Ag Commissioner Troxler Speaks on Butterball Raid

Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler says he is still looking into the action of the state's top poultry veterinarian — who tipped off officials about a raid at a Hoke County Butterball turkey farm. Troxler says Dr. Sarah Mason realizes the decision was not a good one.

“Dr. Mason has not been charged with anything, nor been convicted with anything. She said in her statement that she erred in judgment and I think she’s remorseful for it.”

The operation in Shannon was raided Dec. 28 after an undercover investigator for an animal rights group videotaped workers abusing turkeys and leaving injured birds untended. Some turkeys found by investigators for the Hoke County Sheriff's Department had to be euthanized.

USDA Proposing Streamlining Poultry Inspections

USDA is proposing to reduce the number of government inspectors at poultry slaughter plants. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says about 1,000 government inspector jobs at poultry plants would be phased out as companies take over the job of looking for visual flaws like bruises in chickens on the processing line. He went on to explain that the move will shift inspectors to jobs more important to food safety, like sampling for pathogens and keeping conditions sanitary.

Nixing the XL Pipeline Makes No Sense

American Farm Bureau Senior Economist Bob Young says President Obama’s decision to nix the Keystone XL Pipeline project from Canada’s oil sands to Texas refineries makes no sense.

Young says loss of the 7 billion dollar, 1,700 mile Keystone XL Pipeline is significant – not just for the jobs it would have brought to rural America – but the energy it would have brought to American agriculture:

“The bigger concern is that they’ll build their own pipeline west, find new clients for that product in China and other countries of east Asia, and we’re basically not going to have access to that product.”

Young’s reaction to losing as much as 500 thousand barrels of oil a day:

“You just wish we would have the foresight to make the right decision on that project, but here we are.”

With some energy implications for fertilizer – but much bigger ones for diesel and gasoline – with oil prices still over 100 dollars a barrel:

“I do think on the oil front, though, this is a bigger issue of, as I say, the kind of long-term supply opportunities we had there that we’ve kind of blown by making this decision.”

Young would not discuss the environmental politics believed to be behind the President’s decision but says he feels the reasons have nothing to do with economics or energy supply. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.