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State agriculture department encourages farmers to test corn for toxin

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture is encouraging farmers to have their corn tested to prevent food contamination.
Several sites around the state, including the Piedmont Research Station, will accept corn samples to test for aflatoxin, which is a by- product of a type of mold. It can be dangerous to both livestock and humans.
“We have six drop-off locations at research stations across the state to make it easy for farmers to submit samples,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “I encourage farmers to take advantage of our testing service to protect feed and food against this mold.”
Piedmont Research Station Superintendent Joe Hampton said he hasn’t noticed any particular problems with aflatoxin and said the state routinely tests for the mold byproduct.
“It’s usually associated with stressful weather conditions, and it is a very detrimental problem to feeding animals,” Hampton said. “We haven’t had any problems right in our production area. There were areas of the state that were stressed because of dry weather this summer.”
A news release from the N.C. Department of Agriculture said for insurance or quality assurance purposes, farmers must submit a 5-pound sample of shelled corn by mail, UPS or FedEx to a USDA-certified grain marketing location. The following USDA certified locations will accept samples between 6:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays.
• Cargill Soybean Plant, Attn: Ben Honeycutt, 1400 S. Blount St., Raleigh, NC 27603, 919-733-4491
•Grain Grading Office, Attn: Judy Grimes, 407-G South Griffin St., Elizabeth City, NC 27909, 252-337-9782
Farmers who grow or buy bulk corn to feed to their own animals can have it tested for free by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Constable Laboratory, 4000 Reedy Creek Road in Raleigh. Because the lab is not on the Risk Management Agency’s approved testing facility list, results from the constable laboratory will not be accepted for insurance claims, the release said.
Other locations that can receive the 5-pound samples of shelled corn include:
• Border Belt Tobacco Research Station, 86 Border Belt Drive, Whiteville, 910-648-4703
• Peanut Belt Tobacco Research Station, 112 Research Station Lane, Lewiston-Woodville, 252-348-2213;
• Tidewater Research Station, 207 Research Station Road, Plymouth, 252-793-4118;
• Lower Coastal Plain Tobacco/Cunningham Research Station, 200 Cunningham Road, Kinston, 252-527-3579
• Piedmont Research Station, 8350 Sherrills Ford Road, Salisbury, 704-278-2624
• Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station, 74 Research Drive, Fletcher, 828-684-7197.
For additional information about the aflatoxin testing program, contact Jennifer Godwin or Michelle Powell at 919-733-7366.
Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246

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