Public Meeting Held on Proposed Water Withdrawal from Edisto River

The Department of Health and Environmental Control held a meeting in Aiken yesterday regarding potential effects to wetlands along the South Fork of the Edisto River if Walther Farms plan for a potato farm in Aiken and Barnwell Counties is allowed to siphon off as many as 9.6 billion gallons of water annually. The environmental group Friends of the Edisto has fought the Michigan-based company’s plans for the massive water withdrawal, saying the South Fork contains extensive wetlands that provide environmental habitat.

Skepticism on Reaching Farm Bill Agreement in January

Congress is back this week and will try again to finish up the farm bill – but at least one lawmaker is now giving mixed signals on how quickly the job can get done. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley is hedging his bets the farm bill will be finished by the middle of the month – when many feel USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack may be forced to impose permanent law.

Reversion to 1949 law – with its ancient subsidies – could trigger soaring milk prices after the lapse of a key dairy program on New Year’s Day. Grassley…

“The uncertainty is there, but if Congress really does act in two weeks, its not. Otherwise I think its going to put pressure on the Senate to adopt the House extension for a month or so.”

NC State Wheat Specialist Watching Cold Temps

NC State Extension wheat specialist Dr. Randy Weisz is watching the thermometer with the state’s wheat crop in mind. And, in his opinion the central Piedmont is the only major wheat growing region that looks like it could be in some trouble right on the edge for tillering wheat.
In addition to the extreme cold, there’s a couple of other issues explains Weisz; warm days and wet conditions. Both these factors make wheat freeze tender. Weisz expects to see some areas of the state with burned leaf tips, and possibly some winter kill, but we’ll know by the end of next week.

NC Rural Center Accepting Applications for Rural Economic Development Institute

The North Carolina Rural Center has opened the application process for the 2014 Rural Economic Development Institute, the center’s signature program for rural leaders. The REDI is scheduled for April 23 through 25, May 14-16 and June 11-13 at the Rural Center in Raleigh. Participants are selected through a highly competitive process, tuition is $595. Applications are due February 14th.

Nominate Schools Now for America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education Grants

Math and science are not only the foundation of many agriculture-related careers – but also are vital skills for today’s students. America’s Farmers Grow Rural Education – sponsored by the Monsanto Fund – offers schools across rural America the chance to receive a grant for their math and science programs – according to Monsanto Customer Advocacy Manager Heather Wolfe…

“We are excited to launch the program again for a third year and will award $2.3 million to rural school districts across the US to enhance their math and science programs.”

Wolfe says investing in math and science is a way to keep students prepared for an ever-changing job market


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.

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