Small farms make a major contribution to the state’s $84 billion agriculture industry, but that is not all. They support public health by providing fresh, local food, and they help protect the environment through their careful stewardship of natural resources.
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 32nd annual Small Farms Week March 25 through March 31 by the Cooperative Extension Program at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
The kickoff will be in Robeson County on March 26 at the home of the “2017 Small Farmers of the Year Lucius Epps, Epps Produce Farm. The theme for this year is “Small Farms, Big Impact”. The NC Cooperative Extension—Robeson 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 Southeastern NC Agricultural Events Center, 1027 Hwy 74 East, Lumberton.
One of the major highlights of the week is the March 28 Small Farm Luncheon where the 2018 Small Farmer of the Year will be announced on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. Additional activities in Greensboro includes panel discussion, breakout sessions, farm tours, and workshops on value added, local foods, tax, insurance, pest management.
Southeastern North Carolina has a rich history in producing North Carolina Small Farmers of the Year. Since 2008, there have been seven Small Farmers of the Year from Southeastern North Carolina including one from Sampson County – Donnie and Alease (2016) of D & A Farm in Autryville.
For more information on Small Farms Week registration visit www.ncat.edu/caes/sfw/or James Hartsfield, Extension Area Farm Management Agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Sampson County Center, at 910-592-7161, by E-mail at [email protected], or visit our website at http://sampson.ces.ncsu.edu/.
James Hartsfield is an area extension agent with North Carolina Cooperative Extension specializing in farm management serving Sampson and Duplin counties.