For the first time in its 15-year history, the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Farm to School program broke the $1 million-sales mark during the 2011-12 school year. NCDA’s Andrea Ashby:

“We were close to that figure last year but didn’t quite get there. We had $1.2 million in sales. That’s great not only for the local farmers, but means there is that much fresh produce going into the schools. It’s a win win for this program.”

Nearly 1,600 schools participated in the Farm to School program serving more than 1 million students, during the 2011-12 school year. Among the biggest sellers were apple slices, strawberries and blueberries.

School systems largely suspend orders of LFTB

Most of the states participating in the National School Lunch Program have responded to national media attention by leaving the product known as lean finely textured beef off next year’s lunch menu.

The USDA decided to offer ground beef without the filler produced by Beef Products Inc. after public concern escalated this spring. LFTB was included in school ground beef orders for decades.

USDA reports as of May 18 show states have ordered more than 20 million pounds of ground beef products without LFTB from the USDA and only one million pounds of beef with the filler.

SC Acquires Wildfire Fighting Equipment

South Carolina forestry officials are showing off new wildfire-fighting equipment that keeps firefighters safer while allowing them to get closer to the flames.

The agency displayed its new closed-cab fire suppression tractor Wednesday at the Statehouse, next to a 1996 model. Ten of the new units arrived at the Forestry Commission this week that were bought with $3 million given to the agency in the current budget.


Another Retailer Pushing for Sow Housing Changes

Kroger – the second-largest supermarket system in the U.S. is encouraging its pork suppliers to accelerate the transition to stall-free housing for pregnant sows. Wayne Pacelle – President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States – says Kroger has taken an important step for animal welfare in declaring that the pork industry must find an exit strategy for its use of gestation crates.

Protein Too Expensive

A quarter of Americans believes that proteins are too expensive to consume as much as they would like. This, according to the 2012 Food & Health Survey: Consumer Attitudes Toward Food Safety, Nutrition & Health, commissioned by the International Food Information Council Foundation. Although respondents cited the price of proteins in their decision-making, 80 percent said that they believe proteins are part of a balanced diet. More consumers (47 percent) try to eat protein during an evening meal than during other meals; however, 52 percent said they simply try to get enough protein over the course of a day rather than focus on specific meals.

Additionally, half of consumers report that they look at the ingredients list and nutritional information on food labels, the more than half – 54 percent – reported that they would rather just enjoy their food than worry too much about what’s in it. 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.