NC State Ag Economist Dr. Nick Piggott was the keynote speaker at the 8th Annual Ag Development Forum that took place Thursday at the State Fair Grounds during the Southern Farm Show. Piggott says he’s excited about North Carolina’s agricultural prospects going forward:
“I’m very excited about North Carolina’s prospects if we could get over the logistical challenge of developing our ports and railways so we can transport the necessary imports to sustain our livestock industry that makes up about 65% of our industry.
If we were able to repeal the Jones Act, it would allow foreign vessels to compete in the transportation market which in turn would make it more competitive for the railways whose rates have been increasing 7-8% per year for the last few years. It would bring more competition into the market and competition is good for everyone.
We are still a grain deficit state. To get it to even is a challenging goal, to increase our production by at least 100 million bushels which would leave a deficit of 100 million could be a more attainable goal. Changing some of our acreage could get us another 30 million bushels. After that we need to go to intensive crop management and look at irrigation, rotation, grain sorghum in place of corn, etc. It’s a goal that we can achieve over the next five years. There are some things in the pipeline with biotechnology that will be useful to NC in terms of dealing with the pigweed and other things.”
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