Today’s Topic: New agriculture and agribusiness numbers released; industry continues to grow

by | Jun 30, 2020

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Mike Davis to discuss “Today’s Topic.”

Last week N.C. State University economist Mike Walden released updated agriculture and agribusiness numbers, and the industry has seen growth, moving up nearly a billion dollars to $92.7 billion in economic impact.

Today’s Topic

Summary of talking points:
New agriculture and agribusiness numbers were recently released by N.C. State Economist Mike Walden, and they point to nearly $1 billion in economic growth from last year. The new economic impact number is $92.7 billion, up from $91.8 billion last year.
This represents a sixth of the state’s income and employment.
Those numbers are good enough for agriculture to hold on to the status of the state’s top industry, followed by the military and tourism.
The numbers are based on the state’s agriculture and agribusiness sector in 2018.
Another point of interest in the numbers is that the industry employs 17.5 percent of the state’s workforce; or 772,000 of the 4.4 million employees. That number was up as well, jumping from 728,000

Walden broke down the industry into segments with:

o agriculture and food industries accounting for $77.9 billion;
o natural fiber industries accounting for $5 billion;
o and forestry industries accounting for $9.8 billion.

The agriculture and food industries number held steady from last year, but even with the same amount, it represented 14.5 percent of N.C. income.

The natural fiber industries was up by $200 million. Last year it was $4.8 billion.

Based on Walden’s numbers, the forestry industries saw the biggest jump, increasing by $600 million from $9.2 billion to $9.8 billion.
I am confident this industry will soon be a $100 billion economic engine in the state, especially as we work to boost food manufacturing in the state and as we work to expand meat processing capabilities in the state.

I was pleased with this year’s growth because it occurred even in the face of difficult times in the agriculture community.

Over the past 15 years, I have watched this industry grow and it makes me proud to see the continued investment in agriculture and agribusinesses. When I first took office, the economic impact was $68.3 billion.

We are continuing to work very hard to grow this industry and help our farmers.

Work is continuing to increase food manufacturing in the state, research continues to develop new varieties and new production methods, and we are working to increase meat processing capacity, which will help independent producers who may want to sell their own meat.

We continue to work with grocery stores and restaurants to source local foods, we are helping to facilitate bulk sales of meats, seafood and vegetables and our four state-operated markets are open for business.

Consumers can do their part, too. Look for local products where you shop, support local farms and farmers markets.

North Carolina agriculture and every segment of the food chain continues to work hard to feed consumers. I appreciate what they do!