Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The importance of agriculture

At different times over the years, we have highlighted some of North Carolina's agricultural successes. But it is easy to think that we are in a state of flux (literally); to look around, especially in the Triangle (where I live), one would think that North Carolina is primarily an urban state and that farms are disappearing.

Well, Congressman Larry Kissell* writes in the Richmond County Daily Journal that we must remember our agricultural roots. They do, after all, run very deep. And economically speaking, farming is still essential.

"What farmers provide to our nation is invaluable," writes Kissell. "They put food on our tables, clothes on our backs, provide world-class goods and raw materials for export, represent a significant part of the economy in every state in the Union, and soon may be a key component in lessening America’s dependence on foreign oil. No nation can truly be free and secure unless it can provide for its own food, clothing, fuel and economic stability. So it is no exaggeration when I say that farmers are vital to America’s maintaining its role as a world power.

"Yet, all too often, family farmers are taken for granted. As we enjoy the many benefits of a productive agricultural sector, we should never forget the hard work, and the risk, and the investment, and the skill required to bring these products to market. According to a 2007 study by the USDA, 98 percent of all farms are family farms. The agriculture and farming industry of our State is key to our economic recovery and viability. North Carolina remains in the top three states for the production of tobacco, sweet potatoes, Christmas trees, hogs, turkeys and cucumbers [emphasis mine].

Wow, I had no idea just invaluable agriculture is to the state -- particularly in cucumbers and (still) tobacco. As Kissell writes, farming "has been the backbone of America’s economy since Colonial times; and we must never lose sight of the fact that farms and farmers are an absolutely essential part of our nation’s economy, ecology, and security."

*The Dare Society does not endorse any political candidate.

(Image from AmericanFeast.com)

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