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Joshua Bledsoe of Raleigh, N.C., was named chief operating officer of the National FFA Organization Friday. Bledsoe will manage major FFA operations and lead the overall execution of the 557,318-member organization’s strategic plan, reporting directly to CEO Dr. Dwight Armstrong.

Bledsoe has previously served as the state agricultural education leader and state FFA advisor for North Carolina and has accumulated 15 years of progressive leadership and management experience within agricultural education. He has been a key member on numerous national and state FFA boards and committees, and is a member of the National Association of Supervisors of Agricultural Education, among other professional organizations. Bledsoe take up his new position in Indianapolis on February 18th.

Grains at South Carolina Markets Trend Lower

In South Carolina closing cash markets on Friday, 2 Yellow Corn was 8 to 10 cents lower, 1 Yellow Soybeans were 11 to 19 cents lower, 2 Red Wheat had too few bids to trend. New Crop 2 Yellow Corn was 15 to 16 cents lower, and New Crop 2 Red Wheat was mostly 5 to 12 cents lower; one location 16 higher.

NC Tobacco Trust Fund Applications Open

The North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission (NCTTFC) in Raleigh has announced a new grant cycle and is accepting applications until March 4, 2013. Previous grants include farmer’s market renovations, alternative crop research, agricultural marketing campaigns and assistance for unemployed workers to improve job skills. The grant application and guidelines can be found at . Project winners will be announced by September 2013.

NC County’s Wood Products Quarantined

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has placed Haywood County wood products under quarantine due to a recent detection of thousand cankers disease in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Thousand cankers disease is a newly recognized disease primarily affecting black walnut trees. The following items fall under the quarantine restrictions: walnut plants and plant parts including firewood, lumber, logs, stumps, roots, branches, and composted and uncomposted chips. Regulated items cannot be moved outside the county. 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.