North Carolina Celebrates the Contributions of Small-Scale Farmers With Small Farms Week, March 22-28

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Small farms play a vital role in supporting the competitiveness and sustainability of United States rural and farm economies, and in protecting and enhancing its natural resource base and the environment. These numerous and diverse small-scale operations provide a nursery for the development of new enterprises and marketing systems, as well as a replenishment of the farming population.

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 22–28, 2020, as North Carolina Small Farms Week. The theme for the 34th  Annual North Carolina Small Farms Week is “Inspiring Farmers, Sustainable Farms.”

“Small farmers are essential to North Carolina’s agricultural sector. In fact, they comprise about 80 percent of all farms in a $91.8 billion-dollar industry,”  said Rosalind Dale, Ed.D., Extension Administrator at North Carolina A&T State University and Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Dale also stated, “Small Farms Week recognizes their efforts to provide fresh, local food and also offers a lot of information that farmers can use to increase profit margins while acting as stewards of our natural resources.”

There will be two local events to highlight North Carolina Small Farms Week. First, there will be a local food drive to help feed hungry people in Robeson County. Donate canned goods and other non-perishable food by March 20 to be part of a statewide cooperative campaign that feeds the hungry and celebrates small farmers. Donated items should be taken to North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, located at 455 Caton Road, Lumberton. Second, N.C. Cooperative Extension of Robeson County will provide transportation for farmers to attend a “Specialty Crops in Organic Practices” tour on March 18 at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems – Small Farms Unit in Goldsboro. We will leave the office at 10:30 a.m. and return around 5:30 p.m. Transportation will be limited to 12 people, so call 910-671-3276  by March 16 to reserve your seat.

The kickoff for Small Farms Week will be held on March 20 in Murphy, NC, home of the 2019 Small Farmers of the Year, Harold and Nancy Long. The highlight of the week will be the Small Farms Week Appreciation Luncheon, held March 25 on the campus of N.C. A&T State University in Greensboro, which includes recognition of the 2020 Small Farmer of the Year. Campus events also include educational programs, demonstrations of technological innovations, and a student cooking competition.

For more information, or to register, please contact Nelson Brownlee, Extension Area Farm Management Agent, at 910-671-3276, by email at Nelson_Brownlee@ncsu.edu, or visit our website.

NC State University and N.C. A&T State University are collectively committed to positive action to secure equal opportunity and prohibit discrimination and harassment regardless of age, color, disability, family and marital status, gender identity, genetic information, national origin, political beliefs, race, religion, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, and veteran status. NC State University, N.C. A&T State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and local governments cooperating.