Commissioner Troxler delivered his annual State of Agriculture address at the Ag Forum held at the State Fairgrounds on Thursday, Feb. 2. The comments outlines Commissioner Troxler’s priorities for this legislative session with one word – Investment. The three areas of investment would be people resources (our staff), natural resources (farmland and forest land) and ag research.
Today’s Topic with Southern Farm Network’s Mike Davis
Summary of Comments:
- There were a number of bright spots, too, particularly with the recent release of the crop summary report in mid-January.
That report indicated a record yield for cotton at 1,043 pounds per acre.
- In addition, growers tied the yield record of 2019 for peanuts at 4,400 pounds per acre.
- Soybean production ended strong at 65 million bushels down just 1 percent from 2021’s record soybean year. And bean prices were strong around $15 plus.
- Tobacco prices were up a little, which helped farmers. Overall flue-cured tobacco production was up 2 percent from 2021 numbers at 249 million pounds, based on increased yields per acre.
- And this year for the first time, corn grower Russell Hedrick of Catawba County topped the 400 bushels per acre mark for corn.
- Overall, corn production was down 27 percent in 22 at 98.9 million bushels. But some farmers reported decent/good corn prices.
- I am grateful farmers saw stronger prices for commodities especially given the steep increases in some input costs.
- The economic impact of agriculture and agribusiness in North Carolina is $92.9 billion. It is an industry that accounts for one-sixth of the state’s income and employment.
- So, it remains a powerful economic driver of our economy and our rural communities.
- The United Nations predicts farmers globally will need to produce between 75 and 100 percent more food by 2050 to meet world demand. That is a very big task and one that many people are working on right now.
- The challenge to produce more also presents opportunities for North Carolina farmers and agribusiness owners. And, one thing I know about our farmers is that they rise to meet challenges, just as they have done this year.
- For that reason, we anticipate agriculture and agribusiness to soon top the $100 billion mark.
- As a department, we continue to rally support for Farmland Preservation efforts so we can secure the natural resources we need for future generations.
- But, we have to do more and now is the time. I plan to ask the General Assembly for $15 million in recurring funding for Farmland Preservation.
- I hope they will be receptive to our request. We don’t want to find ourselves in a place where we are struggling to catch up.
- If we can afford to invest money to attract new companies, then we can afford to invest money to retain our agricultural production capacity.
- I am grateful our legislature continues to support Farmland Preservation efforts, but we need to up our game and we are planning to make a significant request.
- In 2022, the department topped 30,000 acres protected through our Ag Development and Farm Preservation Trust Fund since its beginning, which is a great milestone.
- But you see by the projects mentioned above, there remains a real urgency to farmland preservation.
- We cannot afford to wait on this issue. It is quickly reaching a critical point.
- We MUST continue efforts to ensure our best and most fertile farmland is not paved over. Maintaining access to the natural resources we need to produce food and fiber remains essential for today and for the future.
Commissioner Troxlers full comments are available at sfntoday.com