Most Roads in Sampson Lead to Agriculture
What can you find on most every road in Sampson? If you said “agriculture,” you are correct! We all know Sampson County is a big place. The county is 60 miles long, and 35 miles wide. 604,599 acres to be exact, and according to the 2012 USDA Census of Agriculture, 48% of the county is farmed. The average farm size is documented to be 273 acres, and that is just the average!
The size of Sampson County farms has grown by 2% according to the Census, while the number of farming operations has reduced to 1067, an 11% decrease. Of our county’s farmland, 61.5% is in crops, 6.8% in pasture, and 25.7% in woodland.
With so much agriculture to surround us, it is also significant to note that Sampson County is the most diverse agricultural county in North Carolina. According to the latest North Carolina Department of Agriculture statistics (2017), Sampson ranks #1 in the state’s production of sweet potatoes, tobacco, turkey, fruit and vegetable production, #2 in pork and hay, #4 in soybeans, #5 in cattle, broilers, and wheat, and #7 in corn. Sampson leads the state in total cash receipts of agricultural products, with a total of $1.12 billion.
Why is Sampson County such a great place to farm? Did you know that Farm Futures Magazine once ranked Sampson the “Best place to farm in the US”? It could be that we have better than a seven-month growing season, due to our mild temperatures, and an average rainfall of 49 inches/year (this past year has certainly been an exception!). Add this up with better than 290,000 acres in farmland, 13 different soil types, the right topography, and you have almost all the components to success. Top that with our dedicated, innovative, hard-working farmers, along with a host of industry support businesses and employees across this great county, and you’ve got the answer. Did you know that 53% of our county’s employment is linked to agriculture?
So the next time you take a drive through the second largest county in the state (Robeson county is largest with 607,208 acres), take pride in knowing that the land connecting these Sampson County roads provides food and fiber to our great state, our nation, and our world. If we add our size, diversity of commodities, and economic impact through farming, that makes us the greatest “agricultural” county in North Carolina.
Also, be sure to join us for the annual “Rally for Agriculture” on Tuesday, March 12, 2019, hosted by the Sampson County Friends of Agriculture. This year, Andy Curliss of the NC Pork Council will be addressing the audience about “Farmers Under Fire”. Please plan to attend, and pick up your ticket(s) at the N.C. Cooperative Extension, Sampson County Center (highway 421, a mile south of Clinton) or at Clinton Truck and Tractor (highway 701 business). Questions? Call the office at 910-592-7161.