NCDA Appoints Three New Division Directors


North Carolina Department of Agriculture has appointed three people to take over for retiring division directors.  John Howard will become the new Emergency Programs Director on May 1st, replacing Sharon Stewart.  Previously, he’s been an incident commander on the NC Forest Service Incident Management team.  Vernon Cox will leave his post as head of the Plant Industry Division to become director of Soil and Water Conservation.  Cox is returning to Soil and Water where he served for 15 years.  And Phillip Wilson will become the new Plant Industry Division director, where he has served for 32 years.

Pesticide Collection Event Scheduled

There will be an opportunity on Saturday, April 29th from 9:00 am until 1:00 pm to dispose of unwanted or out-of-date pesticides at the White Knoll High School in Lexington.  The pesticide and chemical program is open only to residents and farmers from any SC county.  SCDA staff will be on site to monitor pesticide collection and disposal and will have final authority on acceptance of products.  Quantities under 2,500 pounds of solid and 300 gallons of liquid will be accepted at no charge.  No fertilizer, with the exception of a weed-n-feed product will be accepted.  For more information email John Stokes at

Tax Reform by August Unlikely

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin says getting tax reform legislation on the President’s desk by August appears unlikely. Mnuchin told the Financial Times this week the tax reform timeline is “highly aggressive, to not realistic at this point,” in referring to his prior comments on finishing tax reform by August. He cites health care reforms as the delaying factor, but still expects tax reform to be completed sometime in 2017.

Regional Weather Forecast for April 25th through May 1st

Brad Rippey, USDA meteorologist, with the national weather outlook for April 25th through May first:

“There is an indication that we’ll continue to see rather stormy weather across most of the country during this time frame.  The entire country (except for California) seeing near to above normal precipitation during this timeframe.  Looking again at that April 25th to May 1st window, mild for much of the country, particularly for the southern two-thirds of the country.”

More Farmers Considering Drone Use

A new poll finds 21 percent of farmers plan to operate a drone this year. The poll by Farm Journal Media found 21 percent of farmers will operate the drone themselves, while another 12 percent of farmers indicated they would opt for a third-party entity to fly drones. More than 1,000 farmers responded to the poll. 31 percent of respondents say they will keep an open mind about drone use on their operation for 2018.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.