NC to host listening session on FDA’s updated proposed food safety rules

Produce farmers and animal-food manufacturers can learn more about updated rules proposed under the federal Food Safety Modernization Act at a listening session Nov. 20 in Greensboro.

The session will take place from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Daniel D. Godfrey Multi-Purpose Room in Coltrane Hall at N.C. A&T State University. The listening session will focus on updated proposed rules for produce safety and preventive controls for animal food. Attendees will have an opportunity to pose questions to a panel of subject matter experts from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and learn more about the rulemaking process. Individuals interested in attending the listening session are encouraged to register at so that organizers will have an estimate of the audience size. Anyone with questions should contact Christina Waggett with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services at 919-707-3008.

Barbeque and Bluegrass event this Saturday at Columbia Farmers Market

The South Carolina Department of Agriculture is hosting a barbeque and bluegrass event on Saturday, November 15th at the State Farmers’ market in Columbia.  The family-oriented event runs from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm, featuring five bluegrass bands playing throughout the day, and local South Carolina restaurants will be providing barbeque.  Antique cars and tractors will also be on display at the market.  General admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and children 12 and under are free. 

Peterson: Opening Farm Bill in Next Congress Puts Everything in Jeopardy

U.S. Representative Collin Peterson anticipates the next Congress will be able to work out compromises on agricultural issues, but has concerns regarding the Senate Agriculture Committee. The concerns stem with Kansas Republican Pat Roberts, who voted against the current Farm Bill. Roberts has emerged as the likely candidate to Chair the Senate Agriculture Committee. Peterson stated, in regard to Roberts, “He has made some noise about opening up the farm bill if he gets to be chairman, which is a very bad idea, and puts everything we worked for in jeopardy.” Peterson, a Democrat, is the ranking minority member on the House Ag Committee.

FSA Increases Borrowing Limit for Microloans

The FSA borrowing limit for microloans increased last week from $35,000 to $50,000.  Microloans offer borrowers simplified lending with less paperwork. Etheridge said it makes borrowing from FSA a “first opportunity” to farm or quickly expand existing operations.” To complement the microloan program additional changes to FSA eligibility requirements will enhance beginning farmers access to land, a key barrier to entry level producers. FSA policies related to farm experience have changed so that other types of skills may be considered to meet the direct farming experience required for farm ownership loan eligibility. Operation or management of non-farm businesses, leadership positions while serving in the military or advanced education in an agricultural field will now count towards the experience applicants need to show when applying for farm ownership loans.

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.