Smithfield Expanding MBGro Program

Smithfield Foods announced it is expanding its program MBGro, a collaboration with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to advance on-farm conservation practices and food supply chain sustainability.

The program, developed by Smithfield, works with grain producers to reduce fertilizer runoff and greenhouse gas emissions while improving water quality and soil health.

The USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) awarded these efforts a $500,000 grant to expand the program to grain suppliers in North Carolina.

SC Agribusiness Council Schedules Spring Tour

The South Carolina Agribusiness Council is hosting their spring tour on Friday, May 6th, with several stops on the day-long event.  Included in the tour are Old McCaskill’s Farm in Rembert, Pearl Fryer’s Topiary Garden in Bishopville, and lunch at the SC Cotton Museum, then on to McCall’s Farms in Effingham and Glory Foods with a rare look inside the family-owned cannery.  Cost for the tour is $55, and space is limited.  Contact Steve Slice at to make a reservation. 

EPA Soliciting Comments on Paraquat

The Environmental Protection Agency is accepting public comments on proposed actions related to paraquat, the active ingredient in Syngenta’s Gramoxone®. Paraquat is used to control problem weeds in sorghum, corn, cotton, soybeans and wheat. In particular, the herbicide provides an alternative mode of action for managing weeds that have developed resistance to glyphosate.

The EPA’s proposed interim mitigation decision would restrict use of the herbicide to only certified applicators, prohibit application with hand-held equipment and require new closed system packaging in addition to other new labeling and training requirements. Many of these requirements will make it very restrictive to purchase and apply paraquat products.

Comments must be submitted by May 9, 2016 at

Some Argentina Soybean Fields are Still Flooded

Drier weather has returned to Argentina and should continue through May, but many soybean fields still remain waterlogged.  Eduardo Sierra, the weather adviser to the Buenos Aires Grain Exchange, said Argentina has 21 million hectares of soybeans.  7 million are fine, 7 million are wet but not swamped, and in the other 7 million, growers have to wait for flooding to recede before they try to harvest.  He said the waterlogged fields would be at least “partially lost.” 

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.