What You Need to Know About the Connect NC Bond

— Written By Christy Strickland and last updated by Jessie Jones
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Agriculture and agribusiness helped build North Carolina, and it is still our state’s largest economic segment – a nearly $80 billion industry. It not only drives 17 percent of the state’s income but it also employs 16 percent of our workforce. Needless to say, agriculture is vital to North Carolina today and will continue to be in the future.

On March 15, North Carolinians have the chance to vote on the Connect NC Bond – a bond referendum that will invest in our state’s most critical infrastructure needs. More than 15 years have passed since voters approved a bond investing in our state’s public infrastructure needs, and we have grown by nearly 2 million residents since then. The Connect NC Bond will not require a tax increase, takes advantage of low interest rates, and has broad-based support from leaders in both parties from across the state.

To learn more about the Connect NC Bond, join North Carolina Cooperative Extension – Robeson County Center, N.C. State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Robeson Community College, UNC-Pembroke, and other community stakeholders for an informational session and grassroots educational outreach training. The meeting will be held January 20 at 12 noon at the O. P. Owens Agriculture Center, 455 Caton Road, Lumberton. A sponsored meal will be provided, so please RSVP by calling 910-671-3276. For accommodations for persons with disabilities, call 910-671-3276 no later than January 18.

In Robeson County, Connect NC will provide more than $32,400,000 benefiting agriculture, UNC- Pembroke, Robeson Community College, and local Lumber River State Parks. The Connect NC Bond will make an historic investment in N.C. agriculture. Funding from the Connect NC Bond will support our agricultural future by investing in the N.C. State University Plant Sciences Initiative and a new laboratory facility for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS). The science and innovation that will come from these investments can improve crop yields across all our commodities. Connect NC benefits our farmers and helps the communities.

In addition to the infrastructural needs this bond will provide, $980 million will be spent on improving the UNC system. This will allow our colleges to provide many opportunities for research and development and improve facilities at North Carolina’s 58 community colleges.

For parks across the state, $75 million will help build and update visitor centers, hiking trails, and campgrounds. It will also invest in the N.C. Zoo’s long-awaited expansion plans. The bond referendum will also provide $70 million for three regional training centers to ensure our National Guard men and women have the resources they need to help keep us safe.

Knowledge is power and allows individuals to make educated decisions about what they deem to be the best choice for their community. Now you are equipped to cast your vote on March 15, 2016.

For more information, please contact Christy Strickland, County Extension Director with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 671-3276, by E-mail at Christy_Strickland@ncsu.edu, or visit connect.nc.gov. North Carolina State University and North Carolina A&T State University commit themselves to positive action to secure equal opportunity regardless of race, color, creed, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. In addition, the two Universities welcome all persons without regard to sexual orientation.