Tobacco Production Meeting Scheduled for Johnston County

The Johnston County Cooperative Extension is hosting a Tobacco Production and GAP meeting on January 9th at the Extension Center near Smithfield. Registration gets underway at 3:30 pm and wraps up about 6:00 pm with a sponsored meal. Pre-registration is required by calling 919 989-5380. Pesticide and GAP certification credits will be offered.

Hog producers could see best margins in years

With hogs in short supply, 2014 is shaping up to be a very good year for producers, one Wall Street analyst is predicting.

Outbreaks of Porcine Endemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDv) are accelerating in the Midwest, even as the rate of infections in North Carolina has slowed, BB&T Capital Markets analyst Heather Jones wrote in a report to clients.

In the Midwest, the disease has hit very large as well as small producers, bringing the total number of infected sows to 1.5 million, according to Jones.

The report states that producers with enough hogs will benefit from strong margins due to the reduced supply and lower feed costs.

Wild Hog Task Force Booth at the South Carolina Agribiz and Farm Expo

One of the many exhibitors at the South Carolina Agribiz and Farm Expo coming up on January 16th and 17th in Florence will be the South Carolina Wild Hog Task Force. It’s estimated that there’s more than 150,000 feral hogs in the state, in every county, causing tens of millions of dollars in damage, not only to crop land, but to natural landscapes and potentially increasing the spread of zoonotic diseases to domestic animal production. The feral hog has no natural predators.

The Task Force will have an outdoor exhibit at the Expo…be sure and stop by and take advantage of their knowledge and expertise in battling this pest on the farm.

Call for HIT Repeal Grows

When Congress passed the Affordable Care Act – they needed a way to pay for it. So they created some new taxes. One of them is the Health Insurance Tax – known as HIT…

“It’s a tax on the premiums that health insurance companies collect. That tax is set to kick in Jan 1 of 2014 and the rates for health insurance next year are rising to pay that tax. The average hit for each family will be a $500 increase in premiums due to this new tax.”

American Farm Bureau Tax Specialist Pat Wolff points out that most farmers and ranchers have to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company whose premiums determine how much HIT an insurance company must pay. Those companies are passing that cost to the small businesses that purchase those plans.

Guilford County Inmates Growing Muscadine Grapes

The prison farm in Guilford County has begun producing several products for sale. The High Point Enterprise reports the products include Jailhouse Jelly, Jailhouse Cider and Jailhouse Syrup.

Sheriff B.J. Barnes says about three years ago he put in vines of muscadine grapes and is in his second year of production.

Inmates plant, cultivate, grow and pick the muscadine grapes. They’re then transferred to D’Vine Foods in Elizabethtown to be processed into jelly, cider or syrup. The logo on Jailhouse Jelly shows a cartoon image of a prisoner in black and white stripes holding grapes. Barnes says the project teaches inmates a skill and generates a cash crop for the farm, with the proceeds going back to the county.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.