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July 10, 2008

Agribusiness in North Carolina

Farming has long been important to North Carolina, but so too is the processing and delivery of those farm products. Economists refer to this entire chain as agribusiness. Just how big is agribusiness in North Carolina today? Listen

Dr. Mike Walden, North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, responds:

"Again, to emphasize, what we're talking about here is certainly farming, but then what you do with those farm products, you process them, then you take them to a wholesale level, then you take them to the retail level. We're including all of that, and we're looking at it for the food products, natural fiber products and forestry products in North Carolina. So that's what we're talking about. And I actually generate these numbers every year, and they're very impressive. The most recent numbers we have show that industry - agribusiness in North Carolina - generated $71 billion (that's with a 'b')of economic output. That accounts for just shy of 20 percent of our total state economy. And those numbers - that percentage - has held rather steady over the last few years. In terms of jobs, agribusiness accounts for 644,000 jobs in North Carolina. That's 16 percent of all workers, so this is a gigantic industry when you look at what happens on the farm and take that all the way, really, to the supermarket counter. This is a big industry that's very, very important to our state."

Posted by Dave at July 10, 2008 08:00 AM