No Plum Pox in South Carolina Peach Orchards

Eight thousand nine hundred and seven samples later, the verdict is in: There’s no hint of plum pox in South Carolina.

Reaching the conclusion wasn’t easy, but the search was essential. Plum pox is the most devastating viral disease of stone fruit in the world — and a potential disaster for South Carolina’s important peach business.

14 Clemson University inspectors meticulously hand-picked four peach leaves for every sample — a total of 35,628 — and packed them for shipment to a U.S. Department of Agriculture lab for analysis.

When the results returned, scientists found precisely what the inspectors and peach farmers were looking for: nothing.

Worldwide, plum pox is estimated to cost the peach, plum and apricot industry more than $600 million per year.

Research Station in Castle Hayne turns 70

North Carolina farmers are getting the latest in tricks of the trade and technological advances through research being conducted at horticulture sites statewide, including a more than 100-acre combined research station in Castle Hayne.

Today, it’s part of a network of 18 similar facilities that run in partnership with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University.  Currently, the research in Castle Hayne is conducted on small fruit and vegetable crops and holds the bulk of the state’s research and breeding program for muscadine grapes and blueberry crops, it also fields research in strawberries, watermelons and ornamental crops used for landscaping. The station is touted as one of the world’s top public blueberry breeding programs.

Annual Government Waste Report

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) has released his annual report “Federal Fumbles: 100 ways the government dropped the ball” on federal waste that he says exposes ways the federal government can save time and money. He uses the hiring process in U.S. immigration systems as an example of federal inefficiency.

“Currently takes over 450 days in ICE for Border Patrol to hire one person…450 days of hiring.  If you want to add additional immigration judges, it takes 742 days to hire one immigration judge.”

H-2A Minimum Wage for Guest Workers Likely to Rise in Several States

The minimum wage for H-2A guest workers is likely to rise in several states during 2018. The NASS calculations are normally adopted by the U.S. Department of Labor in December as the Adverse Effect Wage Rates for the coming year. The AEWR is above state minimum wages and is intended to prevent domestic wages from being impacted by an influx of foreign workers. Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina are the top three states in the U.S. in terms of the overall number of H-2A guest workers, with Washington and California rounding out the top five states. The National Ag Statistics Service surveys the prevailing wages of field and livestock workers in different regions across the country. For example, the new minimum wage for H-2A visa guest workers in Washington and Oregon will likely rise over five percent to $14.12 per hour.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.