More than 98 percent of North Carolina farms are individual family-owned or family partnerships. Our farm families have helped make our communities great places to live and work for generations.
N.C. livestock farmers know that using fewer resources to grow our food is the right thing to do. In 1950, one farmer produced enough food to feed 30 people. Today, one farmer now produces enough food to feed 155 people due primarily to the introduction of responsible technology.
Responsible farming means access to safe, wholesome food. Food production must double on the same amount of land by 2050 to meet the basic needs of a rapidly growing global population. This will not happen without increased use of responsible technological advancements in farming.
Lean cuts of meat, low-fat dairy products and eggs are good options for consumers seeking to make nutritious choices for a well-balanced diet. Regular exercise is also important to maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle.
North Carolina has about 52,000 farms—both large and small. The average size of a North Carolina farm is 169 acres. Large or small, North Carolina’s livestock farmers are committed to producing the safe food we all want.
Almost half the land in the United States cannot be used to grow crops. That land can be used for livestock animals to graze, which provides consumers with meat, milk and cheese. Both animals and plants are needed to produce enough food and manage our natural resources.
Farming contributed nearly $10 billion in cash receipts to the state’s economy in 2010, and 66 percent came from livestock, poultry and dairy farming. Farmers pay taxes that help fund libraries, schools, and educational activities important to North Carolina’s cities, towns and communities.
North Carolina is a leading state in animal agriculture. The state ranks second in the nation in both hog and turkey production.
About 648,000 people in North Carolina and nearly 21 million people in the U.S. are employed in agriculture and agribusiness. N.C. livestock farmers care about our communities and our state.
North Carolina has approximately 2,800 hog farms that, in 2013, raised 17 million hogs with a value of $2.5 billion. Pork is the most widely eaten meat protein in the world.
North Carolina farmers are proud to produce safe, locally-grown food. Poultry farmers in North Carolina produce more than 10 percent of the nation’s eggs, chicken and turkey, making North Carolina the second largest poultry-producing state in the U.S.
North Carolina farmers are proud of their contribution to our communities. North Carolina’s $3.6 billion poultry farming sector made up nearly 38 percent of the state’s total farming income in 2010, making North Carolina the second highest-earning state in the U.S.
North Carolina has about 19,000 beef cattle farms that raise nearly 367,000 beef cattle. Cattle can be found in all 100 counties in North Carolina. The areas where there are more cattle tend to be more suitable for growing grass rather than crops.
North Carolina’s farmers provide jobs, state and local taxes, and support for our churches, community and other local organizations – benefiting rural communities and the overall health of North Carolina’s economy. Beef farming contributed approximately $255 million to North Carolina’s economy in 2010.
North Carolina has nearly 500 dairy farmers and approximately 45,000 dairy cows. Dairy farming contributes approximately $165 million to the state’s economy.
North Carolina livestock farmers are committed to ensuring excellent animal care. Modern barns enable farmers to provide individualized care for their animals; including assuring animals have continuous supplies of fresh feed and water and a clean, comfortable living environment.
Today’s barns were developed based on findings from the latest scientific and veterinary research and are designed to promote high-quality care and protect animals from predators, disease and extreme weather. Modern barns are also structured to minimize stress and maximize the quality of care both farmers and veterinarians can provide.
Farmers work closely with licensed veterinarians to develop health programs that keep animals healthy and prevent disease. These herd health programs are customized for each farm and include plans for barn ventilation, parasite control, nutritional formulation and how and when to administer medicines.
When animals get sick, farmers work with veterinarians to ensure the correct medicine is used at the right time. As in human medicine, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that animal medicines meet specific standards before they're approved. Healthy animals mean safe food, so ensuring high-quality care at all times is a top priority for our farmers.