From the tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
This year’s Ag Development Forum in early February was well attended and we had some good discussions and presentations, including a farmer panel focused on preparing for the future.
Farmers Kevin Matthews, Beth Foster and Billy Carter were part of the panel and talked about challenges they are seeing in agriculture, but also about the opportunities that exist.
One of the things that impressed me about each one of these farmers was their focus on creating opportunities for their children, should farming be what they decide they want to do.
“I want my children to do what makes them happy, but I want the farm for them to come back to, also,” Foster said.
Carter’s sentiments were similar. “My focus in on providing for them financially, but also giving them opportunity,” he said.
Although neither of my sons chose farming as their careers, I also value my farm for the possibilities the land can provide. And I know what a wonderful place a farm is to raise a family.
You would be hard-pressed to find too many people as passionate about their farms as Century Farm Families. The Century Farm Family program started in 1975, and today we have just over 1,800 Century Farms in the state. Amazingly, we even have some families that could qualify as two-century farms, which is an incredible testament to their commitment to their family land. We continually add families to our list as their farms qualify.
Every four years we gather in Raleigh to celebrate the accomplishments of these families at a special event in Dorton Arena at the N.C. State Fair. It is one of my most favorite events, because of what these families and farms represent to their communities, to our economy and to the development of our state.
This year we will be holding the Century Farm Family Reunion on Tuesday, Oct. 18. In the next few months, we will be sending out information to families in the program and you will see stories in the Ag Review highlighting some of our Century Farms.
Over the years, we have lost contact information for some families and we would love to update information for our files so we can have more current contacts. You can call our Public Affairs office at 919-707-3001 if you know you have had a change of ownership in the farm or a change of address in the past four years.
If you received information from us in 2012 and you know you have not had any changes, you should be receiving information soon on this year’s celebration. Or, if you know your family has continually owned the farm for 100 years or more and have not filled out an application for the program, I would encourage you to do so. You can find a link to the application at www.ncagr.gov/paffairs/century.
I look forward to seeing many of you at this year’s event, and I hope we have a record turnout.