NCDA Hosting Listening Session on New Food Safety Rules

Produce farmers and packers can learn more about the federal government’s proposed produce safety rule at a listening session Feb. 20 at the State Fairgrounds.

NCDA Director of Communications, Brian Long:

“Its an opportunity for produce farmers and packers to learn more about the FDAs proposed produce safety rule.” 

Individuals also will have the opportunity to ask questions during the session, and offer their feedback according to Long:

“Even though it’s a federal rule, we want to hear from farmers across the state as well because we are also evaluating this proposal and we are going to be submitting comments. The more people we have looking at it the better we all will be.”  

The meeting is scheduled for 1 to 5 p.m. in the Scott Building at the NC State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Individuals interested in attending the listening session are encouraged to register so that organizers will have an estimate of the audience size. Go to our calendar for a link.

CME Looking at Changing Trading Hours Again

Based on customer feedback and a formal survey of market participants – CME Group Inc. has decided to reduce trading hours for its grain and oilseed futures and options contracts. This will reverse the decision made last year to extend electronic trading hours from 17 to 21 hours each day. The exchange is vetting alternatives because there were varying opinions on what the reduced hours should be. There is also an indication that CME Group supports a market pause during the release of USDA reports. According to a letter to CME customers – more specifics will be released in the coming weeks.

U.S. Cattle Herd at 61 Year Low

According to USDA’s 2013 Cattle report – the nation’s total cattle inventory dropped another two-percent during 2012. The herd totaled 89.3-million head and marks the lowest January 1 inventory of all cattle and calves since 1952.

Commissioner’s BBQ Cookoff Calling for Entries

Do you think you’ve got what it takes to win the Commissioners Cup State Championship BBQ Cook Off? If you’re a backyard barbecue warrior, or a professional that hits the barbecue circuit, then now is the time to sign up for the South Carolina Department of Agriculture’s Smokin’ at the Market Commissioners Cup BBQ Cook Off. The competition is March 22-23 at the State Farmers Market in West Columbia.

The categories for the Commissioners Cup include: Anything Butt, Butts, Pork Ribs, Grand Champion, and Reserve Champion. South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers will present the awards on Saturday afternoon of the event. The cook off is sanctioned by the Southern BBQ Network.

Barbecue teams can sign up at  or email Jackie Moore at for more information. 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.