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NC Ag Leads Proceeds to Phase Two of Strategic Planning Initiative

In June, the NC Chamber Foundation, in partnership with the Golden LEAF Foundation and supported by North Carolina Farm Bureau and Google, completed phase one of the NC Ag Leads strategic planning process.

The NC Ag Leads team traveled the state to facilitate 23 focus groups, reaching 68 counties and over 340 members of North Carolina’s agriculture industry.

In March, we hosted Imagine Ag Day with national thought leaders within the agriculture industry who provided perspective outside the core of North Carolina agriculture. In April, we conducted an industry-wide wargame to pressure test some of the themes uncovered during phase one.

We are excited to share today that NC Ag Leads has received Steering Committee approval to move forward to phase two of the strategic planning initiative.

During phase two, six working groups will tackle the opportunities and threats identified in phase one. The working groups, collectively titled HARVEST, are:

H – Harmonize land and resource use in a growing state.
Focus on addressing land and resource use pressure within the state of North Carolina. Farmland competition and water storage and diversion fit here, along with a coordinated and renewed discussion regarding continued strategic management of our animal agriculture footprint.

A – Align technology supply and demand.
Focus on achieving alignment between the burgeoning agri- and animal-tech industries within North Carolina and the state’s diverse and adaptive farming community.

R – Reinforce farmer support systems.
Focus on equipping farmers and agribusinesses with tools sufficient to guard against disruption, inclusive of shocks and challenges that may arise on legal and policy fronts.

V – Value a business mindset across the industry, particularly on the farm.
Focus on ensuring the entire sector embraces an “ag as a business” mindset that enhances our growers’ business planning, transition planning, and credit management expertise.

E – Empower and equip the agriculture workforce.
Focus on pursuing alignment among agricultural education efforts so that we have the best trained and most plentiful labor supply our system can produce. Pursue a “Talent Pipeline Management” strategy that results in aligning talent demand with supply.

S – Streamline market access efforts.
Focus on removing barriers to key markets, increasing market access (in some instances, establishing greater aggregation), capturing as much of the food dollar as possible on the farm (value added efforts), and exploring vulnerabilities that could cause mass economic casualties if disruption were to happen quickly (e.g., addressing one buyer issues and vertical ag dependence).

T – Teamwork and leadership are the key to moving from key issues to key outcomes.
Engagement and support from North Carolina’s agriculture community has been instrumental in the success of NC Ag Leads’ progress so far. We look forward to keeping you updated and engaged throughout phase two of the project, which will officially begin on August 1.