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Piedmont Farm Tour Wraps Up 17th Year

The 17th Annual Piedmont Farm Tour hosted by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association took place this past weekend in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Audrey Lin & Debbi Donald, owners of two Chicks Farm near Hillsboro, NC joined the ranks of 40 sustainable family farms for the first time this year:

“We were…we were really pleased with the number of people that showed up and the interest level that people had.”

Lin explains that many who visited Two Chicks Farm had little or no exposure to farming:

“I would say that there were a lot of people there, maybe a little bit more than 50% hadn’t had any experience farming.”

The Piedmont Farm Tour is billed as the largest farm tour of it’s type in the country.

To see photos of the tour visit the Carolina Farm Stewards Facebook page.

Specialty Crops Maintain Good Funding Through Senate Ag Approved Farm Bill

The 2012 Farm bill approved by the Senate Ag Committee late last week maintains a good funding level for Specialty crops. State block grants, crop research, farmers markets and pest and disease programs all have levels of support that has groups like the United Fresh Produce Association feeling good about the plan. Ray Gilmer, spokesman for United Fresh says specialty crop have been gaining in political clout in recent years:

“I think there was a realization a few years ago that the states, politically, that grow fruits and vegetables have grown, to the point that they do have the wherewithal, especially in the House of Representatives t to secure the votes, to basically use some leverage to get a better bill for fruits and vegetables.”

Savannah River channel Expansion Clears One Hurdle

A judge has dismissed North Charleston’s federal lawsuit over a rail yard to serve a new $525 million port terminal.
US district Judge Richard Gergel said the city’s dispute with the Department of Commerce and the State Ports Authority isn’t appropriate for federal court. The city sued the agencies last year, arguing the state’s proposed location for the rail yard violates a memorandum of agreement that port activity would remain on the south end of the old Charleston Naval Base.

ACLU Tours South Carolina Discussing Immigration

Representative from the American Civil Liberties Union visited South Carolina to talk about immigration rights. The ACLU’s “Mobile Rights Team” is made stops in Columbia and Charleston on Tuesday. The group says the stops were part of a campaign planned in conjunction with the US Supreme Court’s consideration last week of a legal challenge to Arizona’s immigration law, which was a model for a similar policy in South Carolina. The federal government is suing South Carolina over its law; the litigation is on hold pending the Supreme Court’s decision.

Not Everyone Happy with Labor Department Decision

Child-welfare advocates are accusing the Obama Administration of caving to election year pressure from farmers and Republicans when it comes to the decision to scrap proposed Department of Labor rules related to children working on farms. Several members of congress and farm groups called the proposal impractical, saying it ignored the reality of small farms. 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.