NC Commissioner Troxler: NCDA Offers Assistance to Small and Limited Resource Farmers
North Carolina A&T State University recently honored small and limited resource farmers during its Small Farms Week activities. It was a good reminder that we are primarily a small farm state. The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services provides guidance and technical assistance to small and limited resource farmers
- I few weeks ago I was honored to attend the Small Farms Week celebration at N.C. A&T State University where we recognized the many contributions of small and limited-resource growers in our state.
- Many people do not realize that we are primarily a small farm state. In North Carolina, we have about 45,000 farms, and about 36,000 of those farms have sales less than $50,000.
- When it comes to acreage, almost half of North Carolina’s farms are smaller than 50 acres, and 67.6 percent of our state’s farms are smaller than 100 acres.
- I believe we need all farms — small, medium and large, and conventional, urban and organic producers — to meet the food, fuel and fiber demands of a growing population.
- To help small farms succeed, the N.C. Department of Agriculture has a small farm program that offers assistance and guidance to small, minority and limited-resource growers.
- Staff assists by providing help with grant applications as well as helping growers locate grant funds. A couple of examples are the Farmland Preservation Grants and USDA Rural Development “value-added producer grants.”
- They are also able to connect growers with marketing opportunities, such as food stamp program for farmers markets, direct marketing of vegetables, free-range meats and processing.
- Our Small Farms program is also a great resource for farmland preservation outreach and education.
- Staff also help farmers develop marketing strategies and infrastructure for limited-resource program crop growers such as grain crops. They can help farmers on futures contracts and grain storage.
- Staff also provides technical assistance to new and beginning farmers, even helping new farmers navigate USDA and Farm Service Agency programs.
- The Small Farms Program is an excellent resource for growers.
- If you are a small, minority or limited-resource grower, I’d encourage you to reach out to learn more about the program and ways we can help.