FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2011
||Andrea Ashby, assistant director
NCDA&CS Public Affairs
Today is National Ag Day, but don't forget about ag
the other 364 days a year, Troxler says
RALEIGH -- March 15 is National Ag Day, but Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler wants North Carolinians to think about agriculture more than just once a year.
“Every day should be ag day,” Troxler said. “Agriculture provides the food we eat, the clothes we wear and many other things we use in our daily lives.
“We all need to understand how food, fiber and renewable-resource products are produced,” he said. “We should value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy, and appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.”
Agriculture and agribusiness make up North Carolina’s leading industry, generating $74 billion for the economy and accounting for nearly 700,000 jobs. North Carolina is the nation’s leading producer of sweet potatoes and tobacco, and ranks among the leaders in Christmas trees, hogs, trout, turkeys, cucumbers and strawberries.
North Carolina’s population now numbers 9.5 million people, an 18 percent increase over the past decade. This population growth has coincided with a decline in the number of farms in the state. North Carolina currently has about 52,000 farms, down from 59,000 in 1997, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
A few generations ago, most North Carolinians were directly involved in agriculture, or knew family or friends who worked in it, Troxler said. Today, that isn’t the case, as more North Carolinians live in urban areas and do not have a direct connection to farming.
“With our state’s population continuing to grow and change, we cannot lose sight of the fact that agriculture remains an integral part of our economy,” Troxler said. “North Carolina has a lot of high-tech industries, but agriculture remains our economic foundation.”