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NC Commissioner Troxler: Agriculture on Full Display at the N.C. State Fair Oct. 13-23

The State Fair has always focused on agricultural education. In the beginning, this was more a farmer-to-farmer exchange, where good ideas were shared with one another and new production methods and techniques were introduced. Today, we are focused on educating the non-farming public about agricultural production and how all food begins on a farm. There’s plenty of agriculture on display during the State Fair and I hope listeners will check it all out.

  • It’s time for the N.C. State Fair – one of my favorite times of the year.
  • Agricultural education has always been part of the N.C. State Fair, beginning as a way for farmers to learn about new production techniques, best practices and new technology to help them increase yields.
  • Today, over 150 years later, the State Fair still maintains its focus on agricultural education. But, that focus has shifted to educating consumers about agriculture and where their food comes from and what it takes to produce it.
  • Those of us with some background in agriculture, have to remember that our state continues to attract new residents every day that are not familiar with agricultural practices or farming.
  • Likewise, we have many residents who are two or three or more generations removed from the farm.
  • Much of our state remains rural, although we continue to see significant swaths of farm and forest lands be converted to residential and commercial development use around our larger cities.
  • While the pressure on farm and forest land continues to increase, growth also offers opportunity for new consumers of local foods.
  • That’s why having events like the State Fair is so important.
  • Fairs offer people an opportunity to see livestock, horticultural crops, farm equipment, educational exhibits and local food products in one place.
  • I can give you plenty of examples of agriculture at the State Fair to make it easy for anyone to find when they come out Oct. 13-23.
  • Our livestock shows and exhibits put animal agriculture front and center for fairgoers, with competitions and displays of beef and dairy cattle, hogs, sheep, poultry, and meat and dairy goats every day.
  • Animal agriculture accounts for around 60 percent of total farm cash receipts in North Carolina. Shows and displays take place in the Jim Graham Building, the Agri Supply Expo Center and the Poultry tent. 
  • You will find the N.C. Forest Service exhibits and educational programs located by the pond, up near the new Gate 7 entrance. Visitors can learn more about the state’s $34.9 billion forest products industry and how the Forest Service supports and protects it.
  • Last year in this area, we added the Bob Stanfield Natural Resources Center, which houses Forestry and Soil and Water Conservation exhibits.
  • Visitors will find the N.C. Soil and Water Conservation Association, N.C. Soil and Water Conservation Districts and the N.C. Soil and Water Conservation Division’s exhibits on North Carolina soil types and water conservation efforts and programs.
  • We have a lot of soil types in North Carolina, which makes this a very interesting exhibit.
  • You will find the Got to Be NC Pavilion in Dorton Arena, which will highlight a number of food manufacturers in the state who will offer their products for sale. Programmed cooking demonstrations will also show how to use local products in delicious meals and snacks.
  • We have talked about this next one recently – the Farm Family of the Day presented by Tractor Supply Co. Eleven farm families will be recognized and celebrated during the State Fair through public address announcements and banners.
  • I am proud of this program. I believe we need to celebrate our farmers EVERY day!
  • In the North Lobby of Dorton Arena, you will find a display of decorated Christmas trees.
  • In the South Lobby you will find North Carolina beer, wine, ciders and craft sodas being sampled.
  • In Heritage Circle you can visit the Tobacco Barn to see how tobacco was traditionally flue-cured.
  • At the Tobacco Pavilion, you will find hands of tobacco on display.
  • In the Agri Supply Expo Center, you’ll find bees and honey exhibit and our horticultural displays including the giant pumpkins and watermelons. It is one of the most photographed areas of the Fair! 
  • At the Hunt Horse Complex, horse shows are held throughout the fair.
  • In the Flower Show area, you can check out a brightly colored display of mums, of which North Carolina is a significant producer.
  • The Field of Dreams exhibit shows a variety of crops growing to encourage youngsters to learn where food comes from.
  • And you will find displays of antique farm equipment and new farm equipment.
  • And don’t forget the food! Every food item fairgoers enjoy at the fair has a direct connection to a farmer.
  • This is not a complete list by any means, but don’t let anyone tell you that you cannot find any agriculture at the N.C. State Fair, because you certainly can.
  • Listeners still have time to purchase their advanced tickets to save money and time from having to wait in line to buy tickets. The fair runs Oct. 13-23.