North Carolina’s dry conditions continue to improve, little by little. In the state’s latest drought monitor, the percentage of the state that is drought-free increased from just shy of 31% to just shy of 40%. Those areas are in the coastal plain and in the counties bordering Tennessee. The area reporting abnormally dry conditions shrank slightly, as did the area in the moderate drought category. The area experiencing severe drought remained virtually unchanged in Mecklenburg and Union counties. For more drought monitor coverage, click here

Effectiveness of SNAP Questioned in New Report

A National Academy of Sciences report questions if the food stamp program – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – adequately provides for healthy diets for the millions who rely on it. According to the report – the program doesn’t account for the barriers to finding affordable, nutritious food by inner-city shoppers. The panel of independent scientists also said the benefits lag behind the increasing cost of food.

CALS Listening Continue this Week

Dean Richard Linton’s series of listening sessions on building a strategic plan for NC State’s College of Ag & Life Sciences continues Thursday, January 24th in Duplin County. A summary and many of the comments and observations are being posted from each listening session just a few days afterwards to the CALS website. To learn more about the next listening session in your area, or to see comments from previous meetings visit our calendar for a link. The sessions conclude on February 8th in Madison County.

Annual NC Aquaculture Conference Coming Up

The North Carolina Aquaculture conference is scheduled for February 7 through 9 at the Double Tree in New Bern. The conference’s theme, Fish: Made in the USA, emphasizes the role aquaculture plays in our state’s food production and economy. The conference is of interest to professionals, researchers, fish growers and anyone else wanting to learning more about aquaculture. The conference will feature industry experts who will address everything from how North Carolina aquaculture benefits consumers to innovative production methods and access to government resources. Early registration and program information is available online at Early registration deadline is January 31st for the lowest rates. Registration is also available at the door.

Peanut Research Meeting Set

Clemson University scientists will present a research update Jan. 31 at the S.C. Peanut Board’s 2013 Peanut Growers Meeting in Santee.
Clemson’s Scott Monfort, Jay Chapin and James Thomas will give a research progress report as part of a day-long program.
Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the Santee Convention Center, 1737 Bass Drive (Highway 15), in Santee. The convention center is just off Interstate 95 exit 98.

The program includes a National Peanut Board update and presentations on disease management, irrigation scheduling and variety trials.

Survey Deadline Nears

And finally, the South Carolina Department of Agriculture continues to ask for your input, via online or mail-in survey on the next locations of the Pesticide Recovery Program. The survey takes just minutes and is confidential. The program is for all South Carolina farmers, foresters and nurserymen to safety dispose of old, outdated, unusable or unwanted pesticides. The survey deadline is January 31st.  Click here for more info 

Food Processing Seminar Offered in Charlotte

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will offer a seminar Tuesday, Feb. 5, to help Charlotte-area food processors develop strategies for reducing the risk of food contamination incidents and for handling them if they do occur.

The department’s Food and Drug Protection Division will conduct the seminar from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Mecklenburg County Cooperative Extension Training Facility, 1418 Armory Drive, Charlotte. The program is free, but registration is required. Register online at . The registration deadline is Jan. 29.

The seminar is provided through a grant from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Innovative Food Defense Program. 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.