US Department of Agriculture

Dave DeWitt / WUNC

North Carolina solar projects are big winners in the U.S. Department of Agriculture loan guarantees for renewable energy projects. In all, the USDA today awarded $43 million worth of loan guarantees to projects scattered across the country. But North Carolina was the big winner, as seven projects here pulled in more than half the total.

A picture of solar panels
SayCheeeeeese / Wikipedia

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced $63 million in loans and grants for its Rural Energy for America Program.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says more than $48 million of that will go toward 14 solar and energy efficiency projects in North Carolina.

A picture of chickens.
woodley wonderworks / Wikipedia

The fall bird migration season has poultry producers concerned.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said avian flu is not dangerous to humans, but it is highly contagious among birds and can wipe out entire poultry flocks.

Katie Brady / Wikimedia Commons

The avian bird flu is spreading across the country, and officials in North Carolina are doing what they can to protect the state's birds before the flu becomes a serious threat. The disease could have devastating effects on North Carolina's $18 billion poultry industry if infected waterfowl enter the state, but State Veterinarian Doug Meckes said that won't be a threat until possibly this fall.


"At this point, the migratory fowls do continue to harbor the virus, but most of them are in Canada and not a threat," Meckes said.

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.

Climate change often sparks concerns over rising sea levels and melting ice caps. But its impact on agriculture could be just as devastating. A new report from the US Department of Agriculture highlights the potential problems and how farmers will have to adapt.

The US Department of Agriculture says winters aren't as cold as they used to be in North Carolina. It has released its first new map of planting zones in more than 20 years. Tony Avent is the owner of Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh. He was a technical advisor on the map. He says its detailed, interactive features surpass anything previously available.

Black farmers in North Carolina and across the country are celebrating the signing of a bill authorizing payments to settle a racial bias lawsuit.

For decades – African American farmers have complained to the government about discrimination from the United States Department of Agriculture – or USDA.  With the stroke of a pen – President Barack Obama signed the Claims Resolution Act of 2010 – freeing up 1.15-billion dollars in settlement money.