Tuesday June 19th, the Precision Ag Field Day will take place at the Tidewater Research & Extension Center near Plymouth. Dr. Ron Heiniger will be one of the presenters at the Field day:

“As usual we will be focusing on brand new things that are just hitting the market or are being tested by growers."

All the technologies at the field day will be demonstrated, as well as on display. Heiniger says that most the technologies have been tested there at the Research Station, and have shown economic viability.
Registration gets underway at 8:00 am. For more information, or for complete coverage of the field day, visit our event page.

SNAP Program Poised for a Fight

It’s not a well known fact, but funding for food assistance is a large part of the farm bill. And a food stamp fight is brewing in the Senate between those opposed to cuts and those who argue the farm bill spends too much on food stamps. Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions argues the farm bill will spend 82-billion on food stamps next year – even after cuts – and 770-billion over 10-years – almost all of what the farm bill spends.

Sessions complains food stamp spending has soared in the last 10-years due to both a poor economy and relaxed eligibility standards…

“To put these figures in perspective, and they are so large its difficult to comprehend, we will spend next year $40 billion dollars on the federal highway program and $80 billion on the food stamp program. Food stamp spending has more than quadrupled, four times its increased four fold since 2001.”

Sessions would restore an asset test for food stamps – close a heating assistance loophole – end enrollment bonus payments to states and create an e-verify system to ensure recipients are here legally.

Falling Gas Prices Push Retail Sales Numbers Down

Retail sales fell last month, decreasing by 0.2 percent. A drop in gas prices helped pull that number down. Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Global Insight, looks ahead:

“We are moving forward at a sluggish pace, around 2%. Its enough to create some jobs, but unfortunately not enough to create very many jobs. And not enough to make much of a dent in the 8.2% unemployment rate.”

Rural Economy Report Proves Congress Needs to Complete Farm Bill This Year

Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow says the report released earlier this week shows how the rural economy is helping to drive the nation’s economic recovery further illustrates the need to pass a farm bill before current farm policy expires. She notes ag exports are reaching record highs and America’s farmers and ranchers are outpacing the rest of the world in productivity and efficiency. With 16-million U.S. jobs supported by American agriculture – she says it’s critical Congress passes the farm bill this year. Stabenow says American agriculture represents a bright spot in our economy.

County Committee Nomination Period About to Open

The nomination period for local Farm Service Agency county committees will begin Friday (June 15). Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack is urging all farmers and ranchers to participate in this year’s county committee elections by nominating candidates by the August 1st deadline. Vilsack says county committees are a vital link between the farm community and USDA. He says they provide a voice to landowners, farmers and ranchers so they have an opportunity for their opinions and ideas to be heard. The FSA county committees don’t approve or deny farm operating loans – but they do make decisions on disaster and conservation programs, emergency programs, commodity price support loan programs and other agricultural issues. 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.