NC Farm to School Program Sees Double-digit Growth

The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Farm to School program continued to see strong growth as school systems across the state added more locally grown fruits and vegetables to school lunch menus. Sales jumped to $1.4 million this school year, up from $1.2 million in 2011-2012, a 16.6 percent increase.

Under the program, school systems across the state can order fresh North Carolina produce, which is coordinated and transported to schools by the NCDA&CS Food Distribution and Marketing divisions. In the 2012-2013 school year, 1,776 schools participated in the Farm to School program, ordering nearly 1.8 million pounds of fresh North Carolina produce. The program served more than 1 million students this year.

Watermelon & Vegetable Field Day Today at Edisto

The Watermelon and Vegetable Field Day at the Edisto Research & Education Center in Blackville, South Carolina gets underway this morning at 8:00 am. The field day includes talks at the Center followed by tours of test plots on the station and concludes with lunch. For more information visit our calendar. 

Senate Ag Committee Holds Hearing on Sale of Smithfield Foods

The Senate Agriculture Committee held a hearing yesterday on the proposed purchase of Smithfield Foods, the largest U.S. pork producer, by a large Chinese food company. Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow questions whether it will hurt food security and food safety.

“We need to be evaluating the long term market implications of this deal for American workers, pork producers and the farmers who grow grain and feed ingredients.”

Larry Pope, President and CEO of Smithfield defended the sale and says it will help create jobs and help the U.S.

“There should be no noticeable impact on how we do business in America. And around the world as a result of this acquisition, except that we plan to do more of it.”

US House Republicans Working to Sever Farm Bill

In a move that would sever the long-standing urban-rural bipartisan alliance backing agriculture policy, House Republicans are planning to split the nutrition programs — including food stamps and school meals — from farm programs in hopes of passing a farm bill this summer. Farm lobbyists did not want to see the farm bill split, but Dale Moore, spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based American Farm Bureau Federation, said House Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and House Republican leaders have chosen that path. 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.