Farming

North Carolina's farm economy is one of the biggest industries in the state. That's one of the reasons for a forum today on trends that affect the agriculture economy. State officials say farm safety, exports and drought will be some of the topics. Brian Long is with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He says there's another problem that doesn't get as much attention.

State Agriculture leaders have come up with a “wish list” for the legislature.  They say the measures will help farmers weather future disasters.

Farmers – mainly in eastern North Carolina – are continuing to feel the wrath of Hurricane Irene.  Early estimates put damage to Agriculture at 325-million dollars.  The state Ag Board met at the fairgrounds yesterday to discuss how to help.  Ag department spokesman Brain Long says one idea is for there to be “bridge” loans available for farmers devastated by a disaster.

A bison on RG Hammonds' farm in Lumberton roams close to his golf cart
Leoneda Inge

There’s a section of eastern North Carolina where the Lumbee Indians call home.  The Lumbee have a long history of farming and ranching.  But just like African American and women farmers, they were discriminated against by the federal government.   And just like those groups – Native Americans filed a class-action lawsuit – and won. This week – lawyers are back in Pembroke, North Carolina helping the Lumbees file their claims for long-awaited compensation. 

A food distribution program at UNC-Wilmington is opening a food processing center this week for local farmers. The center will act as a way to deliver locally grown fruits and vegetables to area schools and restaurants. Farmers can store their goods at the center and make a profit from distribution.

Leslie Hossfeld is a co-founder of the program that sponsors the food center, called Feast Down East. She says the facility has partnered with more than 70 restaurants in Wilmington:

Growing A Broccoli Economy

Dec 23, 2010
Broccoli
Linda N. Flickr Creative Commons

Some North Carolina horticulture experts want you to get your next head of broccoli closer to home.

Broccoli is a 700-million-dollar a year industry in the U S, and most of that gets shipped from the West Coast. But agricultural scientists from N C State University think that can change.

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