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In Brief: Food Safety Modernization Act workshop in Boone Dec. 12

The Watauga Democrat - 12/1/2017

Food Safety Modernization Act workshop in Boone Dec. 12

BOONE - The Food Safety Modernization Act now governs all food- and feed-producing farms in the U.S. How it impacts your farm in particular depends largely upon your gross annual sales and the types of markets where you sell. On Tuesday, Dec. 12, the N.C. Cooperative Extension offers a free "FSMA for Small Farms: Six Steps to Safe Food and Legal Sales" workshop in Boone. The workshop will take place from 1-4 p.m. at the Watauga Agricultural Conference Center (252 Poplar Grove Rd., Boone 28607). This workshop is free and open to all current and potential farmers of vegetables and fruits at any scale.

The FSMA for Small Farms workshop will cover six Food Safety Practices essential for all farms. These are the practices that are expected by the FDA, by wholesale buyers and by knowledgeable consumers. The workshop will then help participants walk through an "Exempt or Not? Navigating the qualifications" exercise to determine how the FSMA Produce Rule will govern each participant's own operation.

Certain scales and types of farms will be legally required to demonstrate their food safety compliance with additional records and data, but many local family farms will be able to operate under the "Qualified Exempt" status built into FSMA in order to reduce burdens on small farm operations.

Workshop leaders will also educate participants on how FSMA will affect any CSAs and Food Hubs that growers many be part of, and focus on the confluence of required practices under FSMA as a preparation and requirement for potential GAP audits and certifications.

Interested growers should register by Dec. 8 by emailing Richard Boylan at rjboylan@ncsu.edu or call the Watauga Cooperative Extension Center at 828-264-3061.

In the event of extreme weather on Dec. 12, the workshop snow date is Jan. 18, 2018.

UNC-TV visits Blowing Rock

BLOWING ROCK - Bob Garner and UNC TV's "NC Weekend" show paid a visit to Blowing Rock during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Garner, along with his cameraman Bob Gunter, visited Timberlakes at Chetola, The Blowing Rock Ale House and The Speckled Trout Restaurant and Bottle Shop over the holiday weekend to shoot scenes for upcoming episodes of "NC Weekend."

The show, "NC Weekend," is a 30-minute travel and tourism show that airs three times weekly on UNC-TV to more than 4.5 million households. The taped interviews and segments should air in the coming months, according to Tracy Brown, director of the Blowing Rock Tourism Development Authority.

"It was a busy weekend and hard to throw a camera crew on top of an already busy restaurant, but the participating businesses stepped up to the challenge," said Brown. "It's always great to have producers and editors of different media notice what our community is doing. Our food scene has always stood out and it shows that our restaurants here in Blowing Rock are some of the best around. Bob would not visit if they weren't of quality and doing something worth talking about."

Agreement signed for

Aerospace Park in

NE Tennessee

BLOUNTVILLE, Tenn. - Last month, representatives from three cities, two counties and the Tri-Cities Airport Authority formalized the partnership to advance the significant regional economic development project, Aerospace Park, with a joint signing event.

Tri-Cities Airport is a full-service commercial airport serving Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Western North Carolina and Eastern Kentucky. TRI offers non-stop flights to four hubs (Atlanta, Charlotte, Orlando/Sanford and St. Pete/Clearwater/Tampa) on Allegiant, American and Delta. For more information about Tri-Cities Airport, visit TRIflight.com.

Aerospace Park is a direct-airfield development at Tri-Cities Airport in Northeast Tennessee. The site offers 21 acres certified for immediate development and an additional 140 acres under preparation.

The TCAA; the cities of Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City, Tenn.; and Sullivan County and Washington County, Tenn., have been jointly working for more than a year to develop a regional investment strategy for Aerospace Park. Together, the communities will be backing an $8.5 million bond.

TCAA Chairman Jon Smith said, "Today's event demonstrates the ability of our region to work together and a strong commitment to the airport and the aerospace industry."

Aerospace Park is an on-airport industrial park, with direct runway access, which will accommodate the continued growth of the aerospace industry in northeast Tennessee. Combined with the aviation maintenance technology program at Northeast State Community College, the expansion of Aerospace Park ensures the aerospace industry has both the physical infrastructure and the trained workforce needed to add to the existing aerospace companies in the region.

More than $23 million has been invested in infrastructure serving the 160-acre site, including grading a portion of the site, construction of an industrial access road and installation of utilities.

TCAA Executive Director Patrick Wilson said, "We have had interest in the airport and our region from aerospace industry prospects over the past couple of years. The ability to offer a larger site will allow us to be more competitive for large projects."

Construction is expected to begin in the fall of 2018.

Low-Income Energy

Assistance applications

accepted starting Dec. 1

RALEIGH - The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services is accepting applications for the state's Low-Income Energy Assistance Program beginning Friday, Dec. 1.

Households including a person aged 60 or older, or an individual receiving disability benefits and services through the N.C. Division of Aging and Adult Services, are eligible to sign up for assistance Dec. 1?31. All other households may apply from Jan. 1 through March 31, or until funds are exhausted.

The energy assistance program is federally funded and provides a one-time payment directly to the utility company to help eligible households pay heating bills during the cold-weather months. Last year, the program provided approximately $38 million to help more than 120,000 households pay their heating bills from December 2016 through March 2017.

For more information, contact your local county department of social services. A list of these offices and contact information is available at www.ncdhhs.gov/divisions/dss/local-county-social-services-offices.

Thomas Sherrill contributed reporting to this article.


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