Common Concern of Farmers at Southern Farm Show–Drought

While helping out with the North Carolina Soybean Producers booth at the Southern Farm Show, Kenneth Bartlett, who farms near La Grange, says there’s one common theme when visiting with farmers at the show:

"I can't say that's there's one any more outstanding more so than the drought that we've experienced for the last four years. The farmers are really concerned about this, this is something that we can do nothing about… there's a forecast for another year of drought so it is very predominant on the minds of farmers."

The Southern Farm Show continues today and tomorrow from 9:00 am until 4:00 pm at the State Fair Grounds in Raleigh.

Second Argument against Graphic Cigarette Packaging Still Not Likely to Fly

The federal government is trying to convince a skeptical judge that tobacco companies should be required to put large graphic photos on cigarette packs to show that the habit kills smokers and their babies.

Cigarette makers told U.S. District Judge Richard Leon at a hearing Wednesday that they can't be forced to spread the government's anti-smoking advocacy on the products they legally sell. Attorneys for the Obama administration countered that the photos of dead and diseased smokers it wants on all cigarette packs are "factually uncontroverted."

Leon has already ruled that the cigarette makers are likely to succeed in their lawsuit to stop the requirement.

Restaurants Rebounding from Recession

While the economic rebound remains slow and uneven, there is one industry doing well. The National Restaurant Association expects to have record sales in 2012, after good business last year. In 2011, while unemployment nationally grew about one percent, hiring at restaurants grew 1.9 percent. The Association's VP of Research Hudson Riehle says sales are expected to reach 632 billion this year, and that kind of business will mean more wait staff and back of the kitchen hiring:

"The restaurant industry employment growth rate this year will be 2.3 percent compared to a national employment growth rate 1.3 percent."

Yahoo Article Puts Agriculture Inadvertently in Spotlight

Yahoo published an article by Terence Loose in January highlighting the top five useless college majors. Number one on the list was agriculture. The article also picked out specific areas of agriculture that made its top ten list. Needless to say, ag did not take it sitting down.

One of the people to respond was Shannon Latham, Vice President of Latham Seeds in Iowa and a graduate of Iowa State University's Ag Program. Latham earned two degrees in Ag Journalism and Public Service Administration in Agriculture. She started her own blog called The Field Position and has become a pretty passionate defender of agriculture. Latham says the article demonstrates a lack of knowledge about today’s agriculture:

"I believe the author didn't understand that agriculture is responsible for the clothes on everyone's back, the food in their tummy, the fuel in their vehicle and you know, without agriculture we'd all be hungry and naked.

Although the article may have been trying to put down ag, Latham says it actually helped the ag industry by uniting it.

Warm Weather Leaving Coats Unsold

It's been a warm winter across much of the country, and that's been bad news for retailers who stocked up on coats, sweaters and other winter gear. They're simply not selling says Scott Bernhardt of business consultancy Planalytics:

“It’s a very need-driven economy; if you don’t need it, you don’t buy it." 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.