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NCRC program is now NC MarketReady

KANNAPOLIS ó A program at the N.C. Research Campus that helps North Carolina farmers compete in the marketplace has changed its name.
N.C. State University’s Program for Value-Added & Alternative Agriculture has become N.C. MarketReady.
“We are excited about this new name,” director Dr. Blake Brown said in a statement. “The new name, N.C. MarketReady, more accurately communicates the scope of our program’s work.”
Brown, a professor in the N.C. State Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, founded the program in 2006 with funding from the N.C. Tobacco Trust Fund Commission.
Since then, the program team based at Research Campus in Kannapolis has grown to five faculty and four staff members. They work closely with N.C. State’s Plants for Human Health Institute, also based at the Research Campus, as well as with faculty from the main campus in Raleigh and Cooperative Extension field faculty across the state.
Market ready, or being ready for market, implies all facets of a business ó research, business planning, production, management, food safety and marketing, Brown said.
“Our team collaborates with faculty across the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to develop multidisciplinary programs.”
These partnerships are an essential ingredient to programs that help North Carolina farm families.
The team focuses on agricultural enterprise development, business skills education, fresh produce safety, horticultural skills education and strengthening markets.
N.C. State will use “N.C. MarketReady” as a brand on a comprehensive set of educational materials under development at the Research Campus, including the new fresh produce safety curriculum coming out next month that teaches growers to minimize fresh produce safety risks.
The curriculum includes contributions from both N.C. State and N.C. A&T State University, another school with a presence at the Research Campus. In all, eight universities are studying human health, nutrition and agriculture in Kannapolis.
The N.C. MarketReady program has received more than $2 million in grant funding. This year, grants will provide more than 72 percent of the program’s operating budget.
The program’s Web site, www.ncmarketready.org, includes the one-stop-shop growers’ information portals, fresh produce safety materials, business development files, The Produce Lady videos and value-added cost share applications and guidelines.

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