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Sen. Graham Confident Port of Charleston Will Be Deepened

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham from South Carolina says he's never been more confident that the Charleston Harbor shipping channel will be deepened to 50 feet.

Graham says a water resources bill making its way through Congress includes a provision to allow the state to proceed to deepen the harbor with its own money and be reimbursed later by the federal government.

State Ports Authority President and CEO Jim Newsome says he hopes the channel can be deepened by the end of the decade.

South Carolina's General Assembly has approved $300 million for the project.

NCDA’s Dig Into Local Challenge Winner Announced

Adam Hayes, executive chef of the Red Stag Grill in Asheville, won the 2013 Dig into Local Challenge sponsored by the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Red Stag’s menu focuses on European-style comfort food using the freshest local ingredients selected by Hayes from nearby farms. Hayes takes his culinary staff and servers on monthly field trips to local farms that supply products to the hotel. He believes this knowledge will benefit them when they prepare and serve the food to their customers.

More than 30 restaurants in the state took on the challenge to showcase local, fresh North Carolina products on their menus from June through August.

Chefs participating in the challenge were required to customize a menu that identifies local ingredients and the farm, producer or processor. As supply increased during the height of the growing season, menus should have reflected that abundance in both ingredients and farms being used.

The Red Stag Grill is located inside the Grand Bohemian Hotel in downtown Asheville.

Another Record Year for Agricultural Exports

USDA has released its final tally for agricultural exports in Fiscal Year 2013. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says American agriculture achieved record exports once again at 140.9-billion dollars. Vilsack says the period from 2009 to 2013 stands as the strongest five-year period for agricultural exports in the nation’s history.

King Amendment Protects States, Animal Agriculture

The agriculture industry needs a farm bill to bring some stability – according to National Pork Producers Council President Randy Spronk – who says there’s been much dysfunction surrounding a new farm bill. But NPPC is hopeful Congress will pass a new five-year farm bill by the end of this year with the King Amendment. Spronk says this amendment involves interstate commerce and states’ rights…

 “With this amendment, Representative King is trying to make sure that a state can have more restrictive practices when it comes to animal agriculture. On the other hand, if a state chooses – like California with Proposition 2- that a producer out of Iowa is producing according to Federal laws and Iowa laws, that California can’t keep that Iowa producer from coming into California.”

Spronk says the King Amendment protects all states – and all of animal agriculture – and would ensure products are available across the United States. 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.