Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Resource for NC Local Food Businesses

Carolina Farm Stewardship Association is pleased to announce the release of a new resource for farmers and local foods businesspeople, called Growing your Local Food Business in North Carolina: A Guide to Laws and Regulations. The guide is designed to give a detailed introduction to the many federal and state laws and regulations that govern the production and sale of farm products (meat, poultry, dairy) and low-risk value-added foods such as jams and jellies. Where possible, the guide also contains information about how to obtain additional information on a topic.

The document can be found on the website at this link: .

Monday, September 24, 2012

NCDA&CS Workshop Helps Protect Your Produce Business

Annette Dunlap, food business specialist
NCDA&CS Marketing Division

NCDA&CS workshop geared toward produce businesses

RALEIGH -- The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will host a workshop Oct. 3 in Raleigh on protecting your produce business. The event, which will be held at the Donald W. Eaddy Agronomic Lab at 4300 Reedy Creek Road, is tailored for anyone who grows, packs or ships fresh produce.

“This workshop is especially timely as there have been a number of produce recalls around the country this summer,” said NCDA&CS food business specialist Annette Dunlap.  “We want to arm produce businesses with the information they need to hopefully avoid food recalls, but also help them be prepared if a recall happens.”

The workshop will feature presentations from retailers, food inspectors, extension specialists and NCDA&CS staff. Topics include the economics of a food recall, a retailer’s perspective, communicating a recall to your customers and the public, everyday produce safety, working with regulators, legal liability and recalls, rebuilding trust with vendors and NCDA&CS resources.
The cost for the workshop is $20, which includes lunch and materials. The registration deadline is Sept. 28. For more information or to register, go to
, or call Annette Dunlap at 919-707-3117.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Acidified Foods Better Process Control School

 What: Acidified Foods Better Process Control School 
Food Processors Institute instructional materials and exams will be used for the Better Process Control School.  Only sections related to certification in Acidified Foods Processing and Packaging for glass or rigid plastic containers will be covered.

When:  October 3-5, 2012

Where: Holiday Inn Asheville
Biltmore West
435 Smokey Park Hwy
Asheville, North Carolina

Who should attend:  
This school is intended for and directed at the level of operating supervisors of acidified foods processing and packaging systems in acidified food establishments.  The course includes instruction on acidified foods. It will qualify commercial operators of plants producing acidified foods (fresh packed pickles, acidified peppers, pickled eggs, salsa, etc.) to meet the requirements of the umbrella GMP and the specific GMP for acidified foods (21 CFR Part 114).
For more details see the flyer.

Registration fee is $450.00 per person. The registration includes: workshop attendance, three lunches,
refreshment breaks, and all manuals. Lodging is not included in the registration fee.

Sponsored by:
Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences North Carolina State University
in cooperation with Food and Drug Protection Division, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

For more details, please download the flyer for this event.

Monday, September 17, 2012

WNC AgOptions Grants

Grants help mountain region's farms succeed
WNC AgOptions intent to apply deadline Oct. 12; application deadline Nov. 16

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Program Contact: Jennifer Ferre, (828) 333-4277,;
Or the local N.C. Cooperative Extension Agriculture Agent

Media Contact: Megan Riley, (828) 333-4151,

MARSHALL — Mountain farms will soon benefit from N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission's recent funding of WNC Agricultural Options. With support from the Commission, WNC AgOptions will award area farmers a new round of $3,000 and $6,000 grants, for a total of $145,000. WNC AgOptions is accepting applications until November 16.

WNC AgOptions, a program of N.C. Cooperative Extension and WNC Communities, continues its nine-year history of helping farmers diversify their businesses. "I am excited that the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission funded this program again this year," said Ross Young, Madison County Extension Director and WNC AgOptions steering committee leader. "There is no doubt that agriculture in Western North Carolina has become stronger because of WNC AgOptions and we expect the 2013 program to continue with outstanding applications from farmers hoping to keep their farms strong in these ever-changing times."
WNC AgOptions awards farmers who propose diversification projects that buncombe salmons4will help their businesses grow and succeed. The seed money offsets the risk of trying something new and gives farmers the chance to demonstrate new farming techniques and marketing tactics to the agricultural community.
Applications are available at and at local Cooperative Extension Centers. Interested applicants should contact their local Extension Agents by October 12 to notify them that they intend to apply. The application postmark deadline is November 16.

One recent WNC AgOptions recipient, Wildwood Herbal in Buncombe County, is harvesting tilapia from a new sustainably designed aquaponics system and will include fish in CSA shares this fall. Another 2012 recipient, David Hughes in Mitchell County, is transitioning entirely from tobacco to potatoes. He is thrilled with the results of his project, as soils in his county often produce at least twice the yield that is expected for potatoes. In part due to the publicity of her grant project, Donna Gains of High Mountain Meadows Farm in Clay County is already taking calls from customers requesting goat cheese even before the completion of her new creamery, due to open this fall.

"The innovative ideas which farmers undertake, the opportunity to showcase these ideas to whole communities, and the proven and continuing success of the WNC AgOptions program are key reasons why our board chose to fund this great project for another year," said Bill Teague, Chairman of the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.
mitchell hughes1Eligible farms are in: Avery, Buncombe, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga and Yancey counties as well as the Cherokee Indian Reservation. The WNC AgOptions steering committee strongly encourages eligible farmers who have never received grant funding to apply.

The administrator of WNC AgOptions is WNC Communities, a non-profit organization that has roots as far back as 1947 and hands in the development of such influential regional projects as the N.C. Arboretum, the WNC Agricultural Center, and, most recently, the WNC Regional Livestock Center. WNC Communities is dedicated to providing a unique forum for leaders in western North Carolina to carry out innovative programs to improve the quality of life for rural communities and to enhance the agriculture economy.

Members of the WNC AgOptions steering committee include: representatives from N.C. Cooperative Extension, N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services–Marketing Division, WNC Communities, Appalachian Sustainable Agricultural Project and other leaders in agribusiness. RAFI-USA's Tobacco Communities Reinvestment Fund manages a similar grant program for farmers in the Piedmont, Central and Coastal regions of North Carolina.

For more information, see the following: 
WNC Agricultural Options:
N.C. Cooperative Extension Centers:
N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission:
WNC Communities:

 Pictured above: Seth Salmon at Wildwood Herbal in Buncombe County; David Hughes' potato farm in Mitchell County

USDA Announces Grants to Improve Housing for Farm Workers

Sep. 10, 2012

The USDA is accepting applications for technical assistance grants to develop domestic and migrant farm labor housing.

The deadline for submitting applications is November 5, 2012.

.Advertisement.The USDA is accepting applications for technical assistance grants to develop domestic and migrant farm labor housing.

"These grants will help communities submit quality applications to increase their chances of getting funding to build much-needed affordable housing for farm workers," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. "Increasing the supply of affordable housing in rural communities not only helps the residents, it helps the entire community."

Grants are available to organizations that will help housing authorities, state and local governments, Indian tribes, non-profit organizations, and community- and faith-based groups apply for loans and grants to build farmworker housing. The purpose of the grants is to increase the number of high-quality applications USDA receives. Vilsack announced on July 18 the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for loans and grants to build or preserve affordable rental farm worker housing. This technical assistance funding is to organizations that assist potential borrowers under that NOFA.

Technical assistance grantees must have the knowledge, ability, expertise or practical experience necessary to develop and package farm labor housing loan and grant applications. They also will be required to submit a minimum number of applications to USDA, based on their location.

For additional information, see page 54877 of the September 6 Federal Register. The deadline for submitting applications is November 5, 2012.  Go to

Organic Certification Cost-Share Deadline: Sept 30

From Heather Barnes at the NCDA & CS.

Any growers that are currently certified organic, please be aware that the deadline for submitting your Organic Certification Cost Share Program application is September 30th and includes all costs incurred between October 1, 2011 and September 30, 2012.

This federal program is administered by each state's Department of Agriculture, is non-competitive and offered on a first-come, first-served basis until all money is awarded.  Funds are awarded to cover 75% of organic certification costs up to $750.  Fill out the paperwork and get reimbursed! 
NC farmers can find more information and forms at:   (at the bottom of the page)
Links to forms (pdf):

SC farmers can find forms at:   (titled "Organic Application" and "Organic Application W-9 Form")
National Organic Program details on cost share:

In order to get a reimbursement, you must send a cost share application and the necessary W9 form, along with proof of certification and receipt of your various certification fees for the year to the following contacts:

North Carolina
Heather Barnes, Marketing Specialist
North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture & Consumer Services
1020 Mail Service Center
Raleigh NC 27699-1020

South Carolina
Amy London & Fred Broughton
SC Dept of Agriculture
Wade Hampton Office Building, 5th Floor
1200 Senate Street
Columbia, SC 29201

Tobacco Trust Fund Grant Awards

The 2012 NC Tobacco Trust Fund Grant Award Winners have been announced.  19 projects have received funding, including the successful local project WNC AgOptions Grant Program.  The NC Tobacco Trust Fund Commission conducts an annual grant application cycle.  Check back to the NC Tobacco Trust Fund website ( to see the latest updates and to download an application and the guidelines when they become available.  The next cycle is expected to launch January, 2013.

To see the complete list of recipients, click here 

Congratulations to all recipients!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Organic Broccoli Workshop - Sept 19, 2012

September 19, 2012
Organic Broccoli Workshop!
Mountain Research Station, Waynesville, NC

11:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Come learn about organic broccoli production: insect management, post-harvest techniques, and marketing. View 28 varieties and help us rate which one is best. RSVP to reserve a lunch (you can still come regardless, just can't promise a lunch). Richard Boylan, Watauga County Extension Agent, Emily Bernstein, Research Specialist, and Jeanine Davis, Associate Professor will be presenting. The workshop is free and open to the public. Contact Emily at or 828-684-3562 to reserve a lunch and indicate any dietary needs or preferences. The workshop will be held at the Mountain Research Station, 265 Test Farm Road, Waynesville, NC 28786. This workshop is free and open to the public. Directions. This project is led by Jeanine Davis in the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University and funded by a grant from the Organic Farming Research Foundation.