“In a lot of cases we take agriculture and all it provides for granted. We all need to appreciate the significance that agriculture has in our lives.
Agriculture is NC’s leading industry and has an economic impact of $72 billion dollars. It’s hard to believe, but with the diversity of agriculture and all that we do that is real, and more than double its nearest competitive industry (the Military at $26 billion).
I have a goal to grow that number to $100 billion dollars. We were able to grow agriculture by about 60% during the great recession, so that goal is well within reach if we do some things right with policy and we get a little luck with the weather.
The population of NC continues to grow and its creating an urban sprawl. We lost 6.6 million acres of farmland between 1970 and 2010. Yet we have been able to grow agriculture and agribusiness. So the state needs a good policy to keep the natural resources. But the growth in population also creates an additional market for our products.
We now have a legislature that is dominated by the cities. What that means is that all of us in agriculture have a greater role to play in education. This week is important that even the people in the city realize where their food comes from.
Agriculture absolutely cannot be taken for granted. If we want to continue to have affordable and available food, agriculture must be revered.”