A new program from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is encouraging chefs to dig into locally grown products this summer.
The Dig into Local 90 Day Challenge aims to promote the bounty of N.C. agricultural products available during the growing season by challenging chefs from across the state to create new menu options in their restaurants.
As part of the challenge, restaurants must create a customized menu of dishes featuring products sourced from North Carolina. Each menu must show information about the local ingredients, including the farm, producer or processor. In addition, participating restaurants are required to submit a summary at the end of the challenge with information about their menu creations. Restaurants will be judged on their creations, and the winner will receive a customized marketing package to use in its area.
The challenge runs from June 1 to Aug. 31. Restaurants interested in participating can register by sending an email toDigIntoLocalChallenge@SavorNC.org by May 31.
US Department of Labor to Discuss Compliance Issues in Columbia
The United States Department of Labor will be presenting information important to farmers and growers on compliance with labor rules and regulations. The meeting is set for May 14th at the Phillips Market Center on the State Farmers’ Market in Columbia. The meeting is open to all growers, labor industry professionals and agribusiness industry representatives, and will include a Q&A session.
Senate to Mark Up Farm Bill This Week
The Senate Ag Committee is expected to mark-up its farm bill this week – and timing will be crucial. Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow is hoping to repeat last year’s swift handling of her panel’s farm bill – and according to American Farm Bureau Director Dale Moore…
“Based on the latest conversations that we and other folks have had with Chairwoman Stabenow’s staff, it appears that she is shooting for mark up on Thursday May 9th.”
Moore agrees that with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s plans to bring up immigration reform in June – the Senate farm bill must move this month:
“Our hope is that by Memorial day that at least we have the Senate Farm Bill completed. We understand that the House is marking up May 15, so the hope is that both will move efficiently and get the farm bill done soon.”
He expects the biggest fights in Senate Ag to be over commodity and nutrition programs.
Time to Respond to Census of Ag Coming to a Close
With the window to respond to the 2012 Census of Agriculture officially closing on May 31, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is urging farmers and ranchers not to miss this opportunity to be counted and help determine the future of farming in America. USDA has already received more than 2 million completed Census forms. The 2012 Census will provide a complete picture of agriculture that will be used to shape the future of agriculture, rural America, and the lives of those USDA serves for years to come. The deadline to respond to the Census of Agriculture is only a few weeks away on May 31. USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) may contact producers by phone or in person to collect Census information since time is running out.
Farmers and ranchers can also return their forms by mail or online by visiting a secure website, www.agcensus.usda.gov. Federal law requires a response from everyone who receives the Census form and requires NASS to keep all individual information confidential.