NC State Fair Changes Public

In light of last year’s issues with illnesses from e-coli in fairgoers, and the subsequent investigation, on Thursday, North Carolina Department of Agriculture announced changes for fairgoers when it comes to viewing livestock beginning with this year’s fair. NCDA’s David Smith:

“The recommendations are to separate people from livestock. In some cases it’s a physical barrier. In the past, you have been able to intermingle with the livestock at the fair. That wont happen anymore. You’ll have to stand at a distance from the livestock.” 

After a thorough investigation of those sickened after last year’s fair, no definitive answer was reached as to the source. But, one of the major commonalities was the use of strollers in the livestock areas, even though signs posted prohibited their use.

Weekly Drought Monitor Shows No Relief for Midwestern Grain Crops

The weekly drought monitor report, released Thursday morning shows a bad situation is only getting worse in the drought-stricken plains. Drought monitors say there's been a rise in areas now in extreme drought there. For farmers and ranchers, it's a truth already clear. Some report having to cut down dying corn crops to use as feed for cattle. Russ Meade heads up the farm bureau in Johnson County, Iowa…

“When you are raising hogs or cattle, and you don’t have feed, it puts you in a tough situation.”

The Carolinas are grain deficit states, in other words it takes more grain to feed the state’s livestock than is grown in the Carolinas. Grain shortages from the Midwestern drought will affect Carolina livestock producers before the end of the year.

For more on this week's drought monitor for this area, click here.

Hurricane Forecast Updated

Government forecasters have updated their outlook for the rest of the Atlantic hurricane season. Dr Gerry Bell is the lead seasonal forecaster for NOAA's Climate prediction Center; he says there's still a fifty percent chance for a "normal" season, but the chance of increased activity has risen. The original forecast last spring called for 9-15 named storms, with 4-8 hurricanes.

“The updated predicted ranges are 12-17 named storms of which 5-8 are expected to become hurricanes and 2-3 of those are expected to become major hurricanes.”

Note-these numbers are for the ENTIRE season, not for the remaining three months or so.

Trade Deficit Falls to Lowest Level Due to Crude Oil

U.S. trade deficit fell in June to its lowest level in a year and a half, pushed down by a steep drop in oil imports and a small rise in exports. Since then, the price of oil has soared. Economist Nigal (NY-jill) Gault is encouraged that exports rose in June, but says the rising price of oil will have a negative impact on the next trade deficit report.

Fishing in Gymnasium Pool

There's nowhere to wet a line on the Wake Forest University campus, so when it came time to hold a fishing clinic, one school official found the perfect spot. The Reynolds Gymnasium.

The Winston-Salem Journal reports that assistant director of recreation Jessica Finnerty asked trout farmer Dale Brackens if he could fill the deep end of pool with fish.

Finnerty figured out how to neutralize the chlorine and pool chemicals to prevent harm to the fish and then ordered ice for the pool since trout like cooler water. With everything in place, Brackens dumped 130 rainbow trout into the pool.
About 100 people attended the clinic, which also taught lessons in cleaning and cooking trout, as well as catching them. 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.