From the Tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
The beginning of a new year always signals a busy start to another season in agriculture. While it is a down time for planting and harvesting, it is traditionally a time when growers are repairing equipment, taking soil and water samples, making decisions about equipment purchases and getting their business operations in order.
Additionally, many are also attending commodity group meetings to learn the latest trends in their industry, potential production issues and new production techniques, and disease and pest management tools.
Many commodity meetings are coming up in the next two months, and I encourage growers to make plans to attend these very informative sessions. Participants will have an opportunity to talk with other growers and experts about issues that directly affect their operations.
I plan to be at a number of the commodity meetings and look forward to seeing many of you there.
I also want to encourage growers to attend the Agricultural Development Forum we are hosting Feb. 1 during the Southern Farm Show at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.
As Agriculture Commissioner, I enjoy hearing from farmers about issues that matter to them. It helps me set priorities for the department and guides our efforts to promote progressive farm policies. Last year we hosted a similar forum and we had pretty good turnout for a first-year event.
One of the main messages we heard from last year's attendees was the need for a reliable and affordable work-force. And we were fortunate to have Charles Conner, an under secretary with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, meet with the group and hear these concerns and take them back to Washington to be part of farm policy discussions.
Details for this year's forum are still being worked out, but I hope many of you will make plans to attend. You will find some additional information about this meeting on page 1.
I would also like to remind growers about the many agronomic services the department offers to help maximize productivity, minimize nutrient use and improve the bottom line.
We have included an article this month about source-water testing for tobacco float systems, but information on more agronomic services including soil testing can be found online at www.ncagr.com/agronomi/ or by calling (919) 733-2655.
Using these services makes good sense financially and environmentally.