From the tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
I hope you can see from the photos above that we had a great day and great turnout for Ag Awareness Day at the Legislature. For those of you who traveled to Raleigh in support of this event, “Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!”
With warmer weather, I know there is a lot to do on the farm to get ready for the planting season. So I know that being at the rally meant making a personal sacrifice.
More than 1,000 people came together for the rally and office visits with legislators. It was great to have such good turnout, but equally as important, it was great to let legislators know just how big and important agriculture is to our economy, to our rural communities and to the farm families whose livelihood depends on this industry.
Legislators are used to seeing representatives from my department, the N.C. Farm Bureau, the N.C. Grange and other ag and commodity groups, but hearing from a neighbor back home resonates even more. After all, these are the people our legislators are here in Raleigh representing.
Agriculture definitely has friends among the legislators, and I was thankful we had nearly a dozen legislators join us at the rally along with Gov. Pat McCrory, Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and Speaker of the House Tim Moore, who were all on the program.
Gov. McCrory has been talking about agriculture since early in his administration and he understands that agriculture is not only a strength of this state, but it is also an economic driver with the potential to grow even larger. I was pleased that during the program, the governor recognized agriculture and agribusiness for helping pull up North Carolina’s economy during the last recession. I look forward to working with his administration and some of his public-private initiatives for job growth.
We have a lot to celebrate in North Carolina when it comes to agriculture. This $78 billion industry employs nearly a fifth of the workforce, and it produces food, fiber and fuel. But I believe, it can easily become a $100 billion industry with continued investment in research, marketing and ag exports. I think it was appropriate that the united message we shared with legislators was “Come Grow With Us.” That’s what I intend to see happen with agriculture and agribusiness in the coming years. This event would not have been possible without the leadership and support of the N.C. Farm Bureau. the N.C. Agribusiness Council, N.C. Grange and N.C. State University, plus many of our agricultural commodity groups.
I am so proud of the cooperation of all of these groups and I am proud of the turnout we had. It is not easy to get so many people together and united in focus, especially when it comes to agriculture, but this event proved once again that North Carolina is the best agricultural state.