The NC General Assembly adjourned (again) a couple weeks ago, and with November officially upon us it’s probably as good a time as any to put a bow on this year’s legislative session. Overall, it was a good session for North Carolina agriculture, with the General Assembly enacting several important measures to help farmers. Today, we want to give you a quick overview of a few key legislative actions.
The North Carolina General Assembly gaveled in its 2017-18 long session a couple weeks ago, but so far the action has mainly been getting bills filed and holding a few committee meetings. As state legislators prepare to roll up their proverbial sleeves, let’s take a moment to talk about a few issues we’ll be watching this session.
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.
What is a drone? Where can I fly one? Do I need a license? Can I shoot one down if it flies over my house? These are all frequent questions people ask about Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly known as drones. (If you don’t read any further, no, you should not shoot them down.)
Basically, a drone is a remote controlled aircraft, usually equipped with a camera and/or other sensors. The technology has become increasingly popular over the past few years and more people are beginning to utilize drones for things like data collection, photography, videography, and monitoring personal property.
But this is an agriculture blog, right? So why are we talking about drones?
Last week we told you about the difficult year North Carolina farmers had in 2015. This week we want to show you how that bad weather has converged with a few other factors to put many farmers in a really tight spot as they prepare for the 2016 growing season.
First of all, weather is always a wild card in agriculture. Here’s a chart (Figure 1) showing how weather events have affected US corn production over the last 50 years. Nearly every decrease in crop yields can be attributed to some adverse weather event. Farmers certainly understand this and do everything they can to manage risk, but there’s only so much they can do when extreme events occur.
There’s no such thing as a perfect year when it comes to agriculture, especially considering the diverse geography and climate of our state. There will always be uncertainty when it comes to the weather—will we have a freeze, drought or flood? But in 2015 we had all three in a single year.
We could spend days discussing the role weather played in crop loss last year, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a farm that didn’t experience some sort of weather event. But today, we’ll focus on the Waterlogged Fall of 2015.
If you need help remembering what we’re talking about, this picture should help jog your memory.