The N.C. Agritourism Networking Association will host a conference titled “Growth and Prosperity in the Next Season” for farmers interested in learning more about the economic benefits of agritourism. The event includes speakers from regional agritourism farms, as well as economic-development specialists. The conference is scheduled for Thursday, February 28th from 8:45 pm until 4:00 pm at the Willow Oaks Plantation in Eden. Registration is $40 for NCANA members and potential members, and the registration deadline is coming up fast, Monday, February 25th. For more info visit our calendar
South Carolina Could See Drought Relief this Weekend
Big rains are predicted to continue through Saturday in the southeast, and Brad Rippey, USDA meteorologist, says that while the heavy rains over the Gulf Coast region will be a big problem, those same rains will not be as damaging when they cross the lower Southeast.
“As we move into the lower southeast, we will be seeing 2-5 inches. These areas have also seen heavy rain but they have also had a more persistent drought over the last two years. Those areas may see some flash flooding as we move into places like GA and SC.”
EPA Hands Animal Rights Extremist Keys to the Kingdom
Early this week the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) was notified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that the agency had been collecting information from states on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). This information was requested by extremist groups, including Earth Justice, the Pew Charitable Trust and the Natural Resources Defense Council through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and granted to them. NCBA Past President J.D. Alexander:
“This action by the EPA really shows their irresponsibility. As a nation we worry about our security from foreign attacks, but what this actually does is slap private businesses with no regard for an attempt to protect us from terrorists. We have seen activities in CA where the terrorists have actually damaged trucks and livestock and really took claim for this. It really is unbelievable that our own EPA would allow this type of thing to potentially happen.”
“The release of data containing personal and confidential information is extremely troubling; we feel betrayed,” said Wilson, NC hog farmer and president of NPPC R.C. Hunt. He went on to say that “We are very concerned for farmers and with the ability of those opposed to modern livestock and poultry farms to manipulate that data to advance their extremist agenda.”
Latest Weather Data from NOAA
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is out with its monthly climate reports; Climatologist Jake Crouch is with the National Climate Data Center:
“The January average temperature was 1.6 degrees above normal. Much of that warmth was situated in the eastern US while the west was cooler than average. Nevada and Utah both had a top ten cold January.”
Indictments Issued in 2009 Salmonella Outbreak Involving Peanuts
It's been 4 years since the a salmonella outbreak, linked to a peanut company in Georgia, that killed 9 people, sickened hundreds, and led to one of the largest recalls in history. A grand jury has indicted four employees of the Peanut Corp. of America with conspiracy, wire fraud, and obstruction of justice, among other offenses, in the 2009 outbreak. The company's former owner, Stewart Parnell, vice president Michael Parnell, plant manager Samuel Lightsey, and quality assurance manager Mary Wilkerson were named in the indictment. FDA inspectors say conditions were remarkably bad in the plant where they found things like mold and roaches.