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Broccoli Research Ongoing in South Carolina

USDA and Clemson University have embarked on research to select varieties of broccoli that can be grown in the Palmetto state. As part of a USDA push to fund specialty crop research, the decision to pursue the study on broccoli came in part from increased farmer interest, rising fuel prices and consumers wanting more locally grown food. Dr. Powell Smith, an extension associate from Clemson conducting on-farm trials of different hybrids believes the new varieties my extend South Carolina’s fall and spring season by about two weeks, or about 10%. Currently 2,000 to 3,000 of the nation’s 120,000 total acres of broccoli production occur in South Carolina. As broccoli is susceptible to the same pests and diseases as the collards and cabbage farmed in the state, extension experts believe growers have the existing knowledge base to add broccoli to the rotation.

Early Season Rain Slows Sweet Potato Crop

North Carolina’s sweet potato crop is about 30 days behind normal thanks to early season rains that delayed planting. The crop is also anticipated to be smaller than years past due to reduced acreage. Some grower-shippers have run out of old crop supplies and those that do have potatoes say they expect availability to remain tight until the new crop finishes curing in mid-to-late October.

Vilsack and Others Looking for Farm Bill Passage Soon

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said the nutrition vote in the U.S. House last week did nothing to promote a bipartisan, comprehensive farm bill. In fact – he says passage of the legislation just makes the process much more difficult…

But Vilsack is hopeful that this vote will allow House leadership to appoint conferees to a farm bill conference committee…

Vilsack recently spoke to two-thousand extension officers from around the nation. He says they are anxious to know what the farm programs will be, what the rural development commitment will be and what kind of opportunities research and land grant universities will have…

With the current extension of the 2008 Farm Bill set to expire September 30th.

New and Improved State Fair of Virginia Underway this Week

The State Fair of Virginia's organizers plan to increase the event's focus on agriculture.

The 10-day fair begins Friday under a new ownership structure. The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation is now the fair's sole operator. It previously owned 50 percent of the fair, and bought the remaining shares earlier this year.

Farm bureau spokesman Greg Hicks tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that new events include an educational display that teaches children how to raise crops and a guided tour of livestock competitions. Hicks went on to say 200,000 to 250,000 visits are expected during the fair which would be an increase from an estimated 160,000 visits last year. 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.