Article Title Issue

NCtrend: Energy_What's the Alternative?

NCtrend: What's the Alternative?


Hog heaven

Town Square: Hog Heaven


Silent killer

Silent killer


Taking a leap into the cow pool

Taking a leap into the cow pool


Statewide: Betting the farm on biotech

Statewide: Companies use science to improve crops, livestock and other farm products.


Statewide: Doing more with less

Statewide: Farmland in North Carolina has decreased by more than 40% in the last half-century.


NCtrend: Turkey trot

NCtrend: The Hoke County seat loses its best-known employer as House of Raeford pulls out.


Statewide: Eastern region, December 2014

Monthly report of business news from the Eastern region.


Statewide: Eastern region, November 2014

Monthly report of business news from the Eastern region.


Statewide: Western region, November 2014

Monthly report of business news from the Western region.


NCtrend: Cutting in the middleman

NCtrend: An organic-farming advocate helps farmers quit tobacco.


Statewide: Triad region, September 2014

Monthly report of business news from the Triad region.


Pie in the sky

North Carolina wants to be first in unmanned flight, but it's already falling behind in this air-space race.


Statewide: Timber tantrum

Statewide: Environmentalists try to chip away at the rapid growth in exports of wood pellets.


Statewide: Triad region, May 2014

Monthly report of business news from the Triad region.


Statewide: Eastern region, April 2014

Monthly report of business news from the Eastern region.


Snuffed out

Cover story: Snuffed out: The end of the old Tar Heel economy began with the surgeon general's report.


Statewide: Going to pot

Statewide: Business news from across North Carolina.


Regional Report Triangle January 2014

By mixing things up at B. Everett Jordan Dam and Lake, lawmakers are saving buckets of money - at least for now.


Regional Report Eastern September 2013

The East is generally regarded as the poorest region of the state, so it’s little wonder that impoverished children in and around Wilson have the slimmest chance of any poor kids in North Carolina of climbing the income ladder, according to a study by professors at Harvard University and University of California, Berkeley.


Regional Report Eastern August 2013

It’s not easy being a bay scallop in Bogue Sound — or anywhere else along North Carolina’s coast.


Regional Report Triad August 2013

In the year since Lorillard Inc. bought blu ecigs for $135 million, the Greensboro-based cigarette manufacturer has built the electronic-cigarette brand into a powerhouse with 40% market share.


A place apart

Cover story: Left behind, North Carolina's northeast corner gets a lift from an economic driver across the state line.


Regional Report Eastern May 2013

Closing House of Raeford Farms Inc.’s turkey processing plant in Raeford and hatchery in Rose Hill will hurt one of North Carolina's most valuable agricultural commodities.


Vapor trails

Cover story: A hot deal for electronic-cigarette seller blu ecigs shows where there’s no smoke, there’s fire.


Catching more flies with vinegar

When the market soured, stockbrokers Jenny Fulton and Ashley Furr started Miss Jenny's Pickles in Kernersville.


Regional Report Triad April 2012

T-shirt printer and dyer TS Designs' Cotton of the Carolinas brand sources everything — including cotton and manufacturing — within the state.


Back in bloom

Small Business of the Year: In a bleak economy, our Small Business of the Year, Johnson Nursery Corp., relieved its growing pains by making color count.


Regional Report Eastern November 2012

Sanderson Farms Inc., the nation’s fourth-largest chicken processor, announced in August it will open a hatchery in southern Nash County, the first step in a $91.4 million project that is expected to add a processing plant and field to spray poultry waste within five years.


Regional Report Eastern October 2012

While drought has decimated the Midwest’s corn crop, the U.S. Department of Agriculture predicts North Carolina’s yield will rise nearly 36% per acre compared with last year.


Regional Report Charlotte October 2012

Neither Bojangles Restaurants Inc. or Price's Chicken Coop in Charlotte received sales boosts from September's Democratic National Convention in Charlotte.


Regional Report Western September 2012

A late freeze that ruined between 70% and 80% of the apple harvest this year — worst since 1955 — was particularly damaging to Henderson County.


Regional Report Triad May 2012

Two of the five fastest-growing institutions last year were Premier Commercial Bank and VantageSouth Bank, community banks based in the Triad that experienced asset growth of more than 30%.


Regional Report Triad March 2012

Beginning this year, state law mandates that public utilities generate a portion of their power with swine and poultry waste, which can be converted to methane that fuels turbines.


Memories are made of this?

Once again, G.D. Gearino reviews the year that was, putting such a spin on it that 2011 feels quite dizzy.


Regional Report Charlotte January 2012

Chiquita Brands International Inc. is moving its headquarters  from Cincinnati to Charlotte this year.


Regional Report Eastern January 2012

Two eastern North Carolina wind-farm projects are having trouble shooting the breeze.


Bringing them to the table

Small Business of the Year Runner-up: Jill Marcus and Karen Teed juggled day jobs with cooking at night to get Something Classic Catering & Cafes Inc. going. In 2000, after working out of sometimes rented — and always cramped — spaces for 11 years, they borrowed $250,000. “We took a giant leap of faith and opened an 8,000-square-foot kitchen,” Marcus, 45, says. “We hocked our houses and our firstborn children.”


Regional Report Triangle December 2011

“When I grew up, tobacco was something you smoked or chewed or dipped.” — Gov. Beverly Perdue at the opening of Medicago USA Inc.’s headquarters and production plant in Research Triangle Park Nov. 14.


Regional Report Eastern December 2011

Once touted as a growth industry, the number of Tar Heel fish farms has sunk by a fourth in five years, from 200 to 150, due largely to soaring prices of corn and soybeans, the primary ingredients of fish feed. But vertical integration — controlling every aspect of production — has allowed Carolina Classics Catfish Inc. to keep revenue and profit stable.


Regional Report Triangle November 2011

Clustered food systems — self-sustaining cycles of small local producers growing, packaging and selling food to local customers — are popping up around the nation. 


Regional Report Eastern October 2011

Open Grounds Farm Inc. (cover story, September) took a direct hit from Hurricane Irene, though preparation and timing were on the side of the largest farm in the eastern U.S.

High-Yield Investment

Green into gray, earth into a hazy sky, one melts into the other. Motionless in the sultry morning, corn seems to stretch to infinity.


Regional Report Eastern June 2011

PEMBROKESteven Roberts Original Desserts says it will open a 100,000-square-foot bakery here in July. The Denver-based company plans to employ 100 initially and add 200 within three years. It and its Ticklebelly Desserts subsidiary make sweets sold in restaurants and hotels.


The art of fine swining

Michael Jones fondly remembers his aunts and uncles playing with him on his grandparents’ tenant farm in Whitakers, near Rocky Mount.

Regional Report Eastern December 2010

In the five fall days that dying Tropical Storm Nicole dumped 22 inches of rain on parts of Eastern North Carolina, reporters grilled economists about damage to tourism and beaches.


Regional Report Eastern July 2010

While fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico use their boats to scoop up oil from a rig that exploded off the coast of Louisiana in April, Tar Heel fishermen are gearing up for what could be a big year — thanks indirectly to a spreading slick that has crippled one of the nation’s most bountiful sources of seafood.


Regional Report Eastern April 2010

In “Up on Cripple Creek,” The Band had another kind of distilled corn in mind — and maybe down the gullet — when it sang of “a drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one.”


Time in a bottle

Max Lloyd stands atop a ridge in northeastern Guilford County. A steady breeze from the nearby Haw River combs his hair as he surveys long rows of neatly espaliered chardonel vines.


Regional Report Eastern January 2010

Coharie Hog Farm Inc. of Clinton isn’t the largest pork producer in the state, but its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in November may be the clearest example of hard times facing Eastern North Carolina’s pork industry.


To hive and to hold

There’s not a lot of cleared land in these parts, and apple and peach orchards going bare this time of year take up most of what there is. Through gaps in the dazzling red and yellow of the forest’s oaks, maples and poplars, Wilkesboro nestles in the deep valley below and, farther west, the Blue Ridge rises.


Regional Report Eastern August 2009

Nearly 10 years after Hurricane Floyd flooded dozens of hog-waste lagoons, Tar Heel leaders are still looking for ways to avoid a repeat.


Regional Report Eastern May 2009

Poop power seemed like a godsend — possibly the perfect way to prevent the kind of mess Hurricane Floyd made 10 years ago when it flooded lagoons filled with fetid pig waste.

Regional Report Western May 2009

Hard times are bringing back fond memories for farmers in western North Carolina. Burley, the state’s other tobacco, is rebounding there, playing on its ability to generate substantial cash from small plots tended by family farmers and part-timers.

Crop busters

For many in business, agriculture might seem like a quaint abstraction. But state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler says agriculture and agribusiness, which includes processing, constitute the state’s biggest industry — worth about $70 billion a year.

Regional Report Eastern January 2009

They couldn’t move soybean markets closer or push the price higher, so farmers in four Eastern North Carolina counties took matters into their own hands: They are creating their own market and hoping to get bigger bucks for their beans.

Economic outlook

North Carolina’s society has become multicultural, its economy has become more diverse, and the state has prospered in recent decades. But leaders must adjust their policies for a more metropolitan economy — focused on cities and suburbs — and address a widening disparity between rich and poor, says Ferrel Guillory, director of The Program on Public Life at UNC Chapel Hill.

On a need-to-know basis

There’s a fellow living near Butner, where the federal government is considering building a germ-defense lab, who is prone to dress in a white suit and red cape with a large BS emblazoned on his chest. He’s Bio-Safety Man,and he must be a scary dude. Or at least a very persuasive one. Why else would more than a quarter-million dollars of public money have been temporarily earmarked to overcome his opposition to the lab?

Regional Report Eastern September 2008

This might be remembered as the year corn got creamed.

Regional Report Charlotte May 2008

Jeff Bennett swears he’s not trying to drive Wallace Farm Inc. out of business. But he thinks something needs to be done about it. His neighborhood near Huntersville in northern Mecklenburg County often reeks of rotting food and manure from the company’s composting operation, and some neighbors have a hard time discussing it rationally. “There are some people who would be extremely angry and vocal and screaming at you and telling you it’s not fair.”

Regional Report Triad May 2008

Even the most ardent fans of wines produced in the Yadkin Valley have to admit they’re not cheap. Critics will point out that they cost nearly twice as much as comparable wines from California, Chile, South Africa or Australia.

The meat of the matter

Hermillio Sosa steps into the pulpit of First Baptist Church in Fayetteville, ready to tell his story but unable to speak many words his audience will understand. Beside him, a man repeats his Spanish sen­tences in English for the congregation, most of it black. They’re here on the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr., shot dead 40 years ago on a visit to support striking sanitation workers in Memphis.

Economic outlook

Despite some winter rain, North Carolina is still mighty dry. In mid-January, more than half the population was subject to mandatory water restrictions. An additional 25% was under voluntary restrictions. How has the drought affected the state economy?

Regional Report Triangle March 2008

For nearly three years, Stan Bingham has been driving around in a Volkswagen he modified to run on used vegetable oil, which the Republican state senator from Denton gets free from the General Assembly cafeteria. His bug gets more than 40 miles a gallon on it, but he has to filter the oil and start trips on diesel until the engine heats it up enough to use as fuel. A few miles before stopping, he has to remember to switch back to diesel to flush the fuel lines. Otherwise, the oil cools, gels and clogs them. “It’s really quite a chore to do this,” the lawmaker admits.

Tipping point - Food Processing

Former high-school teacher Wendell Murphy gave farmers in Eastern North Carolina a textbook example of how to raise pigs for profit. He was, at one time, the nation’s largest pork producer and helped the state develop what became a $2 billion industry. He sold Murphy Family Farms in 2000 to Virginia-based Smithfield Foods.

Tipping point - Tobacco

Phil Carlton grew up the son of a tobacco-warehouse owner in Pinetops. After a long legal career that included a stint as a state Supreme Court justice, he was hired in the mid-‘90s by the Big Four tobacco companies — R.J. Reynolds, Philip Morris, Brown & Williamson and Lorillard — to help negotiate a settlement with 46 states and anti-smoking forces. The agreement they signed in 1998 limited tobacco advertising and forced tobacco companies to pay billions of dollars to the states each year.


He handles liquid assets

Pinehurst native Johnny Foster fell in love with the sea at an early age. Inspired by things he read and the exploits of marine researcher and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau, he got hooked on aquaculture, the cultivation of water plants and animals, when he was about 10. “I thought that would be a neat way to make a living, to be around salt water and on the water and scuba diving all the time.”

Fool's gold

It began as a rich man's folly — a French Renaissance chateau in North Carolina’s hillbilly highlands. George Vanderbilt, grandson of steamship and railroad magnate Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, nearly exhausted his share of the family fortune by buying 125,000 acres and building the 250-room mansion.

Tar Heel farmers face bumper crop of woes

Tar Heel farmers never have it easy, but they seem to be facing more threats than usual this year — drought, high gasoline prices and threats of labor shortages.

He approaches job with baited breadth

Like many Tar Heel executives, Louis Daniel worries about cheap imports and high fuel prices. But he has other fish to fry. And he hopes everyone else will, too.

Where there's smoke, there's fare for farms

Don't tell Faylene and Richard Whitaker that tobacco farming is fading in North Carolina. Despite a federal buyout of quotas that has reduced production in recent years, they grow about 140 acres of it on their Climax farm - double what they devoted to it two years ago.

25 years made a world of change for economy

Michael Walden has monitored changes in North Carolina’s economy since joining N.C. State University’s faculty in 1978. A professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, he prepares The North Carolina Economic Outlook, a semiannual forecast. In 2008, the University of North Carolina Press will publish The Modern North Carolina Economy: Origins and Prospects, his analysis of how it has evolved over the last 30 years.

Global glut of grapes makes growers gulp

The bloom may be off the grape in North Carolina. A worldwide wine glut left Yadkin Valley and other growers struggling this year to find buyers for their crop.

Game of chance

That’s how Corky Powers won the State Fair midway contract. But will his fortune be tolled?

Yadkin wineries try to crush a festival

It’s bigger, more established and has the better name. So why do some of the state’s leading winemakers want to put a cork in the North Carolina Wine Festival in favor of a new event that attracted only about a third as many people?

Fishermen: Pings lead to a net loss

Commercial fishermen have a message for the Navy: When Opie tosses that rock in the lake at the beginning of The Andy Griffith Show, it spooks the fish. So imagine what will happen if you bombard them with pings and beeps.

Hog industry must make haste on waste systems

Hogs are North Carolina’s top agricultural product, bringing farmers more than $2 billion in 2004. That total might have been bigger if not for a nine-year-old moratorium on starting or expanding farms with more than 250 hogs.

Down Mexico way

Illegal immigration is suppressing Tar Heel wages, but this boon to business also is creating a new underclass.

The east, with the least, remains much the same.

Eastern North Carolina has done little to improve its economy in the past five years, according to a report from the North Carolina Center for Public Policy Research, a Raleigh think tank.


It’s how a family grew its business and resurrected the Tar Heel wine industry.

Rise and shine

Growing up, my only exposure to wine was the empty “short dogs” we’d sometimes find behind the well house at my grand-parents’ place. Grandpa Kinney was known to imbibe a bit — which, since he’d been a cabinetmaker, probably explained why he had just one eye and only seven fingers — and the shed was where he’d retreat to avoid Grandma’s vigilance.

She runs a couple of shell companies

Houston Peanuts, the salted-in-the-shell goobers bagged by Dublin-based Peanut Processors Inc., have been sold in nearly every Major League ballpark sometime or another the past 30 years. But in the middle of the 2001 season, they were dropped from the most famous of all — Yankee Stadium.

Salad days dawn in tobacco's twilight

North Carolina’s hottest agricultural fad is spreading from one end of the state to the other, and a $54 million Dole Food processing plant to open in 2007 in Gaston County will accelerate its movement. It’s crop diversity.


When radios had tubes and sat on oilcloth-clad kitchen tables, a man could count on certain things. One was that somewhere on the dial, just before daylight, would be a farm show featuring Reno and Smiley, the Briarhoppers or some other act, their corn-pone humor and ringing five-string banjos helping to bring up the sun. And that between tunes, a solemn announcer would read yesterday’s prices from the Siler City livestock market.

He grows business from the ground up

Erik Chumley will tell you with something approaching pride that he’s never done much of anything in “the rat race.” Such disdain is not surprising from someone whose résumé includes carnival work, horse-trailer assembly and just about anything else to keep the wolf from the door. Chumley, 38, is the owner and operator of The American Tie-Dye Co. in Taylorsville. Customers include Wal-Mart, and his shirts have been featured on the Survivor television show.

Nurseries don't dig captive competition

You’ve heard it from Triad textile and furniture manufacturers. They can’t compete with cheap foreign labor, especially in China, where some of it comes from prisoners. Now the complaint is hitting closer to home: Some Guilford County greenhouse operators say they can’t compete with the County Prison Farm in Gibsonville, where labor isn’t just cheap, it’s free.

Farmers reap bumper crop of solicitations

The story sounds familiar: Farmers find mailboxes stuffed with notices from banks and other financial institutions. But for about 70,000 tobacco growers and allotment holders, the letters aren’t duns. They’re from businesses wanting a piece of the $3.8 billion that Tar Heel farmers will start getting this month as part of the federal allotment buyout.

How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm

Republican Steve Troxler won a close election for state agriculture commissioner in November that was disputed because a broken voting machine failed to record 4,400 votes. On Feb. 4, Democratic incumbent Britt Cobb conceded. Troxler has a bachelor’s in conservation from N.C. State University and owns Troxler Farms, growing tobacco and wheat in Guilford County. He recently revealed his plan for agribusiness in North Carolina.

Some small farmers will take their leave

If you want to see a small tobacco farm, you’d better take a picture. After what happened in 2004, it might not be long before they exist only in photographs and memories.

Fruit of the loam

In 1524, explorer Giovanni da Verrazano wrote in his log that the grapes he found growing along the Cape Fear River “without doubt would yield excellent wines.” A Tar Heel wine industry flourished from Colonial times, and from 1840 until the state voted itself dry in 1909, North Carolina led the nation in wine production.