Christmas Moisture Improves Drought Conditions in North Carolina

In the latest drought monitor released Thursday, North Carolina’s drought situation improved with the moisture received in the days after Christmas, with 31% of the state now being drought free; the Coastal Plain and the counties bordering Tennessee, up from 19% last week. The area of the state reporting abnormally dry conditions was reduced from 80% to just shy of 69%, bordering the Piedmont to the east and west. The area reporting moderate drought conditions was reduced from 61.5% to 38% in the Piedmont, and the area showing severe drought was reduced from 5% to 1.5% in Mecklenburg and Union counties.

Warm & Wet Conditions Predicted for Eastern US

USDA meteorologist Mark Brusberg has the national weather forecast for January 9th through the 15th:

“The 8-14 day outlook is near to above normal temperatures over most of the eastern half of the US and wet conditions are expected to continue.”

South Carolina Sees Marginal Improvement in Latest Drought Monitor

In the latest drought monitor released Thursday morning, moisture in the days following Christmas has improved the state’s drought situation slightly. The area experiencing abnormally dry conditions has been reduced from 100% last week to 99% this week, with the northeastern coastal corner of Horry County being drought free. The area in moderate drought has been reduced from 77% to 73%, in the upstate, the area experiencing severe drought was reduced from 36% to 33%, and the area reporting extreme drought remained the same at 2.25% in Edgefield, McCormick and Greenwood Counties.

NC State CALS Holding Listening Sessions Across the State

The NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is asking for your input in developing a strategic plan to guide the college’s future. All interested parties are invited to attend one of several listening sessions to be held around the state beginning Monday in Raleigh at the McKimmon Conference Center at noon, and again on Monday evening at the NC Farm Bureau on Glenwood Avenue. These listening sessions continue around the state through February 8th. For more information on times and locations, click here

Congressman Lucas Pleased with Passage of American Taxpayer Relief Act

House Ag Committee Chair Frank Lucas says he is pleased with passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act. For one thing – the bill provides a one year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill…

“It gives agricultural producers certainty and allows the agriculture committees in congress to continue working on a five year comprehensive farm bill.”

At its core – the legislation was designed to avert the fiscal cliff. Lucas says it postpones sequestration and provides permanent tax relief for families, farmers and small businesses – while preventing an enormous tax increase on all Americans…

“Specifically, this bill locks in place current tax rates for middle class families, provides a permanent patch for the alternative minimum tax and holds down the death tax for farmers and ranchers.”

But Lucas says the legislation is only one step in the process of solving Washington’s spending problem. Now he says it’s time for the President to work with Congress to address our 16-trillion dollar debt and find responsible, commonsense ways to cut spending and grow our economy.

Dairy Producers Want More Than Status Quo

Congress passed an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill as part of its fiscal cliff bill early this week. National Milk Producers Federation’s Chris Galen says most of the farm bill is good for another nine-months – but some other programs – like the dairy price support program – go through the end of the year. Many people were concerned about the dairy cliff – and the possibility of eight-dollars per gallon milk – if Congress wouldn’t have taken action. Galen says it would have taken awhile without a new farm bill or extension for consumers to see any change…

“We would have been on the phone with the USDA on Jan 2 if they wouldn’t have passed this deal asking them to move forward with the permanent ag law. The reason is not because we think this is a good policy over the long term, its not sustainable for months, but we need to have some tool to use to hold congress’ feet to the fire.”

For dairy – Galen says it’s déjà vu all over again with the same programs from last year – which is frustrating. Galen says the issue for farmers is that they don’t have a meaningful safety net that results in meaningful payments for them

Bear Baby Boom on the Way in NC

Fewer bears were harvested in North Carolina's hunting season which ended Tuesday, meaning that there could be a bumper crop of cubs born in the coming spring.

Bear biologist Mike Carraway says cubs typically are born in January and emerge from dens with their mothers in the spring. Carraway goes on to say the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission already gets hundreds of bear nuisance complaints a year.
Preliminary numbers show that 698 bears were killed in the bear hunting season, a 28 percent drop compared to 2011.

Report Shows Farmer’s Share of Retail Food Dollar

The latest Farmer’s Share report was released by National Farmers Union and Among the statistics in the December report – dairy farmers received $1.81 for a gallon of fat free milk that retailed at $4.19 and wheat farmers netted just 20-cents of the $3.59 retail price of a loaf of bread.
The report is based on calculations derived from the monthly Agriculture Prices report from USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service and compared to price points of common grocery food items at a Washington, D.C. Safeway supermarket. 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.