Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Infographic: Overview of the MAP Branded Program

The MAP Branded program can be a little confusing to those who've never encountered it. That's why the Southern United States Trade Association developed an infographic to visually simplify the program and help you to understand eligibility requirements, costs of participating, and funding details.
The MAP Branded Program | Southern United States Trade Association
Browse more on Visual.ly.

If you believe you meet all the requirements, and are ready to apply for the MAP Branded Program, visit the MAP Application to get started. Starting August 1st, SUSTA is accepting applications for the 2013 program year.

Or, if you're not quite ready and still want to learn more about this program, visit the MAP Branded program's Frequently Asked Questions page.

Monday, September 17, 2012

USDA Study Highlights Latest Agricultural Trends by Jerry Hingle

The agricultural industry has changed greatly in recent years due to a variety of factors such as public policy, weather, and of course new technologies. The USDA completed a study to find out just what those changes are, and found trends along the way. 

Below are some key findings: 

"From 2004 to 2011, organic food sales more than doubled, from $11 billion to $25 billion, accounting for more than 3.5 percent of all food sales in 2011. In 2008, less than 1 percent of U.S. cropland, pastureland and rangeland were devoted to organic production. However, the percentages are higher for fruit and vegetable crops and for dairy production." 

"Corn, soybean and cotton growers have widely adopted genetically engineered herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant seeds since 1996. Despite the higher cost for the genetically engineered seed, U.S. farmers are realizing the economic benefits from increased crop yields, lower pesticide costs and reduced management."

"In terms of 2010 dollars, real expenditures for and quantities of pesticide active ingredients declined by an average of 2.4 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively, per year during the years 1996-2007, even though expenditures and quantities applied increased from 2006 to 2007. However, herbicide use increased, with most of that attributed to glyphosate use on herbicide-tolerant crops." 

To learn more about some key findings, read the West Central Tribune's article here

Jerry Hingle
Executive Director
Southern United States Trade Association 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Latest Food Manufacturing News: The FDA Cracks Down

This past week, the Food and Drug Administration issued many warning letters to food manufacturers across the U.S. Some of which include Henrys Farms in Virginia, who had a problem with sprout production, and Chu Minh Corp. in Seattle, a tofu manufacturer who received a warning letter because of "insanitary conditions."

The agency was most concerned with the presence of live birds, insects, and both live and dead rodents in the production areas. They received a 7 page warning letter that addressed each concern. The FDA is cracking down on many food manufacturing companies; it is extremely important that you follow all regulations concerning production, labeling, and sanitation. To familiarize yourself with these regulations, visit the FDA website.

"Food companies that receive warning letters are generally given 15 days to respond to issues raised by the FDA. Sometimes, if the government and the food company reach agreement on how to handle all the issues raised, the FDA will post a "close-out" letter on its website." To read more about which companies received letters this past week, read the article from Food Safety News.