The monthly crop progress report released by USDA earlier this week for conditions through Sunday, March 27th shows that topsoil moisture is 10% short, 71% adequate, and 19% surplus across North Carolina. The state’s wheat crop is reported at 5% in very poor condition, 14% poor, 31% fair, 42% good and 8% excellent. John Ivey with Guilford County Extension reports that rain over the weekend didn’t affect tobacco land since most was already bedded, and strawberries are looking good with lots of blooms. Daniel Simpson with Pamlico County Extension reports that it’s getting very dry throughout the county, and Cathy Herring with the Central Crops Research Station reports that some very early corn has been planted in her area.
Drier March has Allowed for Early Corn Planting in South Carolina
The March crop and weather report for South Carolina issued earlier this week shows that weather conditions and precipitation have been favorable for most of the month, with average high temps in the low to high 70’s and rainfall totals from less than one inch to just over three inches. Small grains are reported to be progressing well, and pastures are in excellent condition. Producers in the eastern counties of the state are preparing to set tobacco, and with improved planting conditions in the latter part of the month planting of corn is begun and has started to emerge. Watermelon transplanting began in the middle of the month, and small grains are faring well, with the weather allowing growers to get fertilizer and weed control applied to the fields.
Vermont Announces GMO Labeling Enforcement
Vermont’s attorney general recently issued an enforcement memo on the state’s GMO labeling law that takes effect July first. Vermont attorney general William Sorrell said last week that while the law takes effect in July, all products must be properly labeled by January 1st, 2017. The enforcement delay grants products on store shelves in July a “safe harbor” in regards to their shelf life.
China to Abandon Corn Stockpiling Scheme
Reports from Chinese media indicate the nation will scrap its corn stockpiling scheme. China will eliminate its nine-year-old corn stockpiling scheme and will instead allow the market to determine domestic corn prices. A Chinese television station reports that China will directly subsidize farmers and stop stockpiling grain beginning this fall. Beijing has made no official announcement regarding any such change, though there has been talk the country would shift to a more market-driven policy. China currently holds massive state reserves that form the largest corn stockpile in the world.
College Grads Don’t See Ag as a Viable Career Option
A recent survey sponsored by the agribusiness Land O’Lakes shows only 3 percent of college graduates and 9 percent of millennials have or would consider a career in agriculture at time when USDA data show 20,000 jobs in the industry go unfilled each year.