Since 1971, North Carolina has ranked as the No. 1 sweetpotato producing state in the U.S. Its hot, moist climate and rich, fertile soil are ideal for cultivating sweetpotatoes, averaging at nearly 60% of the U.S. supply. According to the USDA, North Carolina harvested nearly 95,000 acres of sweetpotatoes in 2016, nearly 30,000 more acres than California, Louisiana and Mississippi combined – also top producing states. The graphic shows the top sweetpotato producing North Carolina counties, with Sampson, Johnston, Wilson and Nash accounting for about half of the state’s supply.
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The North Carolina SweetPotato Commission deliberately spells sweetpotato as one word unless directly quoting a source where it is spelled as two words i.e., sweet potato). The one-word spelling was officially adopted by the National Sweetpotato Collaborators in 1989. Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas) must not be confused in the minds of shippers, distributors, warehouse workers, and above all consumers with the equally unique and distinctive potato (Solanum tuberosum) or the yam (Dioscorea sp.) which are also grown and marketed commercially in the United States. Please join us in using the scientific one-word spelling of our state vegetable, the North Carolina Sweetpotato!
Plant Production Compliance Agreements
Compliance agreements are for the allowance of out-of-state shipments and are distributed and managed through the North Carolina Department of Agriculture. If you need a compliance agreement or have questions related to compliance please contact the Plant Pest Specialist who covers the region in which you live/farm.
What is GAP?
Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Handling Practices (GHP) are voluntary audits that verify fruits and vegetables are produced, packed, handled, and stored as safely as possible to minimize risks of microbial food safety hazards
Why should I GAP Certify?
Food safety should be an important issue for sweetpotato producers and taken seriously. Foodborne illnesses and deaths have been highly publicized over recent years. The loss of consumer confidence over contaminated outbreaks has serious effects on the entire produce industry. Almost without exception, the price of the affected crop drops following an outbreak, resulting in significant economic loss. The GAP program is a good way for growers to maintain consumer trust as well as prevent contamination.
What is Global GAP Certification?
G.A.P. stands for Good Agricultural Practice – and GLOBALG.A.P. is the worldwide standard that assures it.
Globally connecting farmers and brand owners in the production and marketing of safe food to provide reassurance for consumers. We lay the foundation for the protection of scarce resources by the implementation of Good Agricultural Practices with a promise for a sustainable future.
If you are planning to ship internationally, or if your packer ships internationally, you should plan on becoming Global G.A.P. certified.
What is Organic Certification?
Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods. The organic standards describe the specific requirements that must be verified by a USDA-accredited certifying agent before products can be labeled USDA organic.
How do I become certified?