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N.C. Bioenergy Research Initiative announces grant recipients

The N.C. Bioenergy Research Initiative recently awarded $1 million in grants for 13 research projects to boost bioenergy opportunities and production in the state.

“These grants continue to push our knowledge of bioenergy applications in North Carolina forward, creating the potential for future market opportunities for farmers, agribusinesses and forestry industries,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

Below is a list of grant amounts, recipients and projects:

  • $43,618 to N.C. State University’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering for the third year of its study of fertilization rates and yield response of the giant reed Arundo donax. The project will focus on collecting field data needed to establish realistic yield expectations and nitrogen fertilization rates under various North Carolina growing conditions.
  • $55,835 to the NCSU Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources for “Loblolly Pine Biomass Genetics/Cropping Study – 2016-2017.” The project will continue genetic evaluation of loblolly pine varieties with high potential as an energy source.
  • $148,804 to the NCSU Department of Crop and Soil Sciences for a project titled “Nutrient Dynamics and Production of Bioenergy Crops in Swine Effluent Sprayfields, 2016-2017.”  Funding will continue research on the nutrient requirements and uptake of proposed biomass crops grown in a sprayfield environment.
  • $148,650 to Carolina Land & Lakes RC&D for the development of “Pellets for Pullets.” This expands a previously funded project into areas of the state with a higher concentration of broiler production. Wood pellet heating systems have been shown to offer cost savings, reduction in moisture and fossil fuel by-products and delivery of a better product to market, while utilizing a renewable domestic fuel.
  • $30,167 to the NCSU Department of Crop and Soil Sciences for the second year of the study “Suitability of N.C. Piedmont Soils for Bioenergy Crop Production.”  The project investigates the potential conversion of land to bioenergy crops with an emphasis on how soil biochemical and physical properties will be impacted.
  • $50,000 to Power Resource Group LLC for a project titled “Crops to Litter to Fuel.” Combinations of giant miscanthus, biochar and pine shavings will be tested against traditional pine shaving litter in turkey brooder houses. Spent litter will be tested to see if it can successfully serve as a high-BTU feedstock for combined heat and power production.
  • $32,213 to the NCSU Department of Crop and Soil Sciences for the first year of a two-year project titled “Weed Management in Miscanthus and Switchgrass Bioenergy Cropping Systems.” This builds on a previously funded herbicide project, but will focus more on weed management while establishing giant miscanthus and switchgrass, two potential bioenergy feedstock crops.
  • $103,470 for the first year of a three-year project titled “Predicting Short Rotation Woody Crops Productivity and Economic Feasibility.” This collaborative effort between the NCSU Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources and N.C. A&T State University’s Department of Economics will use previously funded projects to refine and validate a forest productivity and economic model. This model will facilitate stakeholder decision-making for short rotational woody crop production and procurement as well as provide best land management practices to landowners via a web-based interactive tool.
  • $147,851 to the NCSU Department of Horticultural Science for the project “Gene Editing for Improved Energy Canes.” This project will build on previously funded projects focused on breeding high biomass, cold hardy hybrids. Efforts will now focus on refining regeneration systems and the development of gene-editing technologies for the development of seedless cultivars.
  • $24,818 to Tyton Biosciences LLC for the project titled “Energy Tobacco Variety and Sprayfield Trials.” In partnership with NCSU, Tyton will build on results from its previous energy tobacco work by conducting variety trials of modified energy tobacco to maximize biomass yield and evaluate hardiness and other plant characteristic. Work will also include testing energy tobacco in a sprayfield environment to determine nutrient uptake.
  • $58,004 to the NCSU Department of Crop and Soil Sciences for “Developing Industrial Hemp in North Carolina.”  This work will investigate the feasibility of industrial hemp for food, fiber and fuel by evaluating varieties and developing best management practices such as planting dates and response to plant growth regulators.
  •  $59,339 to the NCSU Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources for year one of a project titled “Loblolly Pine Plantations to Maximize Bioenergy Production.”  This two-year project builds on previously funded work and will utilize two established experimental stands of loblolly pine. Results from this novel design will provide a better understanding of superior genotypes, crown forms, spacing and silviculture practices to optimize loblolly pine for bioenergy production.
  • $97,231 to Appalachian State University’s Department of Sustainable Technology and the Built Environment for the project “Demonstrating Syngas Production from Bioenergy Crops.” This project builds on previously funded work that developed methods of heating greenhouses with biomass. The next focus will be using biomass grown on-site to produce syngas for heating as well as biochar as a soil amendment for the biomass production.

The N.C. Bioenergy Research Initiative is a program of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Its goal is to support the research and development of agricultural and forestry-based feedstocks for bioenergy production and agribusiness development. The N.C. General Assembly approved funding for grants to stimulate energy production from N.C. agricultural and forest products.

Burning ban issued for 22 additional counties to protect lives and property

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler today banned open burning and canceled all burning permits for 22 more counties in Western North Carolina. Added to the list are Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Cabarrus, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Montgomery, Randolph, Richmond, Rockingham, Rowan, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Union, Wilkes and Yadkin counties.

The burning ban will take effect at 5 p.m., Monday, Nov. 21, and will be in effect until further notice.

Under North Carolina law, the ban prohibits all open burning in the affected counties, regardless of whether a permit was issued. The issuance of any new permits also has been suspended until the ban is lifted. Violation of the ban carries a $100 fine plus court costs of $180.

The ban on open burning is necessary because of the dry weather conditions and the potential for the increase in human-caused wildfires in the region. As of Nov. 20, there have been 3,021 wildfires affecting more than 19,058 acres on state protected lands across North Carolina this year. In the mountains alone, there have been 1,203 fires that have burned 4,015 acres.

Those numbers do not include fires burning on federal lands, the Party Rock fire near Lake Lure and the Chestnut Knob fire. The Party Rock fire has burned 7,171 acres since it was first reported on Nov. 5. The Chestnut Knob fire, burning in the South Mountain State Park, has burned 6,433 acres since it was first reported on Nov. 6. These fires, combined with those on federal lands, have burned closed to 46,000 acres in Western N.C. State protected lands include state and private owned properties.

“Fire experts with the N.C. Forest Service feel the current drought situation and the increase in available forest fuels makes it necessary to increase the number of counties under the burn ban,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We want to be proactive in our approach and take appropriate action to prevent the potential for human-caused wildfires.”

An open burn ban is now in place for the entire counties of Alexander, Alleghany, Anson, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Caswell, Catawba, Cherokee, Clay, Cleveland, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Gaston, Graham, Guilford, Haywood, Henderson, Iredell, Jackson, Lincoln, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Mitchell, Montgomery, Polk, Randolph, Richmond, Rockingham, Rowan, Rutherford, Stanly, Stokes, Surry, Swain, Transylvania, Union, Watauga, Wilkes, Yadkin and Yancey.

Here are a few facts about the law regarding the ban on open burning:

  • The burn ban does not apply to cooking fires such as grills or outdoor cookers.
  • The ban does not apply to a fire within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. County fire marshals have jurisdiction over open burning within 100 feet of an occupied dwelling. The N.C. Forest Service has advised county fire marshals of the burning ban and asked for their consideration of also implementing a burning ban. In addition, other local ordinances and air quality regulations may also impact open burning.
  • If a fire within that 100-foot area escapes containment, a North Carolina forest ranger may take reasonable steps to extinguish or control it. The person responsible for setting the fire may be responsible for reimbursing the N.C. Forest Service for any expenses related to extinguishing it.
  • Open burning includes burning leaves, branches and other plant material. In all cases, it is illegal to burn trash, lumber, tires, newspapers, plastics or other non-vegetative materials.
  • Outdoor burning is also prohibited in areas covered by Code Orange or Code Red air quality forecasts.

Local fire departments and law enforcement officers are assisting the N.C. Forest Service in enforcing the burn ban.

Fire Prevention Education Team deployed to region

A U.S. Forest Service Fire Prevention Education Team is working in Western North Carolina in an effort to decrease the number of human-caused wildfires there. In addition to assisting with information on these wildfires, the team is working with communities, distributing information and working with the media to raise awareness about the current fire danger. In addition a joint information center has been established to help provide information to the media and the public. The JIC can be reached at 828-575-2352 or by email at [email protected]

You can also contact Brian R. Haines at 919-857-4828. Residents with questions regarding their specific county can contact their county ranger with the N.C. Forest Service or their county fire marshal’s office.

Be Aware – Seven stores pay fines for price-scanning errors

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Standards Division has collected fines from stores in Chatham, Columbus, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Moore, Pender and Wake counties because of excessive price-scanner errors.

“As we get into the holiday season, we want consumers to be confident that the price on the shelf matches the price at the register,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Stores have a responsibility to make sure their pricing is accurate, and most stores pass inspection. Ones that don’t are fined until they come into compliance. Consumers who would like to file a complaint about a store can call the Standards Division at 919-707-3225.”

The department conducts periodic, unannounced inspections of a business’ price-scanner system to check for accuracy between the prices advertised and the prices that ring up at the register. If a store has more than a 2 percent error rate on overcharges, inspectors discuss the findings with the store manager and conduct a more intensive follow-up inspection at a later date. Undercharges are also reported, but do not count against a store.

Penalties are assessed if a store fails the follow-up inspection. In addition to the penalties paid, the store will be subject to re-inspection every 60 days from the last inspection until it meets the 2-percent-or-less error rate. Additional penalties may be assessed if the store fails a re-inspection.

Following are stores that paid civil penalties in the third quarter of 2016:

  • Wal-Mart #3182 at 12500 U.S. 15/501, Chapel Hill, paid $1,995 in civil penalties. An initial inspection in April found an error rate of 5 percent, based on five overcharges in a 100-item lot. A second inspection in June found an error rate of 3.33 percent, based on 10 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store passed inspection in September with a 1.33 percent error rate.
  • Family Dollar #71 at 1001 Pireway Road, Tabor City, paid $1,005 in civil penalties. An initial inspection in May found an error rate of 10 percent, based on five overcharges in a 50-item lot. A second inspection in June found an error rate of 2.33 percent, based on 7 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store passed inspection in August with a .33 percent error rate.
  • Family Dollar #3937 at 2316 E Market St., Greensboro, paid $5,555 in civil penalties. An initial inspection in May found an error rate of 10 percent, based on five overcharges in a 50-item lot. A second inspection in June found an error rate of 5.33 percent, based on 16 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store paid $2,970 in civil penalties. A third inspection in August found an error rate of 6.33 percent, based on 19 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store paid an additional $2,585 in penalties and will be re-inspected.
  • CVS #7688 at 3440 Wilkinson Blvd., Charlotte, paid $1,940 in civil penalties. An initial inspection in April found an error rate of 8 percent, based on four overcharges in a 50-item lot. A second inspection in May found an error rate of 4 percent, based on 12 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store paid $705 in penalties. A third inspection in July found an error rate of 3.67 percent, based on 11 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store paid $1,235 in penalties. The store passed inspection in September with a 1 percent error rate.
  • Dollar General #7052 at 3350 U.S. 1, Vass, paid $517 in civil penalties. An initial inspection in April found an error rate of 10 percent, based on five overcharges in a 50-item lot. A second inspection in May found a 2.67 percent error rate, based on 8 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store passed inspection in July with a 2 percent error rate.
  • Dollar General #9201 at 15489 U.S. 17 North, Hampstead, paid $2,247 in civil penalties. An initial inspection in May found an error rate of 8 percent, based on four overcharges in a 50-item lot. A second inspection in June found an error rate of 2.33 percent, based on seven overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store paid $397 in penalties. A third inspection in August found an error rate of 4 percent, based on 12 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store paid $1,850 in penalties and will be re-inspected.
  • Family Dollar #3594 at 3416 Poole Road, Raleigh, paid $5,940 in civil penalties. An initial inspection in March found an error rate of 8 percent, based on four overcharges in a 50-item lot. A second inspection in April found an error rate of 3.33 percent, based on 10 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store paid $1,290 in penalties. A third inspection in June found an error rate of 4 percent, based on 12 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store paid $1,865 in civil penalties. A fourth inspection in August found an error rate of 4.67 percent, based on 14 overcharges in a 300-item lot. The store paid $2,785 in penalties and will be re-inspected.

Feeding NC Livestock could be an Issue this winter

Flooding in eastern North Carolina and drought in western counties has state agricultural officials concerned about feeding livestock and horses this winter. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is utilizing a website, www.ncagr.gov/hayalert, to help livestock and horse owners in sourcing hay.

The Hay Alert website was first launched during the drought in 2002 and used again in 2007. It is similar to Craigslist, in which users can post hay for sale or hay wanted ads. The department will not be involved in the transaction beyond hosting the website.

“We’re trying to help farmers meet the needs for livestock and horses this winter,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Earlier this fall, we expected to have eastern hay to fill the void in the west, but the flood has ruined so much of the eastern crop. We encourage farmers to go ahead and start securing their hay for the winter.”

Farmers are encouraged to work with their local cooperative extension agent to set up a winter feed plan. They are also reminded that many areas of North Carolina are under quarantine for plant pests and care should be taken to not introduce pests into new areas. Check with the NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division for guidance if moving hay from a quarantine area to a non-quarantine area.

Troxler announces availability of farmland preservation grants; application deadline is Dec. 16

County governments and nonprofit groups pursuing farmland preservation projects have until Dec. 16 to apply for funding assistance from the N.C. Agricultural Development and Farmland Preservation Trust Fund. This year’s request for proposals includes statewide general appropriations for traditional farm preservation projects and conservation easement applications to protect military-base and training buffers. Applications are due by 5 p.m. on Dec. 16.

The fund’s purpose is to support projects that encourage the preservation of qualifying agricultural, horticultural and forest lands to foster the growth, development and sustainability of family farms.

Grants can be awarded to secure agricultural conservation easements on lands used for agricultural production; to support public and private enterprise programs that promote profitable and sustainable agricultural, horticultural and forestland activities; and for the development of agricultural plans. Military-designated grants are restricted to easement-related projects.

The grant application and guidelines for the current funding cycle are available at www.ncadfp.org/CycleX.htm. Call 919-707-3072 with any questions.

Hurricane Matthew inflicts significant damage on N.C. agriculture

The flood water hasn’t receded yet, but initial reports show that North Carolina’s agricultural industries took a beating from Hurricane Matthew. State ag officials do not have damage estimates, but the 48 counties affected by the storm are some of North Carolina’s largest ag counties.

“The eastern counties represent 71 percent of the state’s total farm cash receipts,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “While lots of crops were harvested before the storm, many crops, such as soybeans, sweet potatoes, peanuts and cotton, were just in the early stages of harvest.”

The 48 counties accounted for more than $9.6 billion of the $13.5 billion in farm cash receipts in 2014.

In addition to crops, Eastern North Carolina also has a large poultry and swine population. Initial reports show that 1.9 million birds, mostly broiler chickens, have died as a result of the storm. However, considering the extent of the flooding, State Veterinarian Doug Meckes expects that number to rise. North Carolina growers raise more than 800 million birds each year.

Veterinary officials and the department’s Environmental Programs Division staff are working with growers on proper disposal of the birds. Troxler requested and was granted a $6 million grant from FEMA to purchase carbon material to compost the carcasses and mitigate the potential public health risk. Composting is the preferred method of disposal as it reduces leeching of farm waste, reduces pest and disease issues and prevents odor issues. The finished compost can then be used for agricultural purposes. Farms have begun requesting carbon materials and deliveries began today.

The hog industry did a good job preparing for this event and taking proactive measures to reduce populations or move hogs to higher ground. As of press time, there are limited reports of swine deaths and no known hog lagoon breaches. NCDA&CS is not the regulatory agency that oversees hog lagoons.

“The industry learned a lot since Hurricane Floyd in 1999,” said Troxler. Many hog farms in the 100-year flood plain were closed through a swine buyout program overseen by our Soil and Water Conservation Division.”

Farmers needing assistance can call the Ag Emergency Hotline at 1-866-645-9403. The department is operating the hotline 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Commissioner Troxler urges Ag Emergency Plans

With Hurricane Matthew looking more certain to affect North Carolina, Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is urging farmers to have emergency plans in place for their farms and share those plans with workers in advance of landfall.

Many crops are still in the field and recent rains from tropical storms have saturated parts of eastern North Carolina, said Troxler. “This creates a perfect condition for downed trees, flooded pastures and crops lost in the field. But farmers can take some steps ahead of time to minimize losses or at least be prepared to respond after the storm.”

Troxler says farmers should review their farm emergency plan, which includes having a list of emergency contacts of whom to call after a storm. Farmers should include the county emergency management office to their list of important numbers.

“Every farming operation is different and has different needs. Assessing in advance what your most pressing needs will be if you should lose power, or are at risk for flooding, can be the difference in salvaging a crop or saving livestock,” Troxler said.

Gov. Pat McCrory signed a disaster declaration Monday that waived restrictions on vehicle weights for farmers preparing for the storm to move feed, crops or livestock in 66 central and eastern counties.
Previous storms have shown that backup generators are in high demand following storms, and on-site feeding capabilities for livestock operations are also critical.

“The need for generators is always high when a storm strikes,” Troxler said. “We encourage farmers to contact local farm suppliers and rental companies in advance of storms to reserve a generator on their own in the event of power outages.”

Troxler reminded farmers that they should have a transfer switch properly installed ahead of time so they can use a generator. A properly installed transfer switch is critical for the protection of farm facilities and utility workers, he said.

In addition, pesticide applicators should look to secure their pesticide storage areas. Applicators in low-lying areas should do whatever they can to elevate or move pesticides to locations that are less likely to flood.

More preparedness tips to consider:

  • Review insurance policies to be sure your farm is properly covered.
  • Clear ditches so that water can move freely.
  • Check power line clearance to see if trees need pruning or removing
  • Closely monitor local weather reports for up-to-the-minute information on storms.
  • Fuel up all vehicles and prepare your family’s disaster readiness kit. Don’t forget household pets.
  • Keep all electronic devices charged.
  • Store or secure items or equipment that might blow away.
  • Relocate livestock and animals from low-lying areas.
  • Check generators to be sure they are in good working order and secure a sufficient amount of fuel to operate them.
  • Secure propane tanks to prevent them from floating away. Turn off the propane supply at tanks.
  • Move equipment to the highest open ground possible away from trees or buildings that could cause damage.
  • Mark animals with an identifier so they can be easily returned if lost. Examples are ear tags with name of farm and phone numbers, brands, paint markings on hooves or coat or clipped initials in the hair.
  • Move feed to higher ground or to a more accessible place in case of flooding or transportation problems.
  • Secure or move pesticides to higher ground in the event of flooding.
  • Coordinate with neighbors beforehand and discuss what resources can be shared.
  • On social media, follow the National Weather Service @NWSRaleigh, NCDA&CS @ncagriculture, and N.C. Emergency Management @NCEmergency. Government officials will use #MatthewNC on social media channels to get word out about the storm as well.

More tips and information can be found at www.ncagr.gov/disaster.

North Carolina State Farmers Market to host Seafood Day August 26th

Shoppers can reel in some fresh N.C. seafood at the State Farmers Market during Seafood Day on Friday, Aug. 26, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The annual event will feature free shrimp samples, fileting demonstrations, a fish toss and informative displays about the state’s seafood industry.

“Whether it’s fresh-caught or farm-raised, North Carolina seafood is readily available for consumers to enjoy and worth nearly $130 million to the state’s economy,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Seafood Day is a great way to experience the freshness from North Carolina waters firsthand.”

During the event, visitors can enjoy free samples of N.C. shrimp while supplies last. They also can learn how to properly filet fish and shuck oysters from the fishmongers at Locals Seafood. Children can take part in a “mullet” toss competition for prizes. There also will be educational displays from N.C. Catch, Got to Be NC Seafood and the N.C. Aquaculture Association. In addition, Locals Seafood and the N.C. Seafood Restaurant will offer specials for attendees.

About the State Farmers Market

The State Farmers Market is open year-round offering a variety of seasonal agricultural products. Late-summer and early-fall produce is now available, including tomatoes, corn, apples and muscadine grapes. Shoppers also can find locally raised meats and seafood, wines and specialty products, as well as plants and shrubs for fall plantings. The market is also home to the State Farmers Market Restaurant, N.C. Seafood Restaurant and Market Grill.

The market is located at 1201 Agriculture St. More information about upcoming special events at the market is available at www.statefarmersmarket.org.

NCDA&CS awards agritourism grants to 29 farms

RALEIGH – The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services announced that 29 agritourism farms will receive funding for marketing projects.

The Agritourism Marketing Cost Share program is administered by the department’s agritourism office with funding from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.

“I’m pleased that we are able to award a total of $50,000 in cost-share funding to agritourism farms across the state,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “For many agritourism operations, this funding can provide the help they need to boost their marketing efforts and increase the number of visitors to their farms.”

In its first year, the cost-share program received 77 applications requesting a total of $409,050. After a thorough review of applications, 29 farms were selected to receive grants for projects ranging from directional signage and marketing brochures to website development and branding. Individual grants ranged from $360 to $6,000.

The following farms received grants:

  • High Country Ginseng, Boone
  • C.V. Pilson Farm, Cameron
  • Flint Rock Farm, Cameron
  • Windy Hill Farm, Cedar Grove
  • Raised In A Barn Farm, Chocowinity
  • Hubb’s Corn Maze, Clinton
  • Yadkin Valley Farms, East Bend
  • Minka Farm, Efland
  • Sanderson Farm, Four Oaks
  • Poplar Creek Farm, Green Mountain
  • Hickory Creek Farm, Greensboro
  • Brothers On Farms, Hayesville
  • Stepp’s Hillcrest Orchard, Hendersonville
  • Wise Acres Organic Farm, Indian Trail
  • Good Karma Ranch, Iron Station
  • Addison Vineyard Farms, Leicester
  • English Farmstead Cheese, Marion
  • Renfrow Farms, Matthews
  • Granville Corn Maze, Oxford
  • Wehrloom Honey, Robbinsville
  • Briar Creek Nursery, Rocky Mount
  • Bradley Farms, Saluda
  • Creekside Farm, Selma
  • Huckleberry Trail Farm, Siler City
  • Celebrity Dairy LLC, Siler City
  • The Farmers’ Daughter, Taylorsville
  • Medlin Family Farm, Wake Forest
  • Yellow Wolf Farm, Walkertown
  • Cold Mountain Corn Maze, Waynesville

North Carolina is home to more than 700 agritourism farms, making it one of the nation’s top states for agritourism. Operations vary from pick-your-own strawberries and choose-and-cut Christmas trees to weekend wedding venues and monthlong farm stays. For more information on agritourism farms in the state, go to www.visitncfarms.com.

Ag commissioner says now is the time for farmers, agribusinesses to prepare for hurricane season

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, MAY 16, 2016

CONTACT: Jen Kendrick, public information officer
NCDA&CS Public Affairs      
919-707-3005

 

RALEIGH – Hardly a county in North Carolina can say it is immune from hurricane damage. From Ivan in the mountains, Hugo in the foothills, Fran in the Sandhills, and Isabel and Floyd in the East, hurricanes have cost lives and livelihoods in every region of the state.

Scientists are predicting another active hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean, which means North Carolina could again find itself in the path of a storm.

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler is encouraging farmers, livestock producers, food manufacturers, pesticide dealers, timber owners and other agribusinesses across the state to prepare now for hurricane season.

Troxler says that taking some precautions and thinking through your emergency plan now and discussing it with employees can help no matter what type of emergency strikes.

“Employees should know how to react if you should lose power or are at risk for flooding,” he said. “Being prepared is the key to getting your business back to normal as quickly as possible.”

Farmers and businesses should review insurance policies to ensure they have proper coverage, including wind, hail, flood and catastrophic coverage if necessary. Some coverage takes 30 days to go into effect.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services has a website, www.ncagr.gov/disaster, with links and resources for different types of agribusinesses to plan and recover from a disaster. A Farm Emergency Plan Template is available on the site to help organize information that is needed after a disaster.

Troxler offers farmers other ways to prepare in advance for a disaster:

  • Consider purchasing, leasing or negotiating a rental arrangement for a backup generator in advance. If you plan to rent a generator, read the contract carefully, as some rental contracts are only for eight hours use per day.
  • Have a transfer switch properly installed so you can use a generator. This is critical for the protection of farm facilities and utility workers.
  • Put together an Emergency Preparedness Kit: fire extinguishers, first-aid kits, a camera that stamps date and time, flashlights, batteries and other items, plus food and water for several days for each family member, employee and pet.
  • Purchase a NOAA weather radio and batteries.
  • Keep drainage ditches clear of debris so water can run freely.
  • Prune or remove trees in danger of damaging power lines.
  • Maintain an inventory of the farm or business, including photos of valuable items.