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EPA Approves Arundo Donax as a Biofuels Crop

Very quietly, the EPA approved Arundo Donax as an energy crop, paving the way for Sampson County’s Chemtex biofuels refinery to forge ahead with their plans for using the plant as a feedstock in their new facility scheduled to be online in 2015 near Clinton. Arundo Donax is a controversial plant because if not managed properly it has the ability to become another kudzu. The North Carolina Agricultural Board approved Arundo earlier this year because it’s already used as landscaping material. Current plans are to plant Arundo in spray fields and other marginal lands in the south central part of the state. Chemtex is constructing their plant with a $99 million federal loan guarantee.

SC Watermelon and Vegetable Field Day This Week

The South Carolina Watermelon and Vegetable Field day is scheduled for July 11 at the Edisto Research & Education Center near Edisto. The program includes a talk on organic certification by Ryan Merck, as well as rotation information, fungicides, field tours, watermelon tasting and more. Registration gets underway at 8:00 am and concludes with a lunch at 12:15. The event is free of charge. For more information visit our calendar. 

Plum Island Could Soon Be For Sale

The 843 acre island that has been home to the country’s bio-secure laboratories, animal disease center and other facilities known as Plum Island in Long Island Sound is closer to being up for sale. Recently the Government Service Agency issued an environmental review of the property, recommending its sale. The aging Plum Island facility will be replaced by the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility currently under development near Manhattan, Kansas. A site in North Carolina was on the short list of locations for the new facility before the Manhattan, Kansas location was eventually selected. Environmental groups and area residents object to the sale and have called for preservation of the island as a natural and historic site.

Fallout over the House’s Failure to Pass Farm Bill Continues

The failure of the U.S. House to pass a new five-year farm bill doesn’t simply frustrate Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack – he’s actually angry…

“I think this is a complete failure that is unacceptable to rural America.”

Vilsack the ideological differences in the Senate are just as great, but they persevered …

“This needs to get done. Some of the offensive amendments need to be withdrawn, you cant split the programs up, you risk the farm programs and their survival. We need to continue to push our leaders in the House to get the job done.” 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.