Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Quick hits: WNC farms are disappearing, but 'poultry power' is not

Western N.C. farms are disappearing
"Western North Carolina lost more than 1,700 tobacco farms between 2002 and 2007, and the region as a whole lost farms at a higher rate than the state," says the Citizen-Times.

"That's according to the 2007 Agriculture Census recently released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and an analysis done by Charlie Jackson, executive director of the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project in Asheville. While the news is striking, it's not all grim.

" 'The fact that over 1,700 farmers stopped growing tobacco but the region only lost less than 700 farms means that most former tobacco farmers are growing other things,' Jackson said. 'There are opportunities for farmers to make the transition from tobacco.' ..."

Poultry power coming to N.C.
"A company that generates electricity by burning poultry litter plans to build a $150 million plant that will employ 100 workers in Montgomery County," according to the News & Record.

"Fibrowatt, a Pennsylvania company, said Tuesday it will build the plant on 140 acres near Biscoe, off Interstate 73/74, about 50 miles south of Greensboro.

"Fibrowatt will be the largest industrial project in Montgomery County history, said Judy Stevens, executive director of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corp. ...

"The company built its first U.S. plant in Minnesota. The plants burn poultry litter, which is manure from chickens or turkeys along with the bedding, usually wood shavings.

"Fibrowatt found out about Montgomery County more than three years ago when a local poultry grower met Fibrowatt officials at a meeting in Delaware, Stevens said, where they told him they were interested in building three plants in North Carolina.

"After talks began, researchers at N.C. State mapped the parts of North Carolina with the heaviest concentration of poultry farms.

"Montgomery, Stanley and Moore counties had the highest concentration in central North Carolina, Stevens said. ..."

(Chickens photo from

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