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Applications Available Now for 2014 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program

Institutions and groups that support specialty crops within the Palmetto state can go online now to apply for the 2014 Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. The S.C. Department of Agriculture will accept proposals for these funds through May 17, 2013.

Project administrators are encouraged to submit grants that are committed to help strengthen the market for specialty crops in South Carolina. Increasing competitiveness may include developing local and rural agricultural economies, and improving food access in underserved communities. Special consideration will be given to projects that increase nutritional knowledge, improve distribution systems, enhance food safety, or invest in research. Interested participants can visit to download the application. Look under Hot Topics for Specialty Crop Block Grant Application.

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The Got To Be NC Festival Wants Your Antique Tractor

Space is still available for antique tractor and farm equipment hobbyists to display their machines at the Got to Be NC Festival at the State Fairgrounds May 17-19. Tractors in working order can also participate in the daily tractor parade through the fairgrounds. Participation is free, but pre-registration is required. Festival organizers also have a few spots available for independent vendors and concessionaires. Tractor registration and vendor application forms are available at .

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As it Stands, Continuing Resolution Would Not Prevent USDA Furloughs

Even with Congress poised to pass a continuing resolution that would give agencies flexibility to address spending priorities – congressional, agency and union officials say furloughs are still likely. USDA spokesperson Courtney Rowe says more than 92-hundred meat inspectors will still be forced to take 11 unpaid days starting in July and spread out through the end of the fiscal year. She says the 53-million dollars in sequester cuts to the Food Safety and Inspection Service – which spends 87-percent of its budget on personnel – would not be offset by new flexibility.

Production Begins on a Feature Length Documentary About Farming

The U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance is working in cooperation with James Moll – an Oscar winning and two-time Emmy winning filmmaker – to produce a feature-length documentary on the next generation of American farmers and ranchers. Moll chose this focus from the research he conducted on farming and ranching today and the issues facing farmers and ranchers. He discovered how the farming and ranching population today is aging…

“There are quite a few young people today who are going on to higher education and then coming back to their farms and ranches. That was very interesting to me. The new technologies and methods of farming are something I wanted to explore. I decided to focus on five 20-somethings, and that would be the way into farming and ranching today.”

Moll says his goal is to represent farmers and ranchers from their own perspective and with their own voices.

Legislation Aims to Provide School Lunch Flexibility

The lead sponsors of legislation to fix the new school meal nutrition standard believe USDA erred in setting limits on the amount of grains and proteins cafeterias can serve students. Senators John Hoeven of North Dakota and Mark Pryor of Arkansas hope to make a short-term waiver issued by USDA last year to allow school cafeterias more time to adjust to the limits on grains and proteins permanent. Hoeven says the legislation – S. 427 – strikes a balance between the objective of providing nutritious meals and combating childhood obesity. is dedicated to serving the agricultural industry in the Carolinas and Virginia with the latest ag news, exclusive regional weather station readings, and key crop market information. The website is a companion of the Southern Farm Network, provider of daily agricultural radio programming to the Carolinas since 1974. presents radio programs, interviews and news relevant to crop and livestock production and research throughout the mid-Atlantic agricultural community.