North Carolina Celebrates the Contributions of Small-Scale Farmers With Small Farms Week, March 24-30

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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, and a replenishment of the farming population.

There are approximately 37,000 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 24th through 30th as North Carolina Small Farms Week. The theme for this year’s North Carolina Small Farms Week is: “New Paths to Profits”

Now in its 38th year, Small Farms Week celebrates and educates North Carolina’s small-scale growers with programs, skill-building workshops, and the chance to connect with each other and North Carolina A&T Cooperative Extension.

“Change is a constant in our world and we must be able to adapt to survive and prosper,” said Mark Blevins, Ed.D., Assistant Extension Administrator for agriculture and natural resources. “Small Farms Week provides knowledge and tools that can help these farmers have successful growing seasons in this ever-changing environment.”

To highlight Small Farms Week for Robeson County, farmers will have the opportunity to learn about the basics of cover crops, planting methods, seeding rate, methods of termination, and overall benefits of crops by attending the Cover Crop and Soil Health Demonstration Day at Cherry Research Farm in Goldsboro. The field day will be held on Thursday, March 28, from 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. There will be an additional stop at the high tunnels to visit the garlic crops. Transportation will be provided to this event. Limited spaces available. Registration deadline is March 25,

Other events will be held on the campus of North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro. The highlight of the week is the Annual Small Farmers Recognition Luncheon, which will be held on March 27. At the luncheon, the 2024 North Carolina Small Farmer of the Year will be named. Other activities in Greensboro include breakout sessions and educational forums at the NC A&T University Farm Pavilion.

Southeastern North Carolina has a rich history in producing North Carolina Small Farmers of the Year. There have been eight Small Farmers of the Year from Southeastern North Carolina. Past winners from Robeson County include:  the late Burnice Blanks (2001) of the Moss Neck Community, Ellery and Amy Locklear (2003) of Locklear Farms in Pembroke, Lucius and Vera Epps (2017) of Epps Farms in Maxton, and Millard and Connie Locklear of New Ground Farm in Pembroke (2022)

For more information, please contact Nelson Brownlee, Extension Area Small Farms Agent, at  910-671-3276, by email at, or visit our website.