The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Service’s Grain Inspection Program is responsible for providing service throughout the entire State and has been in operation since the 1950s.
The State is proud of the team they have built and has a singular goal to provide world class service in a timely manner with accurate results. They are proud of where they have come from, where they are, and where they are going as an official grain inspection agency.
Jason Jernigan, Program Director, states his passion is to make the North Carolina Grain Inspection Program one of the best, and it comes from his love of agriculture and his desire to be part of agriculture within the state of North Carolina. Jason grew up on a tobacco and soybean farm his father operated until three years ago and has agriculture in his blood. Grain inspections allows him to keep that close relationship with agriculture. Jason adds, “there is no I in team” so he attributes all their success to the State’s employees.
Currently, the North Carolina Grain Inspection team consists of nine permanent employees who are all licensed graders, one office support employee, and 20 seasonal employees, three of which are licensed graders.
The North Carolina’s Grain Inspection program has offices in Fayetteville, Elizabeth City, and Selma. Their headquarters office is in Raleigh, where administrative support is housed. Selma is the central grading office and grades inbound trucks loaded onto trains destined for export as well as facilities in Gainesville, Georgia, and Fayetteville. Selma also provides container inspection service. The Fayetteville office grades soybean trucks going into a processing facility as well as inspecting railcar samples. The Elizabeth City office handles export container inspections exclusively.
While ninety-eight percent of all samples the North Carolina Grain Inspections program grades are soybeans, a limited amount of Soft Red Winter wheat, and corn samples are included annually. Inspection services are available for rye, sorghum, oats, and mixed grain as well. During the 2018 grading season, 29,217 official commercial trucks, 4, 515 submitted samples, 7,500 containers, and 37 railcars were inspected. North Carolina’s Grain Inspection program also provides occasional inspection services under an Agricultural Marketing Act agreement and have inspected rice and edible beans for the school lunch program to assist FGIS’ Stuttgart Field Office. Additionally, inspection services have been provided to distiller’s dried grains, and soybean meal under this agreement.
Recently, with the ongoing tariff negotiations, the North Carolina Grain Inspections Program has experienced a drop from its usual 900 to 1,000 railcars annual inspections. Jason Jernigan points out that North Carolina is a grain deficit State, in that the State’s poultry and swine industry can consume everything produced within the State and must import additional grain from other states to meet their needs. To offset the decrease in railcar inspections, the North Carolina Grain Inspections Program has seen an increase in submitted samples from outside their boundaries. Jason attributes this to the outstanding quality his team provides. They strive to provide accurate and timely results, and apparently the word has gotten out which makes the State proud.
The North Carolina Grain Inspections Program is currently assisting the State of South Carolina through a service agreement for a couple of container loading facilities in northern South Carolina. Jason is a proponent of helping others and paying good deeds forward. He points out that several years ago, the State of Virginia offered assistance which allowed North Carolina to stabilize their operation. Jason remembers those efforts well and is glad to offer that same support to the state of South Carolina in order to help them successfully get through a re-organization and re-gain their self-sufficiency with the Official Inspection System.
No doubt, the North Carolina Grain Program employees, along with Jason, want to continue to keep North Carolina as a Top Performing Agency and look forward to overcoming the challenges agriculture often brings.