TheFirstFurrow

Wednesday, January 18, 2017 Farmers on Jones Street

Last week, the 2017-18 General Assembly opened this year’s session, and in a few weeks they will dig in on their new legislative agenda. As you probably know, Republicans hold a 74-46 majority in the NC House and a 34-16 majority in the NC Senate. In the NC House, there are 19 new members, seven Democrats and 12 Republicans; in the NC Senate, there are five new members, all of whom are Republicans.Demographic information is important to understanding the composition of the legislature. Instead of looking at the usual race or gender breakdown, we decided to take a look at another bit of demographic information: occupation. Based on NC House and NC Senate Clerk Reports, the leading occupations are attorney, business owner, real estate broker, business executive, and consultant.

So how many farmers are there in the legislature?

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 Ag Statistics: Farmers Need Them. Farmers Own Them.

Growing up on our small farm in Travis County, Texas, I would occasionally see the survey form from the Texas Crop and Livestock Reporting Service on my dad’s desk. Dad retired as a pilot from the US Air Force after a 28-year career, including flying B-29’s during WWII in the Pacific. My parents bought the rural house and acreage in central Texas so that, among other reasons, my two brothers and I could learn the lessons of hard work while they held down jobs off the farm. Little did I know at the time that I would one day be a “bureaucrat” sending out those survey forms to thousands of farmers across the nation. During my 32 ½ years working for USDA National Agriculture Statistics Service (formerly known as the Crop and Livestock Reporting Service), I have seen and measured firsthand the tremendous changes in agriculture – yet the reason for conducting agricultural statistics surveys really has not changed.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016 Industry Spotlight: NC Christmas Trees!

The holidays are finally here, and that mean many of you either already have or soon will be decorating your Christmas Tree. What you may not realize is just how lucky we are here in North Carolina to have a large, thriving community of Christmas tree growers. In fact, North Carolina Christmas Trees are so famous they have been selected as the White House Christmas Tree a dozen times since 1970. So this week, in the spirit of the season, we’re lighting up the NC Christmas Tree Industry!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016 Eighty Years of Service for North Carolina Farm Bureau

In a few days, North Carolina Farm Bureau members and voting delegates will travel to Greensboro, NC for the organization’s 81st Annual Convention. The event is a celebration of the year’s work: growing the membership, advocating for farmers and rural families, telling the story of North Carolina agriculture, and investing in the future of our state. But the convention is also the culmination of the year’s policy development process — a process that, for 80 years, has exemplified the true grassroots spirit of Farm Bureau.

The following commentary is by North Carolina Farm Bureau President Larry Wooten, first published in the Winter 2016 issue of NC Field and Family.

16-167-wooten_020ret5x7North Carolina Farm Bureau is proud to celebrate 80 years of service to the farm and rural families of our great state. With the unwavering support of our volunteer leaders, our legacy as the Voice of Agriculture will continue for decades more.

Born from the economic disaster of the Great Depression, NCFB was established March 2, 1936. Those 2,000 farmers, in 24 counties, are now more than 530,000 families across 100 counties. During our second annual meeting in September 1937, our first six policy resolutions were approved. As our grassroots policy positions have expanded, so have our legislative accomplishments:

  • 1952 – NCFB encouraged the establishment of the Nickels for Know-How referendum. This program is credited with helping save cotton as a viable crop through its funding of boll weevil research.
  • 1958 – NCFB helped win renewal of the 1934 Reciprocal Trade Agreement Act, holding a Trade Act Rally, publishing editorials, and coordinating grassroots contact with Congressional representatives.
  • 2004 – NCFB efforts played a major role in securing the $10.14 billion tobacco quota buyout – an unprecedented legislative accomplishment included in the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004.
  • 2015-16 – NCFB was the leading advocate for the $2 billion Connect NC Bond Act, which included agricultural benefits, as well as improvements to higher education, state parks, National Guard facilities, and water and sewer infrastructures across the state.

Because of the vision and dedication of our farmer leaders, Farm Bureau is a respected and unified voice representing our members. Legislative engagement remains our core mission, but it is not Farm Bureau’s sole policy mandate.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 Thanksgiving Dinner Ticks Down to Less Than $5 Per Person

From American Farm Bureau Newsroom

The American Farm Bureau Federation’s 31st annual informal price survey of classic items found on the Thanksgiving Day dinner table indicates the average cost of this year’s feast for 10 is $49.87, a 24-cent decrease from last year’s average of $50.11.

The big ticket item – a 16-pound turkey – came in at a total of $22.74 this year. That’s roughly $1.42 per pound, a decrease of 2 cents per pound, or a total of 30 cents per whole turkey, compared to 2015.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016 Celebrating Ag Day, each and every day

Written by Dr. Randy Woodson, Chancellor of North Carolina State University.

This Saturday, November 19 at Carter-Finley Stadium, the Wolfpack not only play host to the Miami Hurricanes, but we will also be celebrating our 4th annual Ag Day, a time to recognize the many contributions that agriculture and our farmers make to our state. Agriculture built North Carolina, and people around the world depend on what’s raised and grown right here at home.

NC State University and the faculty and staff of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences work hard with partners across North Carolina to ensure our state’s agriculture remains strong. Because of these combined efforts, remarkable things are happening.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 Election Day Recap

With Election Day officially behind us, we thought we’d take a moment to recap how some of the key races in North Carolina turned out (or in a few cases, how they are likely to turn out). There’s an unbelievable amount of information to sift through and process before we can draw deeper conclusions, so we’ll save that for another day. Top line takeaways are that Republicans will control the White House, US Senate, and US House, and will maintain their supermajorities in the NC House and NC Senate, though the Governor’s Mansion could be occupied by a Democrat. Please note that there are a handful of races that are still “too close to call” despite a winner being listed because the State Board of Elections must complete its certification process — counting provisional and absentee ballots, conducting canvasses and recounts, etc. — before officially declaring a winner. Without further ado, here are your federal and state election winners:

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 Voting Beyond 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

As we speed toward Election Day and put behind us what will likely be known as the longest and most rancorous presidential race in recent memory, we must all remember that the importance of November 8th goes well beyond 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  And yes, we completely understand that looking beyond this presidential election—an election that has been the focus of the world and dominated the news for the past year—is not an easy task, especially given that we are a swing state AND a battleground state.

But, the truth is North Carolina voters have much more to consider. We have the opportunity to shape our future right here at home, and every single vote matters. In fact, we are voting in two very important races that are still considered toss-ups (you have seen the mass amounts of TV ads that prove it) with than a less than a week to go – U.S. Senate and Gubernatorial. Just look at what is at stake with these races – a potential change in the balance of power in D.C. and the leader of North Carolina for the next four years. These two races could come down to the wire with a candidate squeezing in by a couple hundred votes. It could even be a couple hundred votes from a rural county that makes the difference.

Beyond those two races, there are many important races and issues to be decided, and you should want to have a say. Here’s what most of our ballots will include: US House of Representatives, US Senate, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Commissioner of Labor, Commissioner of Insurance, Secretary of State, State Auditor, Commissioner of Agriculture, Superintendent of Public Instruction, State Treasurer, Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, NC House and NC Senate. Not to mention local races like County Commissioners and Register of Deeds. That is a lot of voting but it’s a great way to make your voice heard.

The point is that while our next POTUS is extremely important for the future of our nation, so are the elected officials that represent us right here at home. The elected officials that determine the future of our education system, public safety, healthcare, social security, our roads, bridges and highways, agriculture, sewer and water systems, and much more. We urge you to exercise your right to vote and to be a part of the future of this great state and nation!

If you need help finding out where you are registered to vote or what your ballot will look like, visit this page: https://vt.ncsbe.gov/voter_search_public/

If you want to learn more about the candidates on your ballot, visit: http://myballot.wral.com/build.do