NC Agriculture Department

John Rintoul, Beehives, Bees, Honey Bee
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

The BeeCheck mapping system is getting a lot of attention in North Carolina since an aerial pesticide spraying in South Carolina killed millions of honey bees.

Neal Moore checks on the next batch of blueberry crop to be harvested soon.
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

At the Ivanhoe Blueberry Farms in Sampson County, many of the blueberry bushes are close to eight feet tall now, with plants so close, visitors can hardly see from one row to another.

A picture of cats
Jeffrey W www.flickr.com/photos/jeffreyww/4544016041/ / Flickr

In a letter addressed to euthanasia technicians and registered animal shelters in the state, the N.C. Department of Agriculture says the use of gas chambers for euthanizing cats and dogs is no longer acceptable.

The letter comes from Dr. Patricia Norris, the new director of the Animal Welfare Section at the Department.

"We're basically clarifying the policy for everybody," said Norris.

Stephanie Tyson
Leoneda Inge / WUNC

If you have lived in North Carolina for any amount of time, you have likely heard this is the sweet potato state.  More sweet potatoes are grown here than anywhere else in the country.

So this Thanksgiving, there are bound to be sweet potato side dishes on many tables.

A picture of fresh produce.
Jina Lee / Wikipedia

North Carolina farmers and distributors are expected to get an earful from the Food and Drug Administration today.

The gathering in Greensboro is an official FDA listening session about implementation of the Food Safety and Modernization Act.  It was signed into law in 2011.

Joe Reardon is North Carolina's Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture for Consumer Protection.

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.”

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:

Tom Armstrong
Leoneda Inge

North Carolina is known for its diverse agriculture offerings.  And you can always count on the State Farmer’s Market to feature the best the state has to offer, from collard greens to sweet potatoes.

But on Thursday, for the first time, the State Farmer’s Market hosted Seafood Day.  Enthusiasts said it’s been a long time coming.

It was the perfect day for a fish fry.  It was hot outside and the fish was hot, right out of the skillet.

Photo: A sylo at a farm in Swannaona, NC
Flickr

North Carolina House and Senate leaders say they've finalized details for public school teacher pay raises and the state's budget, but lawmakers are rushing to tackle other issues ranging from sales taxes to farm pollution.

The Senate has already given its approval for the North Carolina Farm Act, and the House is giving it a closer look in its agriculture committee yesterday and its finance committee today.

PED Virus
Rick Dove, Waterkeeper Alliance

The New York Times reports Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea or PED virus killed an estimated 100,000 young pigs each week across the country since the virus was detected last May.

North Carolina continues to suffer.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture says, no doubt, PED has been a nasty virus and has taken an emotional and financial toll on hog farmers.