USDA Proceeds With Office Consolidation Plan

USDA announced yesterday its decision on Farm Service Agency (FSA) county office consolidations proposed in January as part of USDA’s Blueprint for Stronger Service. In total, FSA will consolidate 125 of the 131 offices originally proposed for consolidation with other USDA service centers, consistent with provisions of the 2008 Farm Bill. Of the NC offices slated for consolidation, Pamlico County originally slated to be joined with Craven County will remain open, the other five counties under consideration, Catawba, Warren, Chowan, Hertfort and Moore will be consolidated by the end of the year.

Cotton Being Considered for Double-cropping This Year

George Stabler, Area Agronomist with Pioneer Hi-Bred covering South Carolina and western North Carolina says the early wheat harvest is expanding opportunities for producers interested in double-cropping:

“There has been some cotton going behind wheat which is a little unusual. We tried a bit of this last year and it worked out well. There is also milo going in behind the wheat.” 

Most double-cropping has been with short-season soybeans. Grain sorghum, or milo, has been grown extensively in the west for years, but just in the past few has it become a viable crop for the east coast.

Companion to House HSUS-UEP Bill Introduced

Senator Dianne Feinstein has introduced the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012. The measure will likely be offered as an amendment to the 2012 Farm Bill crafted by Senate Ag Committee leaders Debbie Stabenow and Pat Roberts. Feinstein’s bill is the companion legislation to H.R. 3798 that would codify a controversial agreement between the United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States increasing the size of housing for laying hens.

Consumers Less Confident About the Economy

American consumers were feeling a little more pessimistic about the economy in May, according to the latest Consumer Confidence Index, which fell from 68.7 to 64.9–the biggest drop in the index in eight months. Lynn Franco, with the Conference Board, says a struggling job market has spooked consumers:

“We had two weak back to back employment reports and that tempered how consumers are feeling about the job market. Once again they are a little cautious.”

Consumer Demand Could be Key to Cotton Prices

Speaking of Consumer Confidence, Gary Adams explains that to turn the tide of a rapidly downward spiraling cotton market–demand from consumers and mills will need to increase:

“We really need to focus on the demand side. If we can turn the tide on the demand, that will be the key to see some growth.” 

CRP General Sign-Up Results Are In

Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says USDA is accepting 3.9-million acres offered under the 43rd Conservation Reserve Program general sign-up. Since 2009 – USDA has enrolled nearly 12-million acres in the program – with more than 29.6-million acres currently enrolled on more than 736-thousand contracts. 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.