North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ slogan “Got To Be NC!” is a promotional branding tool allowing consumers to better understand where their food or products are produced.
Some of the best data regarding NC products can be found in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. These data provide insight into the wide range of NC products, from major commodities like soybeans, corn, broilers and hogs to specialty commodities like sunflower seeds, okra, llamas, and emus. The census provides a snapshot of the agricultural industry, providing valuable insight that assists farmers, commodity groups, government agencies, private industry, and policy makers. The results demonstrate how vital the agricultural industry is to NC as well as the nation. Agriculture production in the U.S. totaled $388.5 billion in sales in 2017; the top 10 states accounted for 54 percent of that total with NC ranking eighth at $12.9 billion in sales.
The census also provides statistical demographics, such as:
- 96 percent of NC farms are family farms
- The average age of a NC farmer is 58.1
- 11.5 percent of all NC producers have served in the military
- There are over 46,000 farming operations in NC
- Small operations showed 37,560 farms reporting less than 179 acres per farm
- NC farmers sold $129.7 million of organic products, up since 2012
- 1,810 NC farms reported having renewable energy producing systems
- There are 74,062 total producers in NC, 32.5 percent are female
- 43 percent of all NC producers reported farming as their primary occupation
- 8.4 percent of all NC producers are younger than 35 years old, 35.2 percent of them are female
Agriculture has a major impact on NC’s economy and I believe the census data are important to all who are invested in the farming sector. These data assist producers in making informed decisions regarding their operations. I would like to thank everyone who participated in the 2017 Census of Agriculture. By reporting, you are telling us your story and in doing so you are creating and shaping the future of agriculture, not only for NC but for the entire country.