Palmetto State Expecting Bumper Peach Crop
What could be a bumper peach crop is shaping up in orchards across upstate South Carolina.
Growers and agriculture officials say that during the winter there was just enough cool weather to insure a good crop. There were no late-season cold snaps to damage fragile peach blossoms.
Clemson Extension Agent Andy Rollins said it’s been warmer and wetter than usual in recent months in the state.
Rollins says during the winter peach trees need between 800 and 1,000 hours of temperatures below 45 degrees to grow a good crop. Many areas received just about 1,000 hours.
South Carolina produced about 70,000 tons of peaches last year, second in the nation only to California.
NCDA Suspends Dairy’s Permit over Raw Milk Concerns
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has suspended the Grade A dairy permit of Crawford’s Dairy in Chapel Hill for failing to comply with state standards.
The department began investigating the farm after two N.C. residents were recently diagnosed with campylobacteriosis, a bacterial infection that can come from consuming contaminated unpasteurized, or raw, milk. Both residents had consumed raw milk purchased from Crawford’s Dairy. In addition to selling raw milk, the dairy farm was producing yogurt, cream, butter and buttermilk in an unlicensed facility. The farm’s Grade A permit allows it to sell milk to a processor.
The investigation is continuing, and the farm is cooperating with authorities.
Outlook: Farm Income Pressure to Continue
A report by the University of Missouri predicts more pressure on farm finances over the next several years. The report says lower commodity prices have produced a sharp decline in net farm income, and continued pressure is likely. Net farm income in 2015 was less than half the 2013 record level, as farm receipts declined more rapidly than costs. Projected 2016 net farm income of $56 billion is near the 2015 level. The report says modest increases projected for later years leave inflation-adjusted net farm income at about the same level in 2025 as it was last year. The report also says if interest rates increase as forecasted, there will be more pressure on farm real estate values. The University released the Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute Baseline Report late last week.
Japan Starts TPP Ratification Process
The Trans-Pacific Partnership ratification process is getting underway in Japan. The Japanese government announced last week it is beginning efforts to ratify the trade agreement. The announcement came through a resolution that says the Japanese government will submit 11 bills to the Japanese Parliament aiming at ratifying TPP and enacting the bills required for approval, according to the U.S. Grains Council. The government intends to deliberate and pass the bills during the current session that ends June 1st.