NC Department of Agriculture

An image of chickens on farm
Charlie Neibergall / Associated Press

 

North Carolina officials are closely monitoring an outbreak of the avian bird flu spreading in the Midwest and Western United States. Thirty million birds have either died from the disease, or have been killed as a preventive measure to control the flu from spreading, according the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Fresh Market
Leoneda Inge

There is a fresh food movement underway and the competition is getting tasty!

One of the most dominant and well-known fresh food grocery store brands in the country is Whole Foods.  It’s in the middle of building 1,000 new stores.

But it’s not the only trendy grocery store snapping up real estate in the Triangle.

Steve Schemm enjoys showing off The Fresh Market that opened just this month on University Drive in Durham, from the poinsettias near the front door to the meat market.

christmas trees
Dave DeWitt

Christmas trees begin here, clinging to five-by-five foot patches of ground on the side of a soil-covered hunk of granite in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The slope dips down several hundred feet below where we’re standing. Fraser Firs of all shapes and sizes surrounded by Dutch white clover covers the landscape.

“Do you see why they call it Smokey Holler?” asks Della Deal.  “It’s a beautiful place up here.”

Corn Damage
Brian Long

The path that Hurricane Arthur took last week hit an area of the state where a lot of corn is grown.  And several farmers will be affected.

State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler and staff traveled by Forest Service plane to see the crop damage first hand.  Ag spokesman Brian Long says a lot of the damage was in Hyde County, known for growing corn.

“There are parts of Hyde County where you can just look and you would almost think you were somewhere in the Midwest, because it’s just is corn, and corn, and corn," said Long.

Turkey
Leoneda Inge

A lot of Thanksgiving dinners across the country will feature a turkey grown and processed right here in North Carolina.  Butterball is headquartered here and produces about 20-percent of the nation’s turkeys. 

But Butterball reports it’s coming up a little short this year with fresh orders. And in another part of the state, one of the largest turkey slaughter houses is shut down.

N.C. State researchers are using North Carolina's tomato plants as a case study to understand how Salmonella affects crops.
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

Researchers at North Carolina State University are searching for Salmonella in North Carolina's tomato crops.  The bacteria causes salmonellosis, a disease that can range from uncomfortable to deadly, and tomatoes in Florida and Virginia have been the sources of outbreaks. Despite North Carolina's close proximity and similar climate, local tomatoes have been safe from the pathogen. A team of scientists from N.C. State's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is investigating why.

Turkeys at a farm.
Curt Gibbs

Nearly 1,000 workers at House of Raeford Farms slaughter plant in Hoke County will be officially out of jobs today.

It’s the end of an era for the town of Raeford. Some of the 950 workers at the turkey slaughter house will retire, some will be transferred to other House of Raeford poultry plants and cook facilities, and many will be jobless.

A tobacco farmer in Rockingham County, NC.
Jim Dollar via Flickr, Creative Commons

A Chinese tobacco company has announced plans to open its North America headquarters in North Carolina.  The state Agriculture Department has worked hard to bolster trade relations with China.  And it’s paid off.

An invasive pest, the emerald ash borer, found in Granville County
NC Dept. of Agriculture

State agricultural officials have placed a quarantine on firewood from three counties due to a destructive insect infestation.  Pest control crews have found  evidence of a beetle known as the Emerald Ash Borer for the first time in North Carolina.  It makes its home in ash trees and kills them over a period of two to three years.  The quarantine applies to any wood products made from ash trees in Granville, Person and Vance Counties. 

Phil Wilson of the state Agriculture Department says the bug spreads by flying from tree to tree or by lumber transportation.

Syngenta Greenhouse Sunflowers
Leoneda Inge

The state of North Carolina is heavy on Agriculture.  So it’s not odd to see greenhouses from the coast to the mountains.  But there’s a new greenhouse at Syngenta in Research Triangle Park that is said to be the only one of its kind in the world.  Dignitaries and leaders in biotechnology and agriculture were on-hand Friday for a tour of this state-of-the-art greenhouse and to celebrate the grand opening of Syngenta’s Advanced Crop Lab.

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