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2015 Agriculture Challenges Spilling into 2016


South Carolina’s farmers who lost $375 million worth of crops during last fall’s historic floods are facing new challenges in replanting.

Clemson University Cooperative Extension agent David DeWitt says farm budgets will be tight but farmers need to resist the temptation to save by using less fertilizer this spring.

The university said in a release that the heavy rains washed nutrients from the soil so growers need to use more fertilizer than in the past. Some growers are saving money by using less seed.

USDA says a third of the state’s cotton, soybean and peanut crops were left to rot in the fields last fall, which is the worst ratio in state history of crops planted to crops harvested.

North Carolina Cotton Producers to Vote on Referendum Friday

North Carolina cotton producers have the opportunity to vote in a referendum on Friday, April 1st to continue the assessment of up to $1 per bale of cotton sold.  The funds pay for improvements in cotton production, marketing and research, as well as promoting the general interests of the NC cotton industry.  While the assessment is for up to $1 per bale, the current of assessment of .80 cents per bale will be maintained for the foreseeable future.

All producers that planted in cotton in 2015, or plan to plant cotton in 2016 are eligible to participate, and voting will take place at county Cooperative Extension Service offices between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm.

Long-range Weather Forecast through April 11th

Brad Rippey, USDA meteorologist, with the national weather outlook for April 5th through the 11th:

“Looking over the country, looking very warm, from the 5th through the 11th of April, for the most part looking like a very tranquil pattern after this week’s storms.  Most of the country experiencing near, to below normal precipitation.”

China Confirms Plans to End Corn Stockpiling

China’s State Administration of Grain in a statement this week confirmed the country plans to end its corn stockpiling program, and will move towards a program that will subsidize corn growers and encourage commercial firms to buy grain from farmers at market prices. This effort is aimed at improving efficiency on farms and bringing domestic prices more in line with international prices, slowing imports. Chinese corn prices are typically 30 percent to 50 percent above the international market.

Two-Thirds of Consumers Thinks Food Companies are Transparent

A new study shows two-thirds of consumers say they believe agriculture and food companies are transparent. The study by Sullivan, Higdon and Sink’s Food Think initiative found consumers also want to know more about where their food comes from. The study found consumer perceptions of transparency in the industry are growing as more consumers turn to food companies and grocers for information regarding their food. Researchers found 65 percent of consumers think it is important to know how their food is produced while 60 percent think farmers and ranchers are trustworthy, making them one of the most trusted sources for information on food production.'

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.