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Virginia Ag Expo Underway Today

Today kicks off the Virginia Ag Expo hosted by the Virginia Grain Producers Association. Brian Taliaferro, Essex County farmer and President of the Virginia Grain Producers Association:

“It’s a great location. We are being hosted by a great family, people that have been in the farming business for multiple generations. Its exciting and they have some good support form their locality, the City of Virginia Beach.” 

David Horsley and his family own Land of Promise Farms, and they are the host of this year’s event. Horsley explains their operation is quite diverse:

“We raise corn, wheat and soybeans, and we have hog operations and a small herd of cattle. We also have a pecan orchard and do 10 acres of sweet corn every year.” 

In addition, there will be a demonstration garden and two tent trade show at this year’s Expo which gets underway at this morning at 8:00 am at Land of Promise Farms in Virginia Beach.

Farmers' Market Month in South Carolina Underway Today

Today begins Farmers’ Market Month in South Carolina. Ag Commissioner Hugh Weathers explains this is an extension of the National Farmers’ market Week which runs from August 4th through the 10th, and celebrates farmers markets as critical food hubs that bolster regional economies, while increasing access to nutritious foods. Farmers Markets have grown in popularity as more people are looking for, and buying locally-grown produce and ag products. South Carolina boasts more than 120 community based markets, as well as the three state farmers’ markets in Columbia, Greenville, and Florence.

Meat Industry Joins in on Immigration Reform Message

Meat industry organizations and companies are among the more than 400 signers of a letter to Congress calling for immigration reform legislation.
A news release distributed on behalf of all the signers quotes from the letter, saying in part, "Reform of an outdated, broken immigration system is essential if we are to achieve a fully revitalized economy that provides rewarding and lasting jobs and opportunities for all Americans."Failure to act is not an option." 

The signers include American Meat Institute, American Sheep Industry Association and Cargill. The political momentum behind large-scale immigration reform has bogged down this year, but the issue is moving once again to the front burner even as Congress plans to begin its five-weeks-long summer recess on Friday.

Tomatoes, Herbs, Hops and More to be Showcased at Field Day

The annual tomato and vegetable field day will be next Thursday, august 8th at 12:30 pm at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station in Mills River. Ag scientist with NC State will demonstrate research on tomato taste, sweet corn yields, and examining the feasibility of hops as a new crop for western North Carolina with a variety trial, and much more. The field day will open with a trade show, tomato taste test and registration at 12:30, and conclude with a pig pickin’ at 6:00 pm at Lake Julian. The event is free and open to the public. For more information visit our calendar.

Smithfield Releases Video Demonstrating New Sow Housing

Smithfield Foods says it is on track to end the use of gestation crates at its U.S. facilities by 2017.

The world's largest pork producer posted a video Wednesday giving viewers a closer look at what sows' lives are like in Smithfield group housing. 

Smithfield has been criticized for continuing to use crates and estimates the U.S. conversion will have cost about $300 million when complete.

The Humane Society of the United States had filed a federal complaint in 2011 saying Smithfield was misleading consumers by suggesting it does not abuse pigs. 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.