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North Carolina Produces 60% of the Country’s Sweet Potatoes. The Crop Is in Trouble
By Dan Nosowitz
North Carolina dominates the country's production in sweet potatoes the way few other states dominate few other crops.
The state produces about 60 percent of the country's total sweet potato crop, more than the next three states—California, Mississippi, and Louisiana—combined. Hurricane Florence's path of destruction has been fairly well tracked for livestock, especially pigs and chickens, but for plants, the damage is much less certain.
The Charlotte Observer dives deep into this year's sweet potato crop, finding that the rainfall from Florence fell at just the wrong time, and in just the wrong way. The sweet potato crops are near harvest, unlike the previous nasty hurricane, Matthew, which came in early October of 2016. Also unlike Matthew, Florence dropped a great deal of water over an extended three-day period, not allowing the floodwater to drain off.
Sweet potatoes are not fantastically choosy plants, but one thing they can't handle is periods of water saturation. The tubers, which are what we mostly eat, become waterlogged, soggy, and rotten, and are generally unsellable. (The leaves and vines of the plant are also perfectly edible and tasty, unlike the barely related potato, but sweet potato greens are not eaten all that often in most of the U.S.)
Even worse, this year, according to the Charlotte Observer, sweet potato farmers delayed harvest due to a dry summer, hoping for a little extra time and rain to get their tubers up to weight. Florence was not really what they wanted.
Some farmers will try to leave their sweet potatoes in the ground for a little while longer, to hope that they dry out a bit before harvest. Nobody knows exactly what the damage will be, though some estimate it could be in the 25-35 percent loss range. As a result of the pessimistic outlook, prices of sweet potatoes jumped by about $2 per carton.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD
You've probably heard the buzz around collagen supplements and your skin by now. But is the hype really that promising? After all, research has pointed to both the benefits and downsides of collagen supplements — and for many beauty-conscious folk, collagen isn't vegan.
By Marlene Cimons
Neil Pederson's introduction to tree rings came from a "sweet and kindly" college instructor, who nevertheless was "one of the most boring professors I'd ever experienced," Pederson said. "I swore tree rings off then and there." But they kept coming back to haunt him.
By Daisy Brickhill
Each morning, men living in fishing communities along Ghana's coastline push off in search of the day's catch. But when the boats come back to shore, it's the women who take over.
By Sam Nickerson
Links between excess sugar in your diet and disease have been well-documented, but new research by Harvard's School of Public Health might make you even more wary of that next soda: it could increase your risk of an early death.
The study, published this week in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation, found that drinking one or two sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) each day — like sodas or sports drinks — increases risk of an early death by 14 percent.
Tyson Foods Recalls Nearly 70,000 Pounds of Chicken Strips After Customers Find ‘Fragments of Metal’
Tyson Foods is recalling approximately 69,093 pounds of frozen chicken strips because they may have been contaminated with pieces of metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Thursday.
The affected products were fully-cooked "Buffalo Style" and "Crispy" chicken strips with a "use by" date of Nov. 30, 2019 and an establishment number of "P-7221" on the back of the package.
"FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers' freezers," the recall notice said. "Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase."
Environmental exposure to pesticides, both before birth and during the first year of life, has been linked to an increased risk of developing autism spectrum disorder, according to the largest epidemiological study to date on the connection.
The study, published Wednesday in BMJ, found that pregnant women who lived within 2,000 meters (approximately 1.2 miles) of a highly-sprayed agricultural area in California had children who were 10 to 16 percent more likely to develop autism and 30 percent more likely to develop severe autism that impacted their intellectual ability. If the children were exposed to pesticides during their first year of life, the risk they would develop autism went up to 50 percent.