TheFirstFurrow

Wednesday, September 28, 2016 Industry Spotlight: NC Seafood and Aquaculture

When most people think of agriculture they envision row crops, large tractors or animals like cows and chickens. But at North Carolina Farm Bureau we recognize that our state’s great heritage of feeding the world goes beyond the land through our aquaculture and seafood industries. North Carolina produces some of the finest seafood in the world ranging from trout in the Great Smoky Mountains to blue crabs in the Outer Banks. Many coastal communities depend on the seafood industry to create jobs and support their local economy, but the seafood and aquaculture industries support thousands of American jobs throughout the seafood supply chain.

This weekend, seafood lovers from all over will head to Morehead City to celebrate our great seafood industry at the NC Seafood Festival. The event, which begins this Friday, September 30th and runs through Sunday, October 2nd, will feature live music, great food, cooking demonstrations and even a boat show. The NC Seafood Festival takes place each year to “promote the positive social and economic impact of the seafood industry on the citizens of North Carolina.”

More information about the NC Seafood Festival is available at www.ncseafoodfestival.org.

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Gas Shortage? Think About a Food Shortage

This week’s gas shortage in North Carolina presents an opportunity to talk about another reality of daily life some people often take for granted: our food supply.

The recent Colonial Pipeline leak in Alabama is a reminder that a disruption in local gas deliveries can create panic and confusion among consumers. But what would it look like if North Carolinians were facing a food shortage? We’re talking about a situation in which consumer access to food is significantly disrupted and people have difficulty finding basic food products such as milk, bread, meat and produce. It wouldn’t be a pretty picture that’s for sure.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 Securing a Strong Agricultural Future for NC

 

Written by Dan Gerlach, President of the Golden LEAF Foundation.

The Golden LEAF Foundation was created to ensure to ensure there would be dedicated resources to help transform the economy of rural, tobacco-dependent and economically distressed communities in North Carolina.

During my more than 20 years in North Carolina and my almost eight years as President of Golden LEAF, there’s no doubt in my mind that the heart and soul of the innovation, creativity, risk-taking, vision, and significance of North Carolina can be found in the farmer and grower.

Earlier this year, the Golden LEAF Board of Directors stepped out of our usual grantmaking processes to create a fund to support the development of major industrial sites across North Carolina. This fund would reduce the time it takes a big manufacturer to be build a plant and hire North Carolina workers, exporting product all over the United States and all over the world. With this $25 million, there would be no requirement that a company be committed, but rather faith that this seed corn would facilitate the location of good-paying manufacturing jobs to North Carolina. Manufacturing has long been part of rural North Carolina’s past, and certainly important to its future – though in a different way.

So it should be no surprise that our Board of Directors made one of the biggest commitments in our history – $45 million – to ensure that a facility on NC State’s Centennial Campus in Raleigh to house the Plant Sciences Initiative would be built. Manufacturing and agriculture are the two great workhorses of our rural economy, and are a major part of our future as well.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016 The Return of “A Chef’s Life”
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Tomorrow night marks the premiere of Season Four of the hit PBS show A Chef’s Life, which “follows the trials and travails of Chef Vivian Howard and her husband, Ben Knight, and their farm-to-table restaurant, Chef & the Farmer, exploring both traditional and modern applications of quintessential Southern ingredients.” The show won a Peabody Award in 2014 and a Daytime Emmy Award in 2015, and has received plenty of critical acclaim so you should definitely tune in.

North Carolina Farm Bureau has been a long-time supporter of the show because of its loving and honest depiction of life and farming in Eastern North Carolina. And as more consumers come to link their opinions about food with their understanding of farming, A Chef’s Life provides an honest and unsensational glimpse into the life and work of farmers.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 Finding Your Path to CALS

Written by Dr. Richard H. Linton, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University.

Nearly everywhere I go, it seems the conversation always includes concerns about student access or acceptance to a 4-year undergraduate degree – especially for kids from rural and farming communities. We hear this message loud and clear, and I want to let you know our college is fully committed to helping all qualified students find their path to CALS.

Paths to CALS

CALS is open for undergraduate students, and we are growing existing initiatives and developing new ones to help students access the college. We now have different paths to meet the needs of different students that are applying to CALS.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 Back to School with Ag in the Classroom

Written by Michele Reedy, Ag in the Classroom Program Director

With this sweltering August heat it might not feel like summer is ending, but it’s back to school time for thousands of students across the state. Families are soaking up those last few days of summer before their school routines begin, and teachers are preparing their classrooms and wrapping up professional development. It’s an important time of year when administrators and teachers evaluate which programs, teaching trends, and curriculum will best prepare our students for the future.

As you are aware, it’s difficult to talk about education and new educational programs without discussing the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (known as STEM). In fact, STEM education is the committed focus for many North Carolina schools and is explained by the U.S. Department of Education as, “more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information.” That’s why North Carolina Farm Bureau created and supports a unique educational program that focuses on STEM education. Since North Carolina Farm Bureau is the largest agricultural non-profit in the state, the program is built upon the integration of agriculture as the foundation for STEM education. This program is called Ag in the Classroom.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Agriculture Technology Spotlight: Drones

A couple weeks ago we talked about the growing use of drones in agriculture and outlined some of the policies surrounding drone usage. This week, we’d like to turn the spotlight back onto drones and provide some cool facts about how this technology is being used to help farmers improve yields, use inputs more efficiently, and increase profitability.

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Wednesday, August 10, 2016 Grassroots in Action
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Last week, North Carolina Farm Bureau held its annual Policy Review Day. No, we’re not talking about insurance policies, but rather policies that address emerging issues and areas of concern to North Carolina farmers. Things like labor, transportation, property rights, taxes, regulatory reform, and more. It’s a day for NCFB’s farmer members to come together to talk about what’s going on at their farm, and to start figuring out how to solve tomorrow’s problems.Photo by John Lambeth

Just a quick bit of background: North Carolina Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general agriculture organization. We have more than 500,000 member families, of which more than 40,000 are farm families. We have members in all 100 counties representing all of agriculture – row crops, animal agriculture, tree farmers, fishermen, beekeepers, small farms and big farms, conventional and organic. We’re not a government agency, we’re a non-profit. Our mission is to advocate for farm and rural families.

Photo by John LambethWe’re a true grassroots organization. We have thousands of farmers from all over the state who actively participate in the policy development process to tell us what they need. Those farmers and the policies they enact guide the organization. NCFB’s policies and programs seek to preserve, support and improve agriculture in our state. These policies protect farmers and rural families and help ensure that our nation’s supply of food, fiber, and other commodities is safe and abundant, now and in the future.

Photo by John LambethEvery year, this process of developing ideas into policy kicks off with Policy Review Day, continues through the fall, and concludes at NCFB’s Annual Convention. During the fall, thousands of farmers weigh in on policy resolutions at meetings in all 100 counties. Before any of these resolutions can become official policy, they must be vetted by a 100-person committee and approved by 600 voting delegates. Both the committee and the delegate body are comprised of North Carolina farmers representing all 100 counties in the state.

Photo by John LambethThis process is grassroots in action. It provides the foundation for every decision, program, and activity we undertake as an organization. And frankly, it’s something we’re proud of. And it’s why elected officials and decision makers turn to Farm Bureau as “The Voice of Agriculture™”.