Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced funding for projects to improve electric service for about 10-thousand rural residents in eight states. The loan guarantees are made available through USDA’s rural utilities program. The 207.9-million dollars in loan guarantees will be used to build nearly two-thousand miles of line, will fund more than 11-million dollars in smart grid projects and make other system improvements. In North Carolina Halifax Electric Membership Corporation recieved a $4,050,000 loan guarantee. Funds will be used to improve 2 miles of distribution line and make other system improvements.
Fairly Dry Week in South Carolina
It was a fairly dry week in South Carolina…for a change. The highest precipitation from August 30th through the 5th of September was in the upstate at Walhalla reporting station with 3.3 inches. But, while it was raining, it was also warm, with the highest average temperature of 87 degrees, just slightly above normal, and the average low as more than 67 degrees, almost 4 degrees above normal. The 3.3 inches of rain for the period made that the third wettest for the same time frame in the 118 years of reporting for that station. Many reporting stations in the Palmetto state did not receive precipitation during the reporting period.
2013 Hurricane Season the Season That Isn’t
We’re into the home stretch of the Atlantic hurricane season, and thus far, it has fallen short of earlier expectations. And now it looks as if this year’s hurricane season will likely not be eventful, says USDA meteorologist, Brad Rippey:
“From the National Weather Service perspective they were expecting, as recently as August, another active season with anywhere from 13-19 named storms. As we move deeper into the tropical season, we will reach that 13 and probably be on the lower end of the forecast.”
Data Reveals “Mid-size” Farms are Disappearing
Data shows the average farm size has remained steady over the last 30 years, however a closer look shows fewer “average” farms and considerably more large and small farms.
The Agricultural Resource Management Survey, USDA’s primary source of farm financial information shows in a 2011 survey of 1.68 million farms the average farm was 234 acres. More analysis reveals four out of five farms are smaller than the average, and the median farm size, the farm smaller than half and larger than half of the 1.68 million farms, was just 45 acres.
A recent article from the USDA’s Economic Research Service says the data is skewed by the growing trend of fewer farmers working more acres.