The State of North Carolina Agriculture (Part I)
An interview with NC State Extension Director Rich Bonanno
In North Carolina, agriculture and agribusiness is a $92.7 billion industry that employs 17% of the state’s workforce. While agriculture has always been a major economic engine for the state, it’s seen a surge in growth — more than $20 billion — during the past decade.
Still, the growth and success of N.C. agriculture has been a journey over the course of generations, and the road continues to present its fair share of forks and bumps. North Carolina is home to roughly 47,000 farms, each of which faces common obstacles to feeding our families (and theirs) while staying afloat, from Mother Nature and crop pests to market prices and mental health.
North Carolina boasts the third most diverse agriculture economy in the U.S., with more than 80 commercial crops and a large animal agriculture presence.
Among the state’s greatest strengths is the broad support for the agriculture sector, and its “commitment to wanting to have a public university that focuses on making the public stronger,” according to Dr. Rich Bonanno, director of NC State Extension and associate dean in NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
Bonanno, also a lifelong farmer, shares his experiences and insights about the state of the agriculture industry in our latest On the Farm segment. Watch to learn more about the growth and diversity of North Carolina agriculture, the challenges farmers face as they work to feed a growing population, and the impact of agriculture on our economy.