Small farms keep agriculture moving forward

By: By James Hartsfield - Contributing columnist

Agriculture is the leading industry in Sampson County. Many county residents think of large-scale contract hog or poultry farms or large row crop farms when farming is mentioned. But, The National Agricultural Statistics Service’s 2012 Census of Agriculture shows that small-scale farms make up 88 percent of all farms nationwide and 87 percent in North Carolina. Many of these farms consist of small-scale agriculture including fruit and vegetable production, small-scale livestock production including goats, pastured poultry, pastured pork, and forestry production.

There are approximately 43,000 small-scale farmers statewide, and in honor of their accomplishments, pioneering work, and technological advancements, the state of North Carolina recognizes the week of March 19 through March 25 as North Carolina Small Farms Week. The Cooperative Extension Program at N.C. A&T observes a milestone anniversary this year, with the 30th Annual Small Farms Week (SFW) celebration, scheduled for March 19-25.

The highlight of the week is the Annual Small Farmers Recognition Luncheon, which is held March 22 on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. Also, the 2017 North Carolina Small Farmer of the Year is announced. Other activities in Greensboro include: breakout sessions, farm tours, workshops on land retention, vegetable production, pastured poultry, season-extension practices and more.

The kickoff for the week will take place in Sampson County, home of the “2016 Small Farmers of the Year”, Donnie and Alease Williams. The NC Cooperative Extension — Sampson County Center, along with NC A&T State University’s Cooperative Extension Program, have been working jointly to plan the day. This event will take place at the Sampson County Exposition Center, 414 Warsaw Road, Clinton.

Activities include a panel discussion, a complimentary lunch, then a farm tour of three farms in Sampson County.

RSVP is required to attend the events on Monday 20, in Sampson County. To register call the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Center at 910-592-7161 by March 13.

By James Hartsfield

Contributing columnist

James Hartsfield is an area extension agent specializing in farm management who serves Sampson and Duplin counties.

James Hartsfield is an area extension agent specializing in farm management who serves Sampson and Duplin counties.