It’s come as quite a shock; the new owner of Townsends’ Crestwood Farms, Omtron Ltd, a Ukrainian company, has announced definitively that they will cease operations of the chicken processing plants in Mocksville and Siler City in October of this year.
Dan Campo, area poultry agent with NCSU Extension based in Chatham County:
“I don’t think that it’s sunk in yet. But, what they are doing is organizing a meeting that’s going to take place on August 15, at Best Foods Cafeteria in Siler City, and it’s going to start around 6 o’clock. And that group is actually just trying to find out if there’s enough financial resources to get together and start a farmers’ cooperative to actually buy out Townsend, and to maybe have kind of like a farmer/owner cooperative that could take over in place of Townsend.”
Campo says that while the stakes are high in creating a cooperative on such short notice, there are some things that are in the farmers’ favor:
“The thing is that they’re very much in the talking stages, and it’s very hard to come up with the kind of money they would need to buy Townsend out. The good thing is that the processing plants are up and they haven’t been disassembled, and they do have a very good team that works for Townsend, that if they could possibly could get it together and get a low-interest loan, from the government or something, to get them started in this project, they might have a fighting chance.”
Campo says that growers that have birds on their farms will finish those birds, and will be paid for them but no more birds will be delivered to growers.
SC Peaches Headed into Mexico
An agreement signed this year by the U.S. and Mexican governments is allowing sweet, juicy Southern peaches to be sold in grocery stores south of the border for the first time in 17 years. Farmers in South Carolina and Georgia now have access to markets closed to them since 1994. That's when Mexico banned peach exports from the Southeast over concerns about invasive pests.
Clemson University peach specialist Desmond Layne says the restart of exports likely means better prices for farmers because it gives them more places to sell their product for profit.
Imported Oil Driving U.S. Trade Imbalance
As Congress debates how much money the federal government can borrow, America continues to take out loans from China to buy oil from Venezuela. Recent U.S. Census Bureau data indicates that the United States’ appetite for foreign oil accounted for 60% of the nation’s 50-billion dollar trade deficit.
A new report says Virginia farmers sold a record 16.9 million oysters in 2010. The report by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science says sales jumped 34% from the 12.6 million oysters sold in 2009. The improvement is attributed to the development of disease resistant oyster seed that is fast growing and more sophisticated practices adopted by farmers.