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Wednesday, 01 December 2010 20:42

Stay little or get regulated; small farmers get some protection

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Small farmers fighting against being lumped with large agribusinesses in a federal food-safety act have received a measure of possible protection.

At the behest of small farmers, U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan D-N.C., and Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., pushed through a provision to exempt small farms from new reporting requirements of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Last month, commissioners in Jackson and Haywood counties joined their counterparts in Macon County in requesting the protection. The distinction between big and small will be those farmers making less than $500,000 in gross income and who sell directly to consumers.

This includes sales made at farmers markets, community-supported agriculture drop-sites, roadside stands and other similar direct-market venues.

“Everyone agrees we must overhaul our food-safety system,” Hagan said, “as millions of people have become sick from foodborne illnesses. But unfortunately, this bill threatens the ability of small producers … to stay in business.”

Hagan noted more than 3,700 farmers in North Carolina sell directly to consumers, generating $29 million in economic activity through sales at 200 farmers markets and more than 100 community-supported agriculture organizations.

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This Must Be the Place

  • This must be the place

    art theplaceMary Harper was quite possibly the first real friend I made when I moved to Western North Carolina.

    With my apartment a few blocks away from the Water’n Hole Bar & Grill in Waynesville, I ventured down there at night trying to see what was up in this town, trying to make some friends, and trying not to feel alone and isolated in a new place where I was unknown to all who surrounded me. Harper, with her million-dollar smile and swagger, immediately made me feel at home. 

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