Agriculture in North Carolina has a tremendous impact on the people and the economy of this great state. According to NC Department of Agriculture 2015 statistics, livestock, dairy, poultry, and crop cash receipts in Sampson County alone exceed $1.3 billion. Sampson County is home to more than 1,000 farms, has near 300,000 acres of land used for farming, and ranks first in the state in swine inventory, turkeys raised, as well as sweet potatoes produced. Sampson County farm families take great pride in their farming practices and the products they produce.
Swine production in North Carolina alone provides an economic impact estimated at $9 billion dollars and employs some 46,000 people in production, processing, and product distribution. North Carolina ranks second to first placed Iowa in the United States in terms of swine pounds produced.
The pork production industry is the most highly regulated industry in all of agriculture. I talk and work with producers every day who are working hard to responsibly meet and exceed regulatory requirements. These are families deeply rooted in their communities; they love what they do and do it well. Farm families should make it their business to align with advocates such as the NC Pork Council (www.ncpork.org) and NC Farm Families (www.ncfarmfamilies.com) who are familiar with the work they do and serve as a unified voice to tell their stories.
“Over 80 percent of North Carolina’s pork farms are owned and operated by individual farm families, who make the preservation of the environment, the humane treatment of their livestock, and the well-being of the communities they live in top priorities. These family farms produce a high-quality, healthy, nutritious product – grown and processed right here in North Carolina – that is in high demand in North Carolina, across the country and around the world.” (www.ncfarmfamilies.com)
Max Knowles is an extension agent specializing in livestock with the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center.