Starting today, the NCDA&CS has several new responsibilities and hundreds of new employees because of reshuffling within state government.
The budget bill the General Assembly passed last month transferred two state agencies to NCDA&CS from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. They are the N.C. Forest Service and the Soil and Water Conservation Division. The bill also transferred the Sleep Products and Grade A Milk programs from DENR’s Division of Environmental Health to NCDA&CS.
The Forest Service develops, protects and manages forest resources in the state. Programs include reforestation services, forest fire prevention and suppression, and insect and disease control. The agency also is involved in the operation of tree seedling nurseries, long range forestry planning and technical development, water quality controls, urban forestry assistance, training, and support to volunteer fire departments and forestry education. The agency has been in the news lately for battling four wildfires in eastern North Carolina.
The Soil and Water Conservation Division fosters voluntary, incentive-driven management of soil, water and related natural resources. The division is recognized as having one of the nation’s top soil and water conservation programs for private lands. Its staff works in partnership with local conservation districts and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resource Conservation Service, as well as private and nonprofit organizations. The partnership is successful in putting conservation measures on the ground across the North Carolina landscape, largely due to the strong local district infrastructure.
The Grade A Milk Program inspects dairy farmers and processors to ensure safety and wholesomeness. It is now part of the NCDA&CS Food and Drug Protection Division, which already regulated the making of butter, cheese and frozen desserts.
The Sleep Products Program inspects and licenses all sleep products sold or manufactured in the state, and regulates the sanitizing processes for used or second-hand bedding products. It is now part of the department’s Structural Pest Control and Pesticides Division.
Most employees with these divisions and programs will remain in their current office locations. A few will move into NCDA&CS offices.
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler talks about the new additions to the department’s responsibilities in the video below.