We’re a month gone from land fall of Hurricane Irene. Graham Boyd, Executive VP of the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina says that as originally thought some fields were a total loss and there is a general consensus on pounds lost to the storm:
“As far as sustained volume of losses it’s a general consensus out here, Extension Service data, and our association’s done polling data, and the companies have estimates as well as they survey growers, it’s widely believed that in the east that the losses are 150 million pounds, 35 - 40% of the crop. And depending on which company has presence concentrated in the east, that number could be higher.”
Boyd goes on to say that it will be difficult to attach a dollar figure to those pounds lost because several different grades were still in the field. Most of the crop west of US 1 saw little damage and is being harvested. Read the full story here...
EPA’s Jackson Nearly Quit
The New York Post reports that Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson nearly quit a few days ago after her rules for strict new air-pollution regulations were rejected by President Obama. Administration sources told the Post in the face of a weak economy, bad poll numbers and bleak employment figures, Obama made it clear that we just don’t need this fight right now.
The Farm Trade-Job Connection
While many have concerns with the mounting U.S. trade deficit - but U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack notes a record trade surplus is expected in agriculture this year:
“And that means not just better incomes for farmers and ranchers, but as importantly it means for every $1 billion, 8,400 jobs. At a time when we are deeply concerned about the number of jobs in this country, farmers and ranchers are creating an opportunity for greater employment in America.”
Vilsack says that's not fully appreciated by Americans, who don't recognize the contributions of agriculture to the national economy, with one in 12 jobs tied to agriculture.
Virginia Revises Sewage Sludge Application Rules
Virginia state rules governing the use of treated sewage sludge as fertilizer have been revised, and now include new provisions that establish buffers between homes and sludge that's spread on farm fields, and add protections for streams.
Opponents say treated sludge can pollute streams and sicken people. State officials say they're unaware of any documented cases of people being sickened by treated sludge.