From the tractor
by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler
Summer is a great time of year to get out and experience a little bit of agriculture in many different ways and from many different perspectives. You’ll find lots of activity around farmers markets, pick-your-own fields and agritourism farms right now, as crops are being harvested and special events are being held across the state.
Some of the activities that quickly come to my mind are field days, which offer growers an opportunity to see some of the latest research on individual crops; special sampling days highlighting crops that are in season at the farmers markets; and a whole range of kid- and family-friendly activities at agritourism farms.
You can also toss agricultural fairs, festivals and parades into the fun agricultural activities mix. We have listed some of these events before in the Agricultural Review. Be sure to check out the list of ag fair dates on page 8. The season gets into full swing beginning this month, with fairs being held through early November.
To me, agricultural fairs, festivals and parades are what makes our state so unique and full of character. These events allow communities to showcase their pride in their agricultural heritage and traditions.
I encourage you to plan a trip to one of these events and learn more about our state’s No. 1 industry. We have a lot to be proud of with North Carolina’s $84 billion agriculture and agribusiness industry.
As Agriculture Commissioner, I get to travel to many of these events across the state, but I think it is impossible to get to every one of them – there’s just that many happening. I did recently attend the Southeast Old Threshers’ Reunion at the Denton FarmPark, where I got to see an impressive display of engines, tractors and farm equipment.
Some of our most observant readers (and, really I hope that is all of you) may notice that my photo for this column changed.
Tractor enthusiasts may even recognize that the tractor I am pictured on is a rare, 1956 Black Hawk Little Chief. This particular tractor is owned by P.L. Thompson of Albemarle.
What makes this rare is that there were reportedly only 25 of these offset models made for farmers in the Carolinas. Looking online, I read that these were special-order tractors specifically offset to accommodate 40- and 44-inch rows of tobacco and cotton.
It was great to see this model, and to learn more about it.
If you are interested in finding out about events at our state-operated farmers markets or agritourism operations in your area, check out the following links: www.ncagr.gov/markets/facilities/index.htm and www.ncagr.gov/markets/agritourism/index.htm.