North Carolina’s AgAdvantage

Date posted: February 9, 2011

North Carolina's AgAdvantage

North Carolina agriculture and agribusiness generate nearly $70 billion in value-added income annually and account for 648,000 jobs across the state (source: PDF).  Agricultural programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University are an investment in North Carolina’s agricultural economy.

Agricultural research is conducted by the N.C. Agricultural Research Service at N.C. State University, while N.C. Cooperative Extension, with centers serving all 100 counties and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, makes that research available to the agricultural community and others. Together, agricultural research and extension programs spark economic activity and create jobs, making North Carolina agriculture and the state’s rural communities more prosperous.

For more on the return on investment in agricultural research, see the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology’s “Investing in a Better Future through Public Agricultural Research” report.

What they’re saying about agricultural programs

  • Norman Perry, farmer and agribusiness owner, Colerain, N.C.: The money that goes to North Carolina Cooperative Extension and the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service “is some of the best bang-for-the-buck money that you can achieve. It keeps us going most efficiently. And, bottom line, it helps us profit. And when farmers profit, the money rolls in the community — it turns over and over. It’s a lot of grease in the capitalistic system that we live in.”
  • John Griffin, Griffin Farming Partnership, Lewiston, N.C.: “We need (Extension) as much or more than anyone else, and we need them as much now as we ever have. A lot of things pop up in agriculture. You never know what’s next. And in some circumstances, time is critical. You could lose your crop if you aren’t able to get reliable answers.”
  • Michael Gray, Elizabeth City, N.C.: “Without the Extension service, there would be a lot of trial and error. When we have a problem, they always come up with the right answer as far as what we need to do.”
  • Joey Baker, Bertie County, N.C.:  “There’s not a lot of margin for error (in farming today). In this environment, there’s nothing like having a firm answer that you can depend on. I stay in contact with my North Carolina Cooperative Extension agents, and they can usually answer my questions right off the top of their head.”
  • Paul and Kristi Marshall, Riverbirch Vineyards, Reidsville, N.C.: “Extension has been with us since day one on everything we’ve done. The support we’ve gotten from N.C. State University — there’s no dollar amount you can put on that.”
  • Bryan Cash, Cash Farms, Lilesville, N.C.: “Everything that you see out there today, I wanted it, and I did it, but without my Extension agent Richard Melton, (the farm) wouldn’t be where it is today. Everything I learned, I learned from Richard.”
  • Tim Haithcock, Indian Springs Pecans, Goldsboro, N.C.: “I would simply not have a young commercial orchard without tremendous input and knowhow from N.C. State University, especially (horticultural science specialist) Dr. Mike Parker and the county Extension agents.”
  • Bo Stone, P&S Farms, Rowland, N.C.: “”Farming is the backbone of our economy … and farming has changed more in the last 15 years than it did in the 55 years prior to that. That is why it’s so important to have the College of Ag and Life Sciences to help shape the future of agriculture. The College (and its) research and education programs are very important so that farmers like me can feed folks like you each and every day.”
  • John Hoffman, Hoffman Nursery, Rougemont, N.C.:  “We certainly enjoy working with N.C. State. They are able to help us out on certainly weed control; with … biological controls, where we get to use less chemicals at the nursery; and … to come up with new plants that seed less and will be less of a problem in the landscapes of today.”
  • Sam Daniels, Wanchese Fish Co., Suffolk, Va., and Wanchese and Hatteras, N.C.: “N.C. State has put us on the map globally. It’s pretty much changed our company, to get away from the fresh fish business our father started in the 1930s to become an international, value-added company.”
  • Jenny Fulton, Miss Jenny’s Pickles, Kernersville, N.C.: “The knowledge we walked away with from … N.C. State — we use what we learned every day. Without them, none of this is possible.”

Return on Investment

North Carolina’s investment in research and extension programs:

  • Generates a return of $1.45 in economic activity for every $1 invested, which means greater rural income, lower food costs and a safer, more abundant food supply.
  • Generates an additional $116 million annually from grants, contracts, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and county governments, including $50 million from grants and contracts that creates 400 jobs.
  • Discovers and promotes new and emerging business and income opportunities in agriculture, including organic foods, new aquacultural species such as prawns and freshwater flounder, biobased products such as biofuels and value-added farm products such as farmstead cheese and agritourism.
  • Translates research breakthroughs into new technology, which results in new companies that generate economic benefits and jobs.
  • Develops and helps citizens, schools, businesses and communities adopt research-based best management practices that reduce nutrients, pesticides and sediment that can be transported to streams, rivers and lakes; improve worker safety and reduce costs.
  • Creates the next generation of leaders by working with more than 219,000 4-H youth through STEM-focused educational programs that increase critical thinking skills, decision making, self-esteem, high school graduation rates, citizenship and entrepreneurial business creation.
  • Improves human health and well-being by creating new technologies and life practices that reduce health risks and costs associated with obesity and diabetes, enhancing food safety practices and procedures for growers and food industries, helping families understand and implement sound financial management that reduces debt, and increasing energy conservation and recycling.
  • Prepares the next generation workforce with hands-on experience in emerging technologies.

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