Progress Being Made in Mapping of Genetic Code of the Christmas Tree

Scientists say they're making progress on a huge project: mapping the DNA of the Christmas tree.

We're talking about the conifer, which is the umbrella term for trees like the spruce, fir, pine, cypress and cedar. Scientists want to identify the billions of DNA building blocks in the conifer genetic code. That should help in breeding and forest management.

Cracking that genetic code is a challenge because it's so huge – six times bigger than the code for humans. But teams in the U.S. and Canada recently reported preliminary results for the loblolly pine and the white spruce. And a Swedish team plans to follow suit early next year for the Norway spruce.

2013 Beltwide Cotton Conference to be the Last

Historically, it’s been the opening event of the agricultural convention season; the Beltwide Cotton Conference. 2013 will be no different, but earlier this year, National Cotton Council, host of the event announced the 2013 Beltwide, which coincidentally is the 25th, will be the last. Jay Hardwig, chairman of Cotton Inc. and Louisiana cotton producer:

“The Beltwide Cotton Conference is evolving into something different. They are dropping the producer side, due to lack of attendance and expense among other issues, but retaining a certain part of the Beltwide.”

Smaller, more regional type meetings will eventually replace the Beltwide according to Hardwig:

“They are in exploratory stages of trying to develop a strategy where we can continue on in some form, but how we might be more modernized, whether that is regional or targeted, we are in those stages.”

The 2013 Beltwide Cotton Conference is January 7th through the 10th at the Marriott Rivercenter in San Antonio.

Tobacco Referendum Coming Up

Tobacco growers are being urged to vote for the continuation of their Export Promotion Program for the next three years in a referendum on January 23rd. Tobacco Associates, Inc. is a grower-financed export promotion organization directing its activities to protect, promote, and expand foreign markets for US flue-cured tobacco. The organization is governed by a Board of Directors elected annually by flue-cured growers from Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Eligible voters, those who are 18 years of age or older at the time of the referendum and who were engaged in the production of flue-cured tobacco during the 2012 crop year is eligible to vote. In order to pass, two-thirds of the eligible voters must vote ‘for’.

Faces of Agriculture Voting Wraps Up Saturday

Time is running out to vote in the “Faces of Agriculture” campaign. Eric McClam, owner of City Roots in downtown Columbia is a finalist in the campaign to represent agriculture nationwide. City Roots is a three-and-a-half acre urban farm in the Rosewood section of South Carolina’s capital city that focuses on organic fruit and vegetable production, bee keeping and much more. to cast your vote, click here. Voting closes at 5:00 pm Saturday.

Carolina Restaurants Makes Nation's Top 100

OpenTable, a leading provider of free, real-time online restaurant reservations for diners and reservation and guest management solutions for restaurants, has announced the 2012 Diners’ Choice Award winners for the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the United States. It comes as no surprise that New York City and California brought in the most, but North and South Carolina also contributed with Fearrington House Restaurant in Pittsboro, Saint Jacques French Cuisine in Raleigh and Charleston Grill in Charleston.  Restaurants serving American fare dominated the list; French cuisine is also strongly represented.

Latest Drought Monitor Shows South Carolina Holding Steady

In the latest drought monitor released Thursday, the Palmetto state held steady with 100% of the state experiencing the first level of drought; abnormal dryness, the second category, moderate also remained the same at 77.07%. The next phase of drought, severe increased slightly from last week from 29% to just over 30%, and the next level of drought; extreme also increased slightly from 2.25% to 2.29% that includes all of McCormick, as well as parts of Edgefield, Greenwood, and Abbeville counties on the Georgia border.

For more from this week’s drought monitor, click here 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.