Here's How We Put Our Countryside To Work For Everyone

North Carolina can grow a wide range of crops nearly year-round, thanks to our warm coastal plain and cooler mountains. And we’re a day’s drive from major markets in the northeastern corridor. With these advantages, we can double or triple how much North Carolina’s farms earn from agriculture. But we need to invest in our countryside to get there.

Sarah’s three-part plan to attract new investment will strengthen our agricultural sector by growing three key areas.

What We Grow

North Carolina is ideal for high-value crops like berries, carrots, celery, sweet corn, tree nuts, pumpkins, and orchard fruit. These crops can bring 10-100x more revenue than North Carolina’s current standbys like corn, soy, and tobacco.

California and Florida are the traditional powerhouses for fruit and vegetables. But they can’t keep up with demand due to limited space and water. This opens a multi-billion-dollar opportunity for rural North Carolina. Hemp and cannabis are also key opportunities that North Carolina must stop passing over. Higher revenues will bring more income and jobs to North Carolina, and stop farms from closing and being lost to real estate development.

Don't just take our word for it—read the case studies.

By updating the way we do agriculture to include more produce, we have an amazing opportunity to grow our economy by as much as seven billion dollars over the next decade.

Who Makes A Living In Agriculture

We need on-ramps for new people to become farmers. We need fair funding for Black and other marginalized farmers, who are on the leading edge of farm loss in North Carolina.

And, farmers aren’t all! Strong farm economies need more than just farms. We need facilities to turn high-value crops into the foods people use like nut butters, sauces, noodles, frozen vegetables, and more. Both farms and food plants need skilled workers- and skilled workers need a living wage, or they’ll leave and take their skills elsewhere. By investing in rural infrastructure and workforces, North Carolina can keep farm revenues in our communities and multiply their impact by up to 10x.

How We Do Business

As we invest in rural North Carolina, we should make sure investments provide on-ramps to ownership. This keeps revenue in the state and anchors rural communities. We already have models: Mt. Olive Pickle Company has run a profit-sharing plan for its employees since 1943. This has allowed residents of Mt. Olive to build their own wealth, rather than just export it somewhere else. Profit-sharing, ESOPs, cooperatives, and other on-ramps to ownership are tax-advantaged; proven to increase profitability; and are a common-sense tool to strengthen rural economies.

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Sarah Taber for NC

PO Box 53946

Fayetteville, NC 28305

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