Regional interest news roundup from NCDA&CS

Below is a summary of local interest stories that have recently been highlighted on the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ In the Field Blog and social media sites. Please feel free to use any of this content or contact us if you have any additional questions.

Eastern:

(Sampson County) NC Feral Swine Task Force receives $2.6 million in grants:

The Feral Swine Task Force has received more than $2.6 million in grants to help combat the feral swine problem in six North Carolina counties. Grants include $620,000 for Sampson County North, $750,000 for Sampson County South and $1.25 million for the Five County Feral Swine Trap Grant. The grant programs will run through August 2023. More information can be found online at www.ncferalswine.org ...

NCDA&CS regional agronomists provide Eastern NC crop update:

Eastern North Carolina is home to many large farm operations and is critically important to our ag industry. If you look at our top 10 agricultural counties in farm cash receipts: Duplin, Sampson, Union, Wayne, Bladen, Robeson, Wilkes, Anson, Bertie and Pitt – all but three are in Eastern NC. It goes without saying that field conditions are extremely wet right now, with more rain projected to be on the way. Click on story for a crop update. ...

(Nash) N.C. Egg Farming: Forever in the family and always in the heart:

Trey Braswell, of Braswell Family Farm, grew up with a strong love and heart for agriculture. Braswell Family Farms dates to Trey’s great-grandad, Ronald, who bought Boddie Mill in 1943, with his brother Joe, because the small family farm was not enough to support all the children in their generation. Since that day, by God’s grace, the family business has grown to house 1.8 million laying hens, in all types of egg-farming environments, and provide some of the state’s best nutritional, value-added, high-quality eggs. “We have a variety of chickens, some that lay brown eggs and some that lay white eggs,” Trey says, “about 1/3 of those eggs are cage-free and organic. We hope to bring that number up to half in the next five to ten years.” ...

Piedmont:

(Durham County) Southern Raised and Grass Grazed:

After spending 13 years in the Army, Derrick Jackson took himself and his family on a whole new adventure into the farming industry. “Coming out of the Army I was looking for a new career and I knew I wanted a job that would allow me to spend time with my wife and kids,” Derrick said, “but being trained in special ops, I also needed something that was going to challenge me daily, thus I landed on farming.”...

(Durham County) Mike D’s BBQ turns passion for ‘cue into award-winning flavor:

Mike De Los Santos, owner of the award-winning barbecue sauce and dry rub line Mike D’s BBQ, first got into the business for a simple reason – he just thought he could do it better. De Los Santos, of Durham, discovered his love for barbeque at an early age. A self-described “barbecue junkie,” he dabbled in creating his own sauces and dry rubs after being unable to find the specific flavors he wanted out on the market. He also maintained a “Barbecue Blog” where he wrote reviews of barbecue restaurants around North Carolina and beyond, becoming popular to the point where companies began sending him their sauces and rubs to try out. ...

(Johnston and Union) Local leaders look for ways to preserve farmland in the face of residential growth

Between 2001 and 2016, around 6.7 percent of North Carolina’s total farmland was converted into residential and commercial land. That is the second highest percentage in the country during that time, and it accounts for over 730,000 acres of lost farmland. Much of that loss can be attributed to low-density residential development, a type of spread-out, sprawling construction which eats up land while providing relatively less tax revenue than commercial development or agricultural land. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the counties adjacent to the largest metropolitan areas in North Carolina. Union County – which acts as a bedroom community for Charlotte and Mecklenburg County – has seen a dramatic reduction in farmland since 2012, losing 7 percent of its agricultural land between then and 2017. The same is true in Johnston County, where people working in and near Raleigh look for more affordable housing just one county over. …

Western:

(Iredell) Farm Fun in the Sun at Carrigan Farms:

When Doug Carrigan took over the family farm in 1975 he not only continued the family legacy of farming by adding the fourth generation, but he also brought new ideas and innovation to the table. Carrigan Farms in Mooresville originally started as a row crop farm in 1902. “Doug grew up on the farm and has always loved every minute of it,” Kelly Carrigan, Doug’s wife, said, “when he took over the family farm in 1975 he started growing the pick-your-own crops, including pumpkins, apples and strawberries.” …

(Henderson County) NCDA&CS employee Charlie Clark recently received the "Friend of the Apple Grower" award from the Blue Ridge Apple Growers Association

Charlie is a pesticide inspector in western North Carolina, and his recognition comes because of his commitment to helping apple growers maintain their pesticide licenses, certifications and credits. More details and a photo are available upon request.