RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumers Services’ State and Federal Market News Service is launching a series of new reports focusing on locally produced agricultural products.
Reports for the state-operated farmers markets in Raleigh and Asheville, which list current wholesale prices, are now online, as is Farm to School information, which provides total produce sales delivered plus unit prices. In addition to these reports, Market News plans to develop reports for direct-to-consumer sales, which will capture the prices of commodities that farmers market to consumers. Reports on grass-fed beef are expected to be available starting in September.
The new reports will provide users with information that can assist them with making informed business decisions, said Sherry Barefoot, Market News manager. The information can assist producers with their financial planning, assist insurance companies with settling insurance claims and benefit other members of the industry, she said.
“Interest in, and demand for, locally grown foods has increased significantly in the past 10 years,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “This has been a win-win for farmers and the economy, as consumers are enjoying more foods straight from the farm, creating new markets and supporting the local economy.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Census of Agriculture, the number of North Carolina farms selling agricultural products directly to consumers in 2012 was 4,475. That is up from 3,712 in 2007 and 3,054 in 2002. The total market value of direct sales in 2012 was $31.8 million.
The new reports can be found on the Market News website at www.ncagr.gov/markets/mktnews/local.htm.