focus on shaping a new “bio-economy.”

Leoneda Inge:  Gwyn Riddick is the Vice-President of Ag-Biotech at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.  He says Agriculture and Biotechnology are the state’s biggest industries.

Gwyn Riddick:  Agriculture which is considered to be around $71-billion dollars, that’s with a “B.” And then Biotechnology, at $64-billion.

North Carolina's top apple-producing county is experiencing its worst crop in decades. That's according to growers and agriculture officials who say this year's unusual weather has devastated many of Henderson County's orchards.

Adam Pryor is a farmer and President of the Blue Ridge Apple Growers Association. He says the crop was hit hard in April by an overnight frost, after unusually warm weather had caused the trees to start blooming.

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