Agriculture and agribusiness — food, fiber and forestry — continue to grow in North Carolina, according to a new study from N.C. State University.
Dr. Mike Walden, William Neal Reynolds professor and N.C. Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, says that agriculture and agribusiness accounted for almost one-fifth of the state’s income and employees in 2011.
During that year (the latest for which figures are available), more than 17 percent, or $77 billion, of the $440 billion gross state product was contributed by food, fiber and forestry industries.
These industries accounted for 642,000 of the state’s 3.8 million employees.
Researchers and Cooperative Extension faculty with the university’s Plants for Human Health Institute (PHHI), based at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis, are doing their part to bolster long-term sustainability and growth for the state’s agriculture industry. Currently, PHHI is working to breed better crop varieties suited for North Carolina (like broccoli and strawberries), discover health-promoting plant compounds and their functions, enhance postharvest practices, and promote N.C. agriculture across the state, country and even the world.
More economic information is available in Walden’s new fact sheet:
Agriculture and Agribusiness – North Carolina’s Number One Industry (PDF)