NC Ag Commissioner Encourages Hurricane Preparedness

The arrival of Hurricane Irene last august, and the revision of the hurricane forecast for the remainder of the season, NC Ag Commissioner is urging farmers once again to prepare for hurricane season:

“Human life is always first but then we have responsibilities as farmers to livestock. We want to make sure that our equipment is properly secured so that when the weather does break we are back in business again.”

Hurricane Irene brought up some problems that NC ag producers had never dealt with before during a tropical storm:

“There were tops blown off of grain bins and power outages that caused a lot of different problems. There are a lot of different things to think about and it’s never too early to make plans.”

Do you prepare for hurricane season? Answer our poll question at the bottom of the homepage. 

Gasoline Prices Highest Ever at this Time of Year

You may be paying more than ever for a late-summer drive. U.S. drivers are paying an average of $3.72 per gallon to filler-up. That's the highest price ever on this date, according to auto club AAA, a shade above the $3.71 average on Aug. 20, 2008. A year ago, the average was close to $3.58. More daily highs are likely over the next few weeks, according to Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at Oil Price Information Service:

“It’s largely due to an increase in crude oil, but more than that, we have had a summer of a lot of refining difficulties. The bad news is you will pay about what you are paying right now, or slightly more between now and Labor Day.”

E15 Clears Final Hurdle

The United States Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. has ruled that groups challenging E-15 had no proof engines had been or would be damaged by the fuel. The Court says the petroleum, engine and grocery trade associations had no legal standing to bring forward an appeal in court and their legal petition was dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. American Coalition for Ethanol Executive Vice President Brian Jennings says this is a great victory for the ethanol industry…

“This is a huge victory for consumers and the fact that the court very strongly said the engine manufactures particularly have no ability to prove that E-15 is going to cause any damage to their engines.”

Jennings says he expects E-15 to be available nationwide by early next month

Duke Energy Reprieves Rate Hike…for now

Duke Energy customers in both Carolinas will see a temporary reprieve in utility rate hikes. The Charlotte Observer reported that the North Carolina Utilities Commission approved rate adjustments that will reduce the bill of a typical residential customer by about $2.50 a month starting Sept. 1. That will partly offset a $7 monthly increase implemented in February.

In South Carolina, Duke has proposed a decrease that would effectively wipe out a $6 monthly rate increase approved in January.
The dip likely won't last. Duke and Progress plan to seek general rate hikes in both states later this year.

Perhaps We’ve Seen the Peak of the Drought

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack believes the severity of the drought may be peaking – with the overall impact beginning to decline. He notes the effects on corn and soybeans likely won’t be known until harvest – but steadying weather conditions might limit food inflation next year and ease pressure to relax the Renewable Fuel Standard ethanol mandate. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says drought conditions will persist in much of the Corn Belt and Great Plains through November.

NCGA’s National Corn Yield Contest Deadline Just a Few Short Months Away

Harvest forms for the 2012 National Corn Yield Contest are now available online. This is the 48th year for the contest – which remains the National Corn Growers Association’s most popular program for members – with more than eight-thousand entries. Growers are encouraged to submit harvest forms early to allow thorough review of each form. The harvest forms and other documentation must be sent by mail to NCGA and postmarked no later than seven days after the final yield check – by December 1st. And if you think it’s only an “I” state that can win, last year’s winner was from Virginia. 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.