NC Commissioner Troxler: Pandemic a Temporary Setback to $100 Billion Ag Milestone

Latest economic impact numbers from agriculture point to continued strength in the state as agriculture and agribusiness account for one-sixth of the state’s income and employment. Numbers also provide insight into the effects of the pandemic as totals fail to top the $100 billion mark.

  • While Dr. Mike Walden’s latest agriculture and agribusiness economic impact numbers were not what we hoped for, they were certainly not unexpected.
  • The figures are factored on 2020’s agriculture numbers, which reflected the impact of the pandemic.
     
  • I’ll rip the Band-aid off and tell you we did not top $100 billion in economic impact, but agriculture and agribusiness continued to account for one-sixth of the state’s income and employment. And agriculture and agribusiness remain North Carolina’s No. 1 industry.
  • Dr. Walden’s figures pointed to over $92.9 billion in economic impact. That is down around $3 billion from the previous year.
  • Agriculture and agribusinesses continued to work and work hard throughout the pandemic, but there were challenges along the way, and those challenges were reflected in the overall impact numbers.
  • To be a farmer, you’ve got to be pretty optimistic going into every season. Throughout the season, you work to manage the risks – not enough rain, too much rain, late frosts, plant pests, crop nutrient needs and many others.
  • When I planted a crop, I thought it was going to turn out good. I had hoped this would be the year we saw the economic impact top $100 billion, but it is not.
  • Regardless, I am undeterred in my belief that we will reach the $100 billion mark shortly.
  • Employment numbers in agriculture and agribusiness remained steady at 668,000 of the state’s 4.3 million employees and agriculture’s percentage of the state’s income remained about the same.
  • I am confident we are going to hit this milestone and that will be a good day, but it’s important to remember that it is just a number. In fact, these numbers reflect years that are already completed.
  • It’s the farms and farmers, it’s the long days of hard work and determination behind those numbers that are what really matter.
  • And it is the food and fiber that our farmers produce that is most important.

I am proud of the diversity of North Carolina agriculture and I am proud of the resiliency of our farmers. Our agriculture industry makes us a better state.