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Farmers should have corn tested for aflatoxin

RALEIGH — Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is encouraging farmers to have their corn tested for aflatoxin to prevent contamination of feeds and food.
Aflatoxin is a byproduct of the mold Aspergillus flavus, and can be harmful to both humans and livestock.

“We have six drop-off locations at research stations across the state to make it easy for farmers to submit samples,” Troxler said. “I encourage farmers to take advantage of our testing service to protect feed and food against this mold.” <MORE>

Troxler announces availability of bioenergy research grants Application deadline is Sept. 26

RALEIGH – The N.C. Bioenergy Research Initiative is seeking grant proposals focused on research and development of agricultural and forestry-based feedstocks for bioenergy production, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced today.

“A total of $1 million in competitive grants is available, with funding coming from the N.C. General Assembly and a portion of the state’s TVA Settlement Fund,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We have a great opportunity in North Carolina with our agricultural know-how and our forestry resources to develop renewable bioenergy, and that’s what these grants are intended to focus on.” <MORE>

Free Trapping Class at Singletary Lake State Park
The N.C. Trappers Association and N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission are sponsoring a Free Trapping Class Saturday, October 11 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Singletary Lake State Park, 6707 N.C. 53 East, Kelly, NC.
Learn about trapping beavers, coyotes and other furbearers, proper use of footholds, snares and bodygrip traps, trapping techniques and other skills.  There will be classroom and field instruction.  Lunch will be provided by NCTA.
Pre-registration is required.  Cal 910-231-4717.
note..You do not have to be a licensed trapper or hunter to attend this course.

September is NC Wine and Grape Month


Muscadine grapes in season; special events planned


RALEIGH – In recognition of the state’s growing wine and grape industry, Gov. Pat McCrory has proclaimed September 2014 as North Carolina Wine and Grape Month.
“The state’s wine and grape industry has grown significantly in recent years. It now employs more than 7,600 workers and has an economic impact of nearly $1.3 billion,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We look forward to seeing it grow even more in the coming years.”
One indicator of the industry’s maturity is the federal government’s recent designation of a fourth American Viticultural Area in the state. The Upper Hiawassee Highlands AVA covers 690 square miles within the upper Hiawassee River basin in Western North Carolina. It joins the Haw River, Swan Creek and Yadkin Valley AVAs. <MORE>

Fresh Produce Good Agricultural Practices Workshop Series Pender County
Mariah Gleason
Wednesday, September 3, 2014 & Monday, September 8, 2014
Working in partnership, North Carolina State University, North Carolina Cooperative Extension, the Center for Environmental Farming Systems – NC Growing Together Project (CEFS/NCGT), Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) and Feast Down East will be offering workshops aimed at providing farmers with the tools to reduce food safety risks and meet market requirements. This workshop is hosted by Pender County Cooperative Extension.

This two-part Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) workshop series will address how farmers of all sizes can achieve USDA GAPs certification, deliver information on principles of fresh produce safety and perform on-farm hazard assessments, as well as provide assistance with creating a fresh produce food safety plan. <MORE>

NCDA&CS Market News Service to offer new price reports for local products


The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services’ State and Federal Market News Service is launching a series of new reports focusing on locally produced agricultural products.


Reports for the state-operated farmers markets in Raleigh and Asheville, which list current wholesale prices, are now online, as is Farm to School information, which provides total produce sales delivered plus unit prices. In addition to these reports, Market News plans to develop reports for direct-to-consumer sales, which will capture the prices of commodities that farmers market to consumers. Reports on grass-fed beef are expected to be available starting in September.


The new reports will provide users with information that can assist them with making informed business decisions, said Sherry Barefoot, Market News manager. The information can assist producers with their financial planning, assist insurance companies with settling insurance claims and benefit other members of the industry, she said. <MORE>

“StrikeForce” addresses southeastern NC economic opportunities
September 12 meeting discusses local initiatives
RALEIGH – A coordinated federal, state, and local effort addressing the needs of rural southeastern North Carolina communities suffering from persistent poverty will meet Friday, September 12, Pembroke Boys & Girls Club, 6984 NC HWY 711, 10AM.  This effort, the USDA StrikeForce Initiative for Rural Growth and Opportunity, joins area private sector and public sector to increase economic opportunities.   USDA, host of the event, encourages public attendance and comments.   
Mayors, Commissioners, farmers, and community based organizations will discuss with USDA officials the process of how citizens and towns can obtain infrastructure, home and agricultural loans, preserve soil, and insure crops.
USDA Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources & Conservation Service, Risk Management Agency, and Rural Development will make presentations.  Bob Etheridge, State Director for USDA for Farm Service Agency, is Chair of USDA 2014 StrikeForce. 
Interested organizations should RSVP with Alicia Bridges (919) 875-4803 or Alicia.Bridges@nc.usda.gov by September 9.  Visit www.usda.gov/strikeforce for details on the StrikeForce Initiative.   

Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund grants awarded

The Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center at the University of Mount Olive was awarded a $192,764 grant by the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund recently.

The grant will be used to evaluate and analyze the potential for value-added soybean processing in eastern North Carolina through the expansion of services provided by Mule City Specialty Feeds, an independent agribusiness company in Johnston County. The project will serve Alamance, Bladen, Chatham, Cumberland, Duplin, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Harnett, Hoke, Johnston, Jones, Lee, Lenoir, Nash, Orange, Robeson, Sampson, Vance, Wake, Wayne and Wilson counties.
The grant was among nearly $2.3 million awarded to help communities across the state protect farmland and promote agricultural enterprises. These grant recipients were applicants from the trust fund's Cycle VII request for proposals. Funding resources included statewide general appropriations, Tennessee Valley Authority settlement funds and, for the first time, military funds. <MORE>

Cotton Transition Assistance Program Enrollment Begins Next Week
WASHINGTON, Aug. 7, 2014 — U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency Administrator Juan M. Garcia today announced that farmers can enroll in the Cotton Transition Assistance Program (CTAP) from Aug. 11, 2014 through Oct. 7, 2014.
The program, created by the 2014 Farm Bill, provides interim payments to cotton producers during the 2014 crop year until the Stacked Income Protection Plan, a new insurance product also created by the legislation, is available. Details on the plan will be released by mid-August. <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>

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>

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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