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Grower Certification, Positive Outlook, and Tobacco Greats Highlight 2012 Tobacco Day

Tobacco grower were updated on the new industry approved unified Good Agricultural Practices program at the 2012 Tobacco Day yesterday at the Johnston County Extension Center near Smithfield. The new program requires grower training and certification and replaces the previous program allowing each tobacco company to set its own production guidelines. Starting in 2013, producers that contract leaf must attend a GAP certification session. Several certification meetings in North Carolina in December and January were announced. A list of dates and locations can be found here.

NC State’s Dr. Blake Brown, a professor in Agriculture and Resource Economics, provided an optimistic outlook for the 2013 tobacco market and a snapshot of potential returns for key crops in North Carolina, including a $923 per acre net return prediction for tobacco.

A highlight of the event was the announcement of this year's Tobacco Greats – George Scott, Vice President of Leaf for Universal Leaf North America US, Inc., and Stan Biconish of Bayer CropScience.  Nearly 200 growers, tobacco researchers and industry leaders attended the Smithfield event. To see more Tobacco Day coverage, click here. Next year's Tobacco Day is scheduled for December 5, 2013.

Area of Moderate Drought in North Carolina Increases

In the latest drought monitor released on Thursday morning, North Carolina’s area of sufficient moisture decreased only slightly, but the area experiencing the second phase of drought; moderate, increased significantly from 50.62% of the state to almost 62%. This area is from the Piedmont up to the base of the mountains from Virginia to South Carolina. And for the first time, the third phase of drought; severe has crept into the picture at just .17% in Cherokee county on the South Carolina border. For more drought analysis, click here.

Palmetto State Falls Deeper in Drought

In the latest drought monitor released Thursday morning, South Carolina’s lack of moisture intensified with the percentage of the state experiencing the second stage of drought; severe increasing about one percent. the third phase of drought, extreme, increased from 16 % to 29% and the most severe case of drought; exceptional, increased from less than 1% of the state’s total area to 2.25% covering all of McCormick County, part of Edgefield County to the southeast, and Greenwood County to the northwest. Lack of moisture at this time of year is especially troubling because this the time of year when most ground water is recharged.

Still Time to Vote for Carolina Finalist in USFRA’s “Faces of Agriculture”

And finally…there’s still time to vote in the United States Farmers and Ranchers Alliance ‘Faces of Agriculture’ campaign. Both North & South Carolina are represented in the 10 finalist. North Carolina’s Bo Stone of Rowland, is a conventional farmer of row crops and his family’s P&S Farms also have a pork operation. South Carolina’s Eric McClam of Columbia is owner of City Roots, a three-and-a-half acre farm near downtown Columbia that focuses on organic fruit and vegetable production.

Click here to vote 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.