N.C. Department of Agriculture

Agriculture is the number one industry in North Carolina, contributing $78 billion dollars to the State’s economy.  Much of the food produced in our state comes from our region, which was recently pounded with heavy rainfall, accumulating to more than 20 inches in some areas.  It’s an agricultural crisis here… Director of the State Farm Service Agency Bob Etheridge estimates millions of dollars worth of damages in eastern North Carolina.

An excessively wet and rainy June has damaged some crops in Eastern North Carolina. Lee Jenkins has more on the extent of the damage and what effect it may have on the consumer.

Despite what the Luke Bryan song says, rain isn’t always a good thing, especially when there is a lot of it. Typically, counties in Eastern North Carolina receive around four inches of rain during the month of June, but this year, most counties have received eight inches or more. National Weather Service meteorologist John Elardo says the coastal plain experienced the heaviest downpours.

This week on the Down East Journal, we highlight a partnership between local farmers and the military aimed at eating locally grown food- and producing energy from local biofuel crops.  And, we speak with the organizer of the Crystal Coast Music Festival about Saturday’s event on the Bogue Sound Waterfront in Morehead City.  Catch the Down East Journal, Friday at noon on all of the PRE stations.  And Saturday at noon on PRE, Public Radio East, News and Ideas.

Spring is finally here… the weather is getting warmer, and strawberries are almost ripe for picking. Mid to late April is usually the start of strawberry season for our area, but some fields in eastern North Carolina are still several weeks away from being ready.  In addition to a late start, news that virus infected plants may cause a drop in the number of local strawberries has some worried.  We spoke with strawberry growers across eastern North Carolina this week to get an idea on the success of this year’s crop.

We discuss the future of the biofuels industry in North Carolina. We talk to researchers and farmers about the potential of growing high energy grasses that can be converted into ethanol.