From the Tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
As the weather turns cooler and a few rain clouds finally open up, I am reminded that we have much to be thankful for as the holiday season approaches, despite a challenging and persistent drought.
Personally, I am grateful we had a very successful State Fair and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, thanks in part to great weather.
Just as importantly, I am happy we also had a safe Fair with no serious accidents.
The N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services works with the Department of Labor to ensure all rides met the standards of Labor Commissioner Cherie Berry and her inspectors.
And in keeping with this year’s theme, a great team of law enforcement officers made the Fair a place where families could enjoy some Seriously Twisted Fun.
I am also grateful to all the North Carolinians who came out and made this the largest N.C. State Fair ever.
From the moment we got things officially started with the opening ceremony in Heritage Circle, I had a good feeling this Fair would be one for the record books.
From giant turkey legs to giant pumpkins, we always do things in a big way at the Fair, and this year was no exception. We had a record-setting number of 858,611 people walk through our gates over the 10-day period, turning the fairgrounds into a small city that was full of life.
I hope everyone who came ate some deep-fried food, watched a traditional folk dance, saw the new state-record large pumpkin and enjoyed at least one of our great Dorton Arena shows. But most importantly, I hope everyone who visited the Fair took with them the importance of agriculture to our state and the people who live in it.
The State Fair, along with the Mountain State Fair, is an important showcase for the crops and livestock vital to North Carolina’s economy. It is up to us to uphold the agricultural traditions of North Carolina and educate future generations.
We all have a connection to agriculture whether we farm or not, because agriculture puts food on everyone’s table.
Events such as the Junior Livestock Sale of Champions provide up-and-coming producers with money for their education and give them an opportunity to showcase the hard work that went into raising their animals.
There’s nothing more rewarding for me than youngsters leading their prize animal around the ring, and I know their parents enjoyed it, too.
This auction raised an incredible record of $105,000 this year. It’s exciting to see businesses such as Harris Teeter, Martin Meats, Martin Pork and Neese’s Country Sausage generously support the future farmers of our state. Speaking of N.C. products, I hope you and your family will keep our “Got to Be NC” motto in mind as the holidays approach.
As you begin to decorate your house and plan special holiday menus, make a trip to your local farmers market for delicious home-grown foods and make a stop at a N.C. “Choose and Cut” Christmas tree farm. You can even pick up some great N.C. crafts and gifts to put under that tree.
There’s nothing better than spending time with loved ones around a table full of locally grown food and products. From my family to yours, I wish you a safe and blessed holiday season.