The 4th Annual Got to Be NC Festival is in the books. NCDA Director of Communications, Brian Long says it’s taken all four years to get the weather right:
“Yeah, it did seem like that was the one component that was missing every year, and I think we finally got it right, for the most part this year. We have so many things for the whole family to do, and to have the weather cooperate is great.”
And with that great weather came great crowds:
“We had very good crowds and we’re extremely happy about that because when you have free admission and free parking you know, you want people to come out and take advantage of that. And you know, we had lots of things for people to do and I think that people realized that and they figured it was a good way to spend the weekend.”
The Got to Be NC Festival was created to showcase North Carolina agriculture and agricultural heritage.
Pork for Memorial Day Festivities
With the Memorial Day weekend fast approaching, there are tremendous opportunities for pork. Jarrod Sutton, who works with retailers on pork merchandising, is working on a unique promotion:
“We have some really terrific programs with key retailers. In fact Wal-Mart has introduced, just recently, a brand new item that will be in all stores, and will be a premier feature for all stores all summer long and that is the new Johnsonville Bratwurst and Italian Sausage Patties.”
Kroger and other major food retailers are also featuring pork for the Memorial Day weekend.
Sweet Onions Could Get More Expensive
Signs point to an exodus in Georgia’s rural Vidalia onion country now that the state has passed a get-tough law on illegal immigrants. It could affect the state’s Vidalia onion crop, which requires intense labor for planting and harvesting since the onion bulb can be bruised by machinery.
Farmer Delbert Bland is one of the largest sweet onion growers in the country; his farm workers get visas allowing them to legally enter the country, but he’s worried that if local police enforce immigration laws, it could scare off even legal workers:
“You can get ready to pay about 20 times what you’re already paying for Vidalia onions, to start with.”
Digging Wild Ginseng Illegal
Two Swain County men were sentenced last week for taking American ginseng plants from the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Rangers say dried wild ginseng roots can bring up to $800 per pound, with older, larger roots being the most valuable. Biologists say most of the roots confiscated from Billy Joe Hurley and Jeffrey Hurley were between 10 and 40 years old.
Stink Bug Causing a Real Stink
The brown marmorated stink bug is causing millions of dollars in damages to crops in the mid-Atlantic region. And it may be just getting started.
The bug, native to Asia began appearing in mid-Atlantic orchards in 2003 and now has been spotted in 33 states, including every one east of the Mississippi River.
The U.S. Apple Association says its industry appears hit hardest, with $37 million in damage to growers in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. The insect has no domestic predators and researchers say it will feed on nearly anything, including cherries, tomatoes, grapes, lima beans, soybeans, green peppers, apples and peaches.