For 30 years, N.C. A & T State University has celebrated Small Farms Week. This year’s theme is “Our Pride, Our Future: North Carolina Small Farmers.”
Small farms, are indeed, our pride. About 87 percent of the farms in North Carolina are categorized as small farms. On the blog this week, we’ll be looking at a few small farms and some of the services the department provides to small farmers.
One of the first stops for many new farmers is the Small and Minority Farm Program at the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. This program provides services to small, limited-resource and minority farmers who are traditionally under served. These services are provided through outreach and education to assist this audience in making informed decisions and to connect them with other services within state government and beyond.
Valee Taylor of Taylor Fish Farm in Cedar Grove utilized marketing assistance from NCDA&CS as well as expert advice from N.C. State University and the Cooperative Extension Service to transition from a tobacco farm to an aquaculture production.
Taylor said marketing assistance from the department has helped open doors for him that he likely would not have been able to access on his own. “The thing I like about the N.C. Department of Agriculture is that their people will come out and visit you, and talk to you to see what you have going on or see what you want to do, to see how they may be able to help you,” he said. “If you work with NCDA&CS you can take your business to places you would never think you could.”
This morning, N.C. A&T University kicked off Small Farms Week at the Vance County Regional Farmers Market. On Wednesday, a ceremony will name this year’s NC A&T Small Farmer of the Year. Check out this video about last year’s honoree, Louis and Magnolia Williams of LouMag Farm: