Abnormally Dry Conditions Increase Significantly in the Palmetto State

In the latest drought monitor released by USDA on Thursday, abnormally dry conditions across the palmetto state increased significantly going from 38% coverage to over 90%, coming very close to full circle with the first of the calendar year where just shy of 100% of the drought was in abnormally dry conditions, or higher. The area of the state that remains drought-free is the mountain area of the upstate. Only the counties of Oconee, Pickens, Greenville and Anderson remain completely drought free.

North Carolina Slipping Back into Drought

In the latest drought monitor for North Carolina released on Thursday, the state’s abnormally dry conditions expanded significantly from 39 3/4% last week to just over 75% this week. The entire Piedmont, the western Coastal Plain, and the foothills are now reporting abnormally dry conditions, a higher percentage than the state started the calendar year with which was almost 69%.

January 2014 Brings Significant Changes for Food Service Businesses

North Carolina will soon join the ranks of states requiring certified food protection managers (CFPM) in all restaurants and other food-service outlets.

By Jan. 1, 2014, NC establishments must have at least one supervisor certified as a food protection manager through an American National Standards Institute (ANSI)-accredited program or face a two-point violation from the state health department.

These managers are required on-site whenever the establishment is preparing or serving food. Their job is to recognize conditions that may contribute to foodborne illness, or that fail to comply with rule requirements, and to take appropriate preventive and corrective actions.

Drought to Persist Through the Winter

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has issued its winter outlook and drought conditions are expected to persist in the southwestern part of the country. Mike Halpert is director of NOAA's Climate Prediction Center:

 “Drought has been an on-going concern across parts of the southwest, particularly parts of central and western Texas for the past three years. Even though there was some relief the past few months, it looks likely to redevelop during the winter.”

Farm Bill Big Four Emerge From Evening Meeting, Say Deal Possible

The House and Senate Ag Committee chairmen and ranking members have been meeting recently and potentially will announce a comprehensive framework for the farm bill next week. Senate Ag Chair Debbie Stabenow says the four leaders are making progress and want to have everything agreed to this week. House Ag Chair Frank Lucas said they would do everything they could on Thursday – and see about staying later after the House and Senate are scheduled to leave for Thanksgiving Break.


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