Virginia Farmers

State officials say sales at wholesale farmers' markets have more than doubled in the past five years. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says the state's network of wholesale farmers' markets had gross sales of $42.8 million in 2011– an increase of more than 7 percent over 2010 and is more than twice the amount of sales in 2006. The agency says 209 producers used the services in 2011, up from155 in 2010.

Could be Time to Get Back into the Cotton Game Thanks to India

Over the weekend, India cut off all cotton exports from their country. Independent cotton market analyst Mike Stevens in Louisiana, says India shocked the cotton world over the week-out out of the clear blue….

“Here we are in a period of over supply, and all of a sudden, over the weekend, with no warning, India announced an embargo on all of their exports. And they are one of the world’s largest exporters. It rocked everyone back on their heels. The market took off and exploded.”

Stevens says no one quite knows what's going on in India just yet…

“They did this a couple of years ago when they had a short crop, but they don’t’ have a short crop, the world is basically awash in cotton. and what they’ve done is they’ve really upset the apple cart. Those merchants that are short Indian cotton, that have sold Indian cotton, they’re trapped because the embargo covers also cotton that’s already under contract, everything is frozen. And we really don’t know what’s ahead, and they’ve hurt themselves, their reputation was already damaged, and nobody is going to come out a winter on. But, it looks to me like the prices have bottomed out and we may be trying $1.00 before the week is out.”

North Hampton Co. Farmer Finds Niche Crop

With the thinking that people will always spend money to support a hobby, Donny Lassiter, North Hampton County farmer decided on chufa, to supplement farm income during low commodity prices. Chufa is a seed crop grown from tuber stock, used for wild birds and water fowl:

“It’s a tuber crop, but we sell it as a seed for other land owners, hunting plantations, that kind of thing, to plant as a food source for turkeys and water fowl.”

Lassiter has had as many as 60 acres committed to chufa, but has scaled back to about 40 due to low sales during the tough economy.

NPPC Focuses on Sow Housing Issues

National Pork Producers Council delegates at National Pork Forum have instructed their leadership to conduct a thorough evaluation of the existing literature on the matter of current sow housing options. Also, delegates asked the National Pork Board to fund similar work to help producers improve housing systems on their farms and make foodservice and retail customers aware of procurement strategies based on perceptions that could be damaging to producer sustainability and to pork quality. 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.