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Nomination Deadline Nears for Farm Service Agency County Committees
WASHINGTON, July 17, 2014 — U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Juan Garcia reminds farmers, ranchers and other agricultural producers that Aug. 1, 2014, is the deadline for local FSA county committee nominations.
County committees are an important link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Farmers and ranchers elected to local committees share their opinions and ideas on federal farm programs.
“There’s still time for eligible farmers and ranchers to get involved in this year's county committee elections,” said Garcia. "Nominate yourself or a candidate of your choice to serve on the local county committee. I especially encourage the nomination of beginning farmers and ranchers, as well as women and minorities. This is your opportunity to have a say in how federal programs are delivered in your county.” <MORE>

Tobacco growers approve assessment


RALEIGH — North Carolina growers of flue-cured tobacco have approved an assessment that will support the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina’s efforts to promote the interests of its farmers.


The assessment was approved on 88 percent of ballots in a mail-in referendum. A two-thirds majority was needed for approval.


Growers approved an assessment of up to 15 cents per hundred pounds of flue-cured tobacco sold in North Carolina. However, the initial assessment will be 10 cents per hundred pounds. It takes effect this year and will be collected when farmers sell their tobacco.


Tobacco buyers will submit collected funds to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for distribution to the association. <MORE>

Bladen Conservation District - New Rental Equipment


The Bladen Soil and Water Conservation District has a new rental tool available. It is a Grassworks - Carpet Wick Applicator. It can be used on many low growing crops such as peanuts, soybeans, cotton, grain sorghum, and pastures, to kill unwanted weeds.


The Carpet Wick Applicator is light weight and easy to use. It has a steel rotating drum that is covered with a synthetic carpet material - wetted by a 12-volt pump. The synthetic carpet holds the herbicide until transferred to the undesirable grasses and weeds. The drum turns in the opposite direction that the Weed Wiper is traveling to apply more herbicide directly to the unwanted weed. <MORE>

Cost Share Funds Available
     Cost Share assistance is available to landowners and tenants in North Carolina to help fund the cost of installing conservation practices to improve the state’s water quality.
     These measures include such things as no-till incentive payments, cover crops, cropland conversions (grass, trees, wildlife), grassed waterways, field borders, animal waste management systems, livestock fencing from critical areas, poultry litter storage facilities, mortality incinerators, water control structures, and many more. <MORE>

Farm Service Agency Bladen County Committee Nominations Begins June 15

WASHINGTON, June 6, 2014 — Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that the nomination period for Farm Service Agency (FSA) county committees begins Sunday, June 15, 2014.
“County committees are a vital link between the farm community and the U.S. Department of Agriculture,” said Vilsack. “I hope that every eligible farmer and rancher will participate in this year's county committee elections. Through the county committees, farmers and ranchers have a voice; their opinions and ideas get to be heard on federal farm programs.”
Vilsack added, “We’ve seen an increase in the number of nominations of women and minority candidates, and I hope that trend continues.” <MORE>

Users urged to submit soil sample information online


RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is reminding growers and gardeners to get a head start on their planting projects by submitting soil samples now. There is no fee currently, and reports are available in one to two weeks. Also, sample information forms can now be completed and submitted online for more accurate and efficient processing.


“As the weather warms up, homeowners start focusing more on yard and garden maintenance and landscaping projects, which could benefit from soil sampling and agronomic advice,” said Jagathi Kamalakanthan, NCDA&CS soil testing agronomist. “Submitting samples during the off-peak times ensures faster turnaround times and no fees for this service. Plus, you will have the information in plenty of time to put fall gardening plans and yard or pasture renovations in place.”
The peak season for submitting soil samples is December through March, when a $4 fee is charged per sample. Off-season times are April through November, when no fees are charged. <MORE>

NC blueberry crop looking good despite late freeze
North Carolina blueberry growers have nothing to be blue about this year, as the state's blueberry crop is shaping up to be one of the best in years.
"The late freeze delayed budding by about two weeks, so this is the first real week of  harvest for most growers," said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.  "Fortunately, the cold snap did not damage the crop, and fresh North Carolina blueberries should be available into July."
North Carolina is the seventh-largest producer of blueberries in the nation.  In 2012, farmers in the state grew 41 million pounds of the fruit.  Part of the state's success is attributed to improve cultivars that were field tested at the Horticultural Crops Research Station in Castle Hayne.
"I can't express how important research is to the future of agriculture in North Carolina," Troxler said. "Each of the department's 18 research stations has unique climate and soil conditions, giving researchers a living laboratory where they can investigate a variety of regional crops, forestry concerns, livestock, poultry and aquaculture." <MORE>

Troxler advises agribusinesses to prepare for hurricane season


RALEIGH – Hurricane season officially begins Sunday, with scientists predicting fewer storms than normal. But as Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says, it only takes one storm to ruin a farmer’s year. He is encouraging all farmers and agribusineses, such as food manufacturers, pesticide dealers and timber owners, to review their disaster plans now and to get ready for the season.


“No county in this state is immune to possible damage from a hurricane,” Troxler said. “Preparing for a hurricane is smart, and thinking through your emergency plan can help no matter what type of emergency strikes. A produce farm has very different needs than a livestock operation. Determining what your most pressing needs will be if you should lose power, or are at risk for flooding, can be the difference in salvaging a crop or saving livestock.” <MORE>

EDF, Smithfield Foods launch initiative with feed grain farmers to reduce fertilizer runoff, greenhouse gas emissions


Collaboration will maintain farm productivity, improve soil health


(Raleigh, NC) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today announced a collaboration with Smithfield Foods and its livestock production subsidiary, Murphy-Brown LLC, that will help farmers optimize fertilizer application to grain grown for animal feed. Efficiently applying fertilizer reduces water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, while maintaining crop yields and lowering farm input costs.


Fertilizer is needed to grow crops, but excess nitrogen fertilizer not absorbed by crops can run off the land and pollute lakes, streams and drinking water. Excess fertilizer also emits significant amounts of nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas (GHG) 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Agriculture is the fifth largest source of GHG emissions in the United States. <MORE>

N.C. peach growers approve assessment


Funds will be used to improve peach research, marketing
RALEIGH — North Carolina peach growers approved an assessment that will fund research and marketing efforts. The assessment received a necessary two-thirds majority vote from eligible peach growers during a mail-in referendum in April.


The annual assessment will be based on the total number of peach trees per commercial orchard. Those who grow between 100 and 500 trees will be assessed $100. Growers with 501 to 2,500 trees will be assessed $250. Those who grow more than 2,500 trees will be assessed $350. <MORE>

Horse owners urged to vaccinate animals against mosquito-borne diseases

RALEIGH – It’s the beginning of mosquito season in North Carolina, which means it’s also time for equine owners to talk to their veterinarians about vaccinating animals against mosquito-borne diseases.

West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalomyelitis are endemic across North Carolina and can cause illness or death in equine, but can be prevented with a sequence of two vaccines. Last year, there were two reported cases of WNV and 13 cases of EEE, but veterinarians expect that the actual number is higher.

“Now is the time to vaccinate against West Nile Virus and EEE,” State Veterinarian David Marshall said. “Mosquito breeding peaks in August, so starting the vaccination protocol now gives it time to take effect.” <MORE>

Grain Drills Available for Rent!
The Bladen Soil & Water Conservation District has two grain drills available for rent to Bladen and surrounding county farmers.
John Deere (1590) –



This is a 10’ wide no-till drill that is used to plant all small grain crops such as wheat, oats, and rye, as well as plant soybeans and most grass seeds. 








Great Plains (706NT) - This is a 7’ wide no-till drill that will plant all small grain crops. It will also plant grass seeds and native grasses, and can be used with smaller tractors.



The rental fee for either drill is $8.00 per acre, with a minimum charge of $50.00.  To assure availability, call the Bladen Soil & Water Conservation District office at (910) 862-3179, Ext. 3, or visit the office at 122 Powell-Melvin Ag Center, 450 Smith Circle, Elizabethtown.

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