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2013 Tobacco Day this Thursday

There’s still time to get involved in the 2013 Tobacco Day taking place tomorrow at the Johnston County Extension Center near Smithfield. Scheduled topics include target spot and other foliar diseases, organic versus conventional insect management, an energy assessment of new curing barns and more. Program gets underway at 8:00 am and wraps up with a lunch and the presentation of this year’s tobacco greats around noon. For more information or a link to register, click here.

SC Farm Bureau’s 70th Annual Meeting this Week

There’s still time to get involved in the South Carolina Farm Bureau’s 70th annual meeting, getting underway Thursday at the Embassy Suites at Kingston Plantation Myrtle Beach. While online registration is closed, walk-up registration will be available beginning at 3:00 pm Thursday afternoon. In addition to policy meetings, the meeting includes the Big Farm Show, featuring vendors from all over the state offering everything from big equipment to financial services. For more info visit

Soil Moisture Levels Increase in Latest Crop Progress Report

In the latest crop progress report for North Carolina, there were less than 4 days suitable for field work around the state in the week ended December 1st, compared to just shy of 6 the previous week. Statewide soil moisture levels were rated at 15% short, 75% adequate and 11% surplus, which is well above the previous week. The entire state received rain during the week with many areas receiving two inches or more. Roy Thagard with Greene County Extension reports that A few cotton and soybean fields have yet to be harvested. Bean fields planted late are yielding about 20 bushels less than full season. Many growers should finish planting wheat this week. Tommy R. Grandy with Currituck County Extension reports that in his area wheat planting is complete. Soybean harvest is very close to 100 percent, and there is some field work being done in preparation for next year’s crops.

USDA Alters Ag Import Projections

USDA Chief Economist Joe Glauber with the new projection for fiscal year 2014 U.S. agricultural imports and for the U.S. agricultural trade surplus.

“Imports coming in a $109.5 billion, that is down from what we are projecting in August, but up about $6.1 billion from where we were last year. The net trade balance is now estimated at $27.5 billion, down from 2013, but up from the August estimate of $22 billion.”

Window Rapidly Closing on Budget

Two weeks. That’s how much time is left before the House of Representatives goes home for the holidays. At the same time – the Senate isn’t in Washington this week – so that leaves only a week for both houses of Congress to work together to get any more legislation done before the end of the year. Even for farmers and ranchers – the overarching issue is the budget…

“A lot of the work that needs to get done seems to be getting the issues that are important to farmers and ranchers tangled around that axel of the Federal Budget process.”

American Farm Bureau Public Policy Director Dale Moore says progress on that budget process is a bit of a question mark – but one thing is for sure…without an agreement below certain levels – the government will be hit with another round of sequestration – in other words – mandatory budget cuts…

“That will have a direct impact on farmers and ranchers whether it has to do with payments or program availability, as the sequestration kicks in its affecting a number of different agency budgets that we may not think directly affect agriculture. But it maybe be something like getting a permit through EPA and how that process may be slowed up.”

Moore says sequestration will get more and more painful.'

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.