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July 26, 2007

One traditional industry that's doing well

North Carolina's economy is changing fast. Industries that had been mainstays years ago seem to have disappeared amid the rise of technology and a global economy. But there's one traditional industry that has continued to thrive, says N.C. State University economist Mike Walden.

"There is one industry ... that has thrived. It has really remade itself. I think this industry will surprise many when I say it is actually agriculture," says Dr. Walden, a North Carolina Cooperative Extension specialist.

"Agricultural output –- that is, the amount of agricultural products that our state produces -- is now four times larger than it was 30 years ago. Employment in agriculture is actually higher than it was 20 years ago," he explains. "Statistics show that the lower trade barriers that have hurt so many others of our traditional industries have actually helped this industry.

"Now one of the reasons for the success of agriculture is, as I said, ... it has really reinvented itself. We went from a crop-based (primarily tobacco) agricultural economy to, today, an animal-based economy, based on things like hogs and chickens.

"The big question, I think, for the future for agriculture in North Carolina," he continues, "is whether it will have to reinvent itself again."

Posted by deeshore at July 26, 2007 08:23 AM