N.C. agricultural headlines from news outlets across the state and country, as well as excerpts from the stories.

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North State Journal: North Carolina agriculture had a big year in 2023 
RALEIGH — North Carolina agriculture had a big year in 2023, including a big economic impact gain as well as budget investments in farmland preservation and key production and manufacturing areas.
North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler kicked off this year with good news for the state during the 2023 North Carolina Agriculture Forum held in February.
Troxler told attendees he remained optimistic about the future of N.C. Agriculture and agribusiness; however, with rising inflation and increased costs, he worried about “people being able to afford it.

North State Journal: Industry leaders launch new initiative to support North Carolina agriculture
RALEIGH — A new strategic initiative has been announced to support and bolster North Carolina’s $103 billion agriculture industry called NC Ag Leads.
The group includes a partnership between the Golden LEAF Foundation, the NC Chamber Foundation, the NC Farm Bureau and Google.
The NC Ag Leads initiative aims to enable stakeholders to identify, educate, and strategize for the impacts of external factors on the future of North Carolina’s agriculture industry. This includes positioning the state’s capital markets, educational systems, farmer community, and the processing and marketing aspects of the industry in order to leverage future opportunities.

North State Journal: What’s in the state budget: Over $363M for agriculture, natural resource priorities
The chamber of the N.C. House of Representatives is shown during a recess at the General Assembly in Raleigh. A.P. Dillon/North State Journal
RALEIGH — With the passage of the state budget last month, state agriculture and natural resource priorities will see investments of more than $363 million. 
The net appropriation set aside in the budget for Agriculture and Natural Resources is $180,926,866 for FY 2023-23 and $182,244,062 for FY 2024-25. 
“Overall, I am pleased with the 2023-2024 State Budget and I am grateful for the legislature’s continued investment in and support of agriculture, agribusinesses and our farmers,” State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said in an email statement to North State Journal. 

Southern Farm Network: NC Commissioner Troxler: Agriculture at the NC State Fair
The N.C. State Fair’s roots remain firmly in agriculture and its mission continues to focus on helping people connect the dots between agriculture and the food they enjoy, and the fiber and fuel we use. Be sure to look for the agricultural exhibits and activities at the Fair, Oct. 12-22.

WRAL: NC on pace to lose more farmland development than any state by 2040, study says
The study, produced by the American Farmland Trust, said North Carolina could lose roughly 20% of its 8 million acres of farmland to development across the state.
If one thing is certain for the future, it’s changing. In North Carolina, residents see that change all around us: New communities, new roads, and in many instances, a new way of life.
While North Carolina's growth is good, it can potentially be detrimental to the farmers of the state.

The Carolina Journal: The $103.2 billion in NC ag is about more than dollars. It’s about people.
North Carolina hit a major milestone when N.C. Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler announced that our state’s agriculture industry hit over $100 billion in economic activity for the first time, $103.2 billion, to be exact. While this is worth celebrating, the conversation should recognize that every dollar represents an impact on an everyday North Carolinian. Figuring out how we sustain and advance this growth is about continuing to nurture a sector of our economy that allows them to flourish. 

Farm Progress: Farmland loss a pressing concern for North Carolina ag commissioner
Of all the issues North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler deals with every day, none may be more pressing than the rapid loss of farmland to development.
“The alarming thing is American Farmland Trust says North Carolina ranks number two in the nation behind Texas in the probability of the loss of farmland between now and 2040, and it ranges from about 1.4 million acres to 1.6 million acres.  We are sitting on about 8 million acres (of farmland in North Carolina), so it’s a pretty big percentage of loss if it all happens. The one thing I know is we can’t continue to grow this industry if we don’t have the natural resources available to do it. Unfortunately, or fortunately, farmland is very attractive for development. Most of the time it’s been cleared, it’s the best land.  We’ve got a real problem, it’s no question,” Troxler said in an interview with Southeast Farm Press.

The Center Square: North Carolina ag commissioner: State could lose 1M acres of farmland by 2040 
North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler has repeatedly warned that the state could lose more than 1 million acres of farmland to development by 2040.
It’s a top concern for the state’s largest industry, with the agriculture department working to resist the trend through its Ag Development and Farm Preservation Trust Fund.
To date, the fund has helped preserve more than 30,000 acres, and a new program at the Department of Agriculture aims to honor those "that have taken the ultimate step in protecting precious working lands that are vital to the future of agriculture in North Carolina."

WRAL: NC agribusiness reaches record $103 billion
North Carolina's agriculture and agribusiness has reached a new record. Friday morning Commissioner Steve Troxler announced the economic impact reached $103 billion -- nearly double the amount from when he took office in 2005.


Farm Progress: Population growth No. 1 issue for N.C. ag sustainability
North Carolina ranks third in the nation in terms of population growth.
Speaking at the North Carolina Commodities Conference on Jan. 12 at the Sheraton Imperial Hotel in Durham, Troxler noted North Carolina ranks third in the nation in terms of population growth.
“What do we do with this population?” Troxler asked. “Number one, we got to feed them. We can do that, no problem. But if you look at the infrastructure in North Carolina, I think we’re probably pretty far behind to take that kind of population.”

RFD-TV: New North Carolina $107 Million, 5-Acre Ag Science Center Finest In Nation
The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services just opened a new $107 million, five-acre complex that will house all the state's research facilities. It's called the finest of its kind in the nation. 
We were at the ribbon-cutting just 17 months after interviewing Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler on the same spot when it was still just concrete and girders.   
It will take several months for all the state departments to complete the move to the new facility, bringing the final price tag to about $120 million.
It's impressive, as you'll see in this report that also aired on our broadcast partner The RFD-TV Network.


NC State CALS: Podcast The North Carolina State Fair: Fall’s Favorite Tradition
There’s just nothing finer. Approaching from a distance, towering Ferris wheels, flashing carnival lights and the iconic outline of Dorton Arena make a friendly, thrilling silhouette in the sky. Walking through the gates, it’s a welcome assault on the senses: Italian sausages sizzling and dough frying; a cacophony of gleeful shrieks, music and announcements; bright lights, whirling rides and every walk of life. Yes, it’s time once again for the North Carolina State Fair.  ...

Our State Magazine: NC Icons: The Tractor Factor 
When farmers hoist themselves up into the seat of a tractor, they nurture a connection between a piece of land and a way of life. Nobody knows this better than North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler, who has a deep appreciation for the machine that changed the landscape of our state.

WGHP: NC agriculture commissioner predicts tough year for state farmers
I’m convinced Steve Troxler will always be, deep down in his heart, a farmer.
He was certainly that more than 35 years ago when I, as a young reporter in my first months working at WGHP, met him several times at his farm in the Browns Summit community in northeastern Guilford County.
Back then, Troxler was among the region’s major tobacco growers. Many considered him a local authority on the crop.

North State Journal: Despite challenging times, NC agriculture remains a national leader
RALEIGH — As North Carolina navigates the aftermath of a global pandemic along with recent spikes in fertilizer, gas and chemical prices, farmers across the state continue to embody the resilience that has nurtured our deep agricultural roots for centuries. Our farming industries currently bring in $95.9 billion annually with projections by the N.C. Department of Agriculture likely to reach $100 billion in the next few years, making agribusiness the top business in the state. Commissioner Steve Troxler credits the grit and innovative spirits of North Carolina’s hardworking farmers and the private and public investment in agricultural research and infrastructure that should position N.C. well in the years ahead. 
In a recent interview with NSJ, Troxler framed some of the challenges and innovations on the horizon for our state in its role as a national leader in agriculture production.

Spectrum News: $50M in aid available to Western N.C. farmers who lost crops, livestock to Tropical Storm Fred
Farmers in 11 western North Carolina counties can now apply for assistance to recoup damage to crops and livestock caused by Tropical Storm Fred in August, state agriculture officials announced Thursday in a news release.
The General Assembly in November approved $124 million to help with recovery from the storm, which brought tornadoes and heavy rain to western N.C., causing deadly flooding in Haywood County. Included in that allocation was $50 million for the Agricultural Crop Loss Program.


the Assembly: The Governor of Rural North Carolina 
The gregarious, popular agriculture commissioner, Steve Troxler, won re-election in a landslide. But as the communities he champions shift around him, is he changing with them?


Farm Progress: Education top priority of next Troxler term
Of all the candidates on the Nov. 3 General Election ballot in North Carolina, none received more votes than Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
Troxler, a Republican, was elected to his fifth term as North Carolina agriculture commissioner with 2,901,849 votes. That’s more than Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, who received 2,834,790 votes; more than President Donald Trump who received 2,758,773 votes and more than Republican Sen. Thom Tillis who received 2,665,598 votes.
“If I knew exactly how I did it, I’d be a dangerous man,” Troxler said with a laugh when he was asked by Southeast Farm Press how he managed to be to top vote getter on a ballot that included other key positions, including president, governor and U.S. senator. Troxler added that he was also the top vote getter in the 2016 general election in North Carolina.

Spectrum Local News: Steve Troxler Wants To Take North Carolina Agriculture Into The Future
BROWNS SUMMIT, N.C. – Steve Troxler has seen a lot of changes in North Carolina agriculture over the past 16 years.
He's been the N.C. Agriculture Commissioner all that time, but has been a farmer for much longer. He says the technology advances and diversification of crops have helped the industry.
He and his wife bought their Browns Summit farm in 1975, where he grows organic tobacco and has entered the agritourism industry, renting out the land for weddings.
“It’s just been a very rewarding life to be able to to farm and then become the Commissioner of Agriculture,” Troxler says. 

First round of relief checks going to North Carolina farmers
Commissioner Steve Troxler says in a news release that more than $15.2 million in payments were mailed.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina's agriculture commissioner says the first round of relief checks are going to farmers affected by tropical weather.
Commissioner Steve Troxler says in a news release that more than $15.2 million in payments were mailed Thursday, and a second batch will go out Friday.
Nearly 7,000 applications for assistance were submitted to the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The applications are being processed randomly, and completed applications are being processed first.

Gaston Gazette: Mountain Island forest to be Gaston County 'treasure'
A state forest in Gaston County is still years away from fully opening to the public, but a big step forward in the project was taken this week.
N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler joined local officials near Stanley to break ground on the first facility at Mountain Island Educational State Forest.
“This is a true success story of public and private partnerships,” Troxler said.  

Asheville Citizen-Times: NC agriculture chief makes $300M-plus request on Florence aid
RALEIGH - North Carolina's agriculture agency asked state legislators Monday for over $300 million to address cleanup and recovery after Hurricane Florence, with most going toward direct payments to farmers who lost crops and livestock to help them stay in business.
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler made the impassioned pitch to a General Assembly committee a week before the legislature reconvenes to take its second step in addressing last month's massive rains and historic flooding.
"This is an unprecedented crisis for North Carolina agriculture. Florence was an unprecedented storm that could not have come at a worse time for agriculture," Troxler told the agriculture oversight panel

The Sampson Independent: Ag head: ‘Impactful’ losses
Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue saw firsthand the devastation brought to Duplin County, one of North Carolina’s hardest hit areas by Hurricane Florence during a farm tour Monday morning.
Joined by Congressman David Rouzer and North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, Perdue toured Dail Farms, a poultry farm in Duplin County where 12 chicken houses flooded during the storm.
Perdue, Rouzer and Troxler were scheduled to take a helicopter tour of the damage, but weather conditions and low visibility forced the aircraft to stay grounded, and the trio took a ground tour with county officials. ...