This is National Ag Week, and today is National Ag Day. NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler says this is a day to recognize all that agriculture is to the US and to North Carolina:
“It provides the food we eat, the clothes we wear and wood for our houses. In a lot of cases we take agriculture and all it provides for granted. We all need to appreciate the significance that agriculture has in our lives.”
Agriculture is North Carolina’s number one economic driver, about two-and-a half times more revenue than the next closest, which is the military. Troxler has the numbers:
“Agriculture is NC’s leading industry and has an economic impact of $72 billion dollars.”
In spite of urbanization taking farmland, Troxler says agriculture continues to grow:
“We have been able to grow agriculture and agribusiness and we know that the urban sprawl is going to have an effect on the natural resources we’ve got to have.”
Troxler explains that as North Carolina’s non-farming population grows National Ag Week grows in importance:
“It’s important for the people in the cities to realize where their food comes from and how important it is to keep an eye on the future.”
NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler.
UNC Study Shows Sewage Used as Fertilizer Unhealthy
Some South Carolina residents are upset about sewage from Charlotte.
The Charlotte Observer reported that a University of North Carolina study found evidence that sludge used to fertilize fields can be unhealthy for people up to a mile away.
About 300 people attended a public hearing in Richburg, S.C., on the renewal of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department's permit to spread sludge on 6,600 acres in Chester, Fairfield, Lancaster and York counties.
Many of those at the hearing complained of nauseating smells and health problems after sludge was spread on nearby fields.
But farmers who get free fertilizer like the plan.
USDA Releases Food Price Inflation Figures
There’s been a lot of talk in recent months about food price inflation. USDA analyst Ephraim Leibtag gives the latest year over year food price numbers:
“Food prices overall are up just 1.6% from February 2012 to February 2013, with grocery store prices at 1.2% higher and restaurant prices 2.3% higher.”
Ag Groups Support Addition of Japan to TPP Negotiations
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced his country’s intention to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. The American Farm Bureau Federation and National Pork Producers Council are supporting the addition of Japan as a negotiating partner in the TPP. Farm Bureau says Japan would bolster the reach of the TPP for U.S. agriculture. Noting Japan was the fourth-largest U.S. ag export market with nearly 14-billion dollars in purchases in 2012 – Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says Japan is crucial to America’s farmers and ranchers.
Wayne County FB Hosting Ag Day Event on Tuesday
Wayne County Farm Bureau Federation will be donating Educational Assistance Baskets to classrooms at area schools, along with Agricultural Facts Sheets that can be used to help educate and develop discussions with students during National Ag Day. Wayne County Farm Bureau’s Women’s Committee is responsible for the event.