Small Farms Keep Agriculture Moving Forward

— Written By and last updated by Patricia Burch

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. Based on the National Agricultural Statistics Service’s 2012 Census of Agriculture, small-scale farms make up 88% of all farms nationwide and 87% 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 24 through March 30 as North Carolina Small Farms Week. The Cooperative Extension Program at N.C. A&T observes a milestone anniversary this year, with the 33rd Annual Small Farms Week (SFW) celebration, scheduled for March 24–30, 2019.

The highlight of the week is the Annual Small Farmers Recognition Luncheon, which is held Wednesday, March 27 on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. Also, the 2019 North Carolina Small Farmer of the Year is announced. Other activities in Greensboro include breakout sessions, industrial hemp, emergency preparation planning, seasonal extension with high tunnels, Farmers’ Market, farm tours, and more.

The kickoff for the week will take place in Duplin County, home of the “2018 Small Farmers of the Year,” Ronald and Laurita Simmons of Master Blend Family Farm. The N.C. Cooperative Extension, Duplin 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 on Monday, March 25 at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Duplin County Center, 165 Agriculture Drive, Kenansville, NC 28349. Activities include a panel discussion, a complimentary lunch, then a farm tour of three farms in Duplin County.

The events on Monday, March 25 in Duplin County will begin with registration at 9 a.m. and the program will begin at 9:30 a.m. RSV is required, so if you plan to attend, please call James Hartsfield, Area Farm Management Agent at 910-592-7161 or Walter Adams, Ag. and Natural Resource Technician at 910-296-2143 by March 13.