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House of Raeford to Cease Turkey Production

House of Raeford Farms announced Thursday it will close its Rose Hill turkey hatchery, Raeford turkey slaughter plant and turkey growing operations in eastern North Carolina over the next four to six months.

Citing declining turkey consumption, coupled with higher feed prices, the company said it will focus on increasing chicken production and expanding its fully cooked turkey and chicken product lines in the next several years. Meanwhile, the company’s chicken business has grown to represent more than 90 percent of sales. The family-owned House of Raeford is among the nation’s top 10 chicken processors.

Last month, a federal judge fined House of Raeford Farms $150,000 for illegally dumping untreated waste from its Hoke County poultry slaughtering and processing plant into the local water treatment system.

SC Ag Council to Change Meeting Format in May

The South Carolina Ag Council has announced a format change for the May meeting. Instead of a two hour meeting followed by lunch the meeting will begin at 11:00 with lunch being served at 11:30, the program will begin at noon, and the meeting will adjourn at 12:30. The location will be the same; the SC Farm Bureau office on Knox Abbot Drive in Cayce. More details on the program for the May meeting will be released in April.

NC Crop Insurance Fraud Likely the Largest in History

It is likely the largest crop insurance fraud bust in U.S. history, the government’ is still unraveling a 100-million dollar scheme by dozens of North Carolina crop insurance agents, adjusters, brokers and farmers to defraud the program.

Forty-one defendants have either pleaded guilty or reached plea deals after profiting from false claims for losses of soybeans, wheat, corn and tobacco. RMA Administrator Brandon Willis on the probe by RMA, IRS and the Justice Department…

“These are the largest judgments rendered in the history of the crop insurance program. In the last month there have been two judgments for example, that have been rendered against adjusters and agents, one for $21 million and one for $8 million.”

The North Carolina scheme involved crops that weren’t damaged and farmers using aliases to sell their written-off harvests for cash.

Extension Requested for Comment Period for Food Safety Modernization Act

277 organizations, food processors and farmers have asked for a second 120-day extension to the comment period for the new Food Safety Modernization Act. Two new proposed rules were released in January with a May 16th deadline for the comment period. Three more rules are anticipated to be released by FDA in early summer. Shelly Burgess, spokeswoman for FDA said in an email that there hasn’t been a decision either way to extend the current comment period.

Budget Drives USDA Suspension of Several Statistical Programs

Beginning next month – the U.S. Department of Agriculture will suspend several of its regular statistical reports. USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Statistics Division Director Joe Prusacki says this decision is budget-driven. For the past three to five years – he says NASS has been compiling a list of programs ranked from high to low – and for this decision – NASS looked at the list and went from there. Prusacki says principal economic indicators of the U.S. will continue…

“Things like the green stocks report, crop production, hogs & pigs, monthly prices on cattle and feed, and the acreage report, we have made a commitment we would publish those reports that have a high priority as possible.”

Prusacki says the decision wasn’t made lightly – but some things had to go. How do you feel about USDA not releasing certain reports? Tell us through our poll question at 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.