North Carolina agriculture officials are looking to help smaller farmers markets around the state get the word out about the local products they sell. The state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will begin accepting applications March 1 from markets seeking grants to help with advertising. The department is willing to pay half the total cost of advertising up to $2,500 as long as the markets meet certain guidelines.
North Carolina Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler
"We’re talking about the number one industry in North Carolina; agriculture and agribusiness, it’s $70 billion a year.
Ag Secretary Vilsack Defends Obama Budget Cuts to Crop Insurance
President Obama’s proposed cuts to crop insurance in his fiscal 2013 budget request hit a brick wall during the Senate Ag Committee’s first formal farm bill hearing this year.
Cutting crop insurance 8-billion dollars more - after an earlier 6-billion reduction - at a time other farm programs like direct payments are about to disappear - is not a good move. Ag senators from both parties told Secretary Vilsack this - among them Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow - who called crop insurance a cornerstone…
“We’ve heard across the country from our field hearing in Michigan to Kansas to people coming in and speaking to us here how critical crop insurance is. So, we need you to speak to the president’s proposals, and cuts in farm programs, and I’m particularly concerned about crop insurance.”
Secretary Vilsack says it was either cut farm programs or cut nutrition assistance…
“But, in the president’s view, these insurance companies are better able to withstand these difficult times than the folks that are currently struggling with tight budgets and can’t afford to put enough food on their tables for their families.”
Former USDA Secretary - and now Nebraska Senator - Mike Johanns suggested Vilsack take the 8-billion in crop insurance savings from the much criticized SURE disaster program. Vilsack agreed about SURE’s shortcomings - but not about it being an answer for crop insurance
Organic Trade Gets a Boost
Have you been seeing more organic produce popping up at stores? It's a growing market. CBS News Correspondent Barry Bagnato says under a new agreement, you'll have more choices of organic products...
“In an agreement reflecting the growing popularity of organic products the United States and the European will allow free trade of certified produce, meats, cereals and wines starting this June. Not only will this deal allow American farmers easier access to a combined $50 million a year market, but consumers will know that all products traded under this partnership will follow the same rules.”
Unemployment Sees Another Week with Smaller Numbers
Another good sign on the labor market. Fewer Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week - down 13-thousand to 349-thousand. T
hat's the lowest level in nearly 4 years. CBS Moneywatch-dot-com Editor at Large Jill Schlesinger says given the trend...
“This builds a case the labor market is slowly improving. Last month at 8.3% unemployment. No one’s applauding that, but certainly it’s moving in the right direction.”