The NCDA & CS Agricultural Development Forum will be held Feb. 1 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. Commissioner Steve Troxler will present his annual State of Agriculture address, highlighting our state’s No. 1 industry and looking ahead to where he sees the industry going and how it will get there.
In addition, the program will cover an economic outlook for agriculture, a discussion on agricultural trade and insights on agricultural trade issues.
- One of the largest farm shows in the Southeast will be happening Jan. 31-Feb. 2 at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. The Southern Farm Show completely takes over the fairgrounds with everything related to agriculture that you could imagine, including new equipment, farm services and products, educational exhibits and more.
- There are also a lot of meetings held during the three days of the Farm Show, including the annual Agricultural Development Forum on Thursday, Feb. 1, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
- This will be the 13th year for the forum and we will be discussing the economic outlook for agriculture, agricultural trade and ag labor issues. It should be a good program as these are all important topics heading into the new season.
- Randy Russell will be joining us from Washington DC to talk about International Trade Policy. His consulting firm focuses on agricultural issues including trade, food safety, child nutrition, agriculture research and others. I look forward to hearing his perspective on international trade policy.
- As your listeners know, international trade is significant for North Carolina agriculture, at more than $4 billion right now, and we will want to grow that even more going forward.
- So trade policy will be significant for the ag community.
- Piggybacking onto that topic, we will have a panel discussion on North Carolina exports which will include representatives for sweet potatoes, pork and tobacco – three of our leading export commodities (Kelly McIver, N.C. SweetPotato Commission; Andy Curliss, N.C. Pork Council; and Robbie Fulford, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company.)
- The Pork Council recently released a series of videos showing consumers of North Carolina pork in Hong Kong and Korea. These illustrate the reach of ag exports and the high regard other countries have for our products.
- Mike Walden and Blake Brown from N.C. State University will also provide presentations on the economic outlook for agriculture. Their insights into what the year ahead might look like from an agricultural perspective are always informative.
- I will wrap up the forum with my annual State of Agriculture speech, where I will talk about some of the issues I see on the horizon, what we are focusing on at the department and my vision for growing agriculture into a $100 billion industry by 2020.
- As the calendar has changed to a New Year, I am reminded how close we are to 2020.
- I encourage listeners to make plans to attend the Southern Farm Show and the Agricultural Development Forum on Feb. 1. It is a free event, and I believe you will take away some good information as you are preparing for this year’s growing season and beyond.
- You can find out more about the forum at the department’s website at www.ncagr.gov.