Looking to Grow Biofuel Stock on Spray Fields

North Carolina has thousands of acres of spray fields, mostly in the eastern part of the state used to dispose of hog waste without effluent entering waterways. NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler would like to see these spray fields used for feed stock for biofuel plants:

“This is an effort to not only look at using spray fields for bio fuels, but also this could help develop a new agricultural economy in North Carolina that would be centered around the production of feed stocks for bio fuels.”

Arundo donax, a perennial grass grown as feed stock for biofuel plants in Europe has been kicked around as a possibility receiving both positive and negative talk. The positive is that it’s prolific, the negative is that it’s prolific. Prolific as in invasive and difficult to control, especially around water. Troxler explains that arundo isn’t the only feed stock under consideration:

“There are some test plots of Arundo being evaluated now. There are a lot of steps that it would have to go through before anything is done. We are making sure that all of those steps and procedures are followed.” 

2012 Specialty Crop Research Imitative Grants Awarded

The 2012 Specialty Crop Research Initiative Grants were awarded on Tuesday, and North & South Carolina received one each:
North Carolina State University, Raleigh, N.C., $1,298,023. This project will improve the sustainability and profitability of the U.S. Christmas tree industry by developing and using genomic tools to produce low cost and high quality Christmas trees with properties desired by consumers.

USDA Agricultural Research Service, Charleston, S.C., $1,335,515. This project will contribute to a more sustainable and profitable tomato industry by developing detection methods for emerging tomato viruses and viroids, identifying genes responsible for virus resistance and transferring these technologies and disease resistance materials to stakeholders to accelerate tomato breeding.

More Flak on Lack of Farm Bill Legislation

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says with or without a farm bill – possible automatic budget cuts January 1st will hit USDA hard. The continued lack of a farm bill will only make things worse.

Fall Color in Appalachia Coming on Fast

As days get shorter and nights become chillier, the annual fall foliage show is getting under way in the Southern Appalachians.

The first colors are beginning to show in the higher elevations and Great Smoky Mountains botanist Janet Rock said autumn should be a good show all down the ridges.

Warm, sunny days and nights that don't drop to freezing produce the most vibrant colors.
From West Virginia to the north Georgia foothills, sumac is flaming red and the golds are showing in maples high up on the slopes. The colors will spread to the valleys during October and some russets could be left well into November.

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