There Will Always be a Need for Food Safety Procedures

NC Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler presided over the 8th Annual Food Safety Forum at the NC State Fairgrounds in Raleigh on Tuesday. More than 300 people showed up to hear the latest in food safety methods and regulations. Troxler explained that the event was timely in light of the latest cantaloupe recall:

“This even was timey, even though we have done it for eight years, when we start talking about all of the recalls that have occurred and the new produce rules that we know will be coming out from the food safety organization, I think its very timely and very informative.”

While the number of food-borne illnesses in relation to the number of meals eaten by Americans in a given year, Troxler feels that there won’t be a day when we can stop talking about food-borne illness:

“We grow the food supply outside for the most part, where the microbes are and its an uncontrolled environment. We could get closer if we did things like eradiate all of the foods that we eat.”

Consumer Confidence Continues to Lag

Economic signs may be getting better – but consumers aren't quite feeling it. The latest gauge of consumer confidence, from the Conference Board, has fallen to its lowest level since last November. Lynn Franco is with the Conference Board and says it's all about jobs…

“Until consumers feel a real turn around in the labor market, we are not likely to get a turn around in confidence.”

Farm Bill to Have Presence at RNC in Tampa

The Farm Bill Now Coalition is expanding and expected turnout at a D.C. rally next month could be significant. Meantime – Republicans may include a farm policy plank in their party platform in Tampa. American Farm Bureau Federation Deputy Director Dale Moore says AFBF has staffers at the GOP Convention in Florida – waiting to see what comes out for ag in the 2012 party platform…

“I don’t know if there will be something specific on the farm bill. The process that they have underway, I will be very surprised if we don’t have a pretty strong statement coming out of the convention talking about farm policy. I’m sure the farm bill will be part of that discussion.”

Meantime – the coalition of farm groups – including AFBF, National Farmers Union, commodity and others – is growing…

“We know that over the weekend another ten fold of groups joined, making out count now well over 40 in terms of the various farm commodity, agribusiness, input supplier, basically ranging from the field to the market place.”

Moore expects a good mix of farm leaders and boots on the ground farmers and ranchers – maybe a few hundred – to make the arguments for a farm bill now before current law expires September 30th.

Louisiana in Same Boat North Carolina Was in 2011

Much like North Carolina was in 2011, this was going to be a good harvest for Louisiana farmers – but Hurricane Isaac is changing all that. Louisiana Commissioner of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Mike Strain says eighty-percent of the cotton crop has been defoliated and will probably be severely damaged by all the rain that's associated with Isaac. Regarding soybeans – only 18 to 20-percent of the crop has been harvested – so Strain says there could be a loss with soybeans – too. Nearly 88-percent of the corn crop has been harvested…

“We have a lot of corn on the ground, especially in the northeast part of Louisiana where its stored because we took the corn out of the elevators to put beans in the elevators because of the issues we are having shipping it down the Mississippi River. To compound this we don’t have a new farm bill. That farm bill does expire at the end of September so we are going to be working very hard to get all of these issues together and work with the right parties.”

2012 was going to be a record year for yields in most Louisiana crops 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.