With more than 8.3 million acres of farm land across more than 45,000 farm operations in North Carolina, agriculture is our state’s leading economic driver and a cornerstone of our statewide competitiveness. But what do today’s farms actually look like? And who are the farmers behind them? The goal of Farmers Feed NC is to give a snapshot of today’s North Carolina farmer and demonstrate this vital industry’s impact on our state and its people.
Portrait of a Farmer
More than 96% of North Carolina’s farms are owned by individuals and/or families, all with deep ties to North Carolina soil and a reverence for the land’s resources. Below, meet Michelle Pace Davis, a sixth-generation farmer in Johnston County, whose adaptability, innovative approach, and connection to consumers have empowered Pace Family Farms to evolve and diversify.
Read NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ full profile of Michelle here.
Meet more of North Carolina’s farmers below:
Hannah Hayworth | HS Howell Farms LLC
Hannah’s family owns and operates HS Howell Farms LLC, where she grew up and learned all about farming a variety of crops, especially greenhouse tomatoes, from her parents. As a sixth generation farmer, Hannah Hayworth has been around agriculture her entire life, but has truly come to appreciate it as the years go by.
David Duong | Oak Ridge Farms
Although David Duong, owner and operator of Oak Ridge Farms in Zebulon, did not grow up on a farm, he was surrounded by the influence of food his entire life. “My dad is Vietnamese and his family always had a close connection with food,” he said. “Food meant security, and I always had a fascination with it.”
Ronald Simmons | Master Blend Family Farm
One of the best feelings is when people tell you that you can’t do something and you prove them wrong. Ronald Simmons, owner and operator of Master Blend Family Farm in Kenansville, did just that through becoming a successful hog farmer.
Randy Gray | Circle G Farms
Aquaculture is a huge part of our state’s agriculture industry, something that Randy Gray knows all too well. Randy is the owner and operator of Circle G Farms in Pikeville, as well as the president of the N.C. Aquaculture Association.
Economic Impact: Fast Facts about NC Ag
- Agriculture is North Carolina’s #1 economic driver
- Ranked 9th in the U.S. for value of agricultural products sold
- The agriculture industry supports nearly 700,000 jobs in NC
- Nearly 80% of flue-cured tobacco grown in the United States is grown in NC
- North Carolina leads the nation in sweetpotato, egg and poultry production, and ranks in the top three for Christmas trees, pork, trout, and turkeys
- NC grows over 25 percent of the Christmas trees sold in the United States
- NC has 1,827 Centennial farms and 27 bicentennial farms
NC Ag Quiz and Answers!
Thank a Farmer
Most people in our state and country are several generations removed from agrarian life and are disconnected from understanding what farmers do, the industry’s economic impact, and what farming looks like today. Explore the options below to discover opportunities to thank your local farmers.
Legislative Support for our Farmers
First and foremost, we want to thank our elected officials for all they have done and continue to do to protect this vital community for our state. Each year the state legislature tackles various issues which impact agriculture and moves vital policy solutions to protect and defend our farmers, agribusinesses, and our citizens who rely on North Carolina grown Food, Fiber, and Forest commodities daily. We must continue making it a top priority to develop and advocate for policies that allow our state’s farmers and agribusinesses to not only survive, but to thrive in the years and decades ahead. Overregulation of farmers holds North Carolina agriculture back and we thank our agricultural leaders in the state legislature for their unwavering support of this vital community. Our farming communities need a predictable regulatory environment without burdensome and costly regulations. The agriculture community is already tasked with an expansive number of federal requirements including the Clean Water Act, the Food Safety Modernization Act, the Endangered Species Act, among many others, and they need of the support of North Carolina legislators back home to protect their need for fair, predictable, and transparent state laws that take their economic impacts into account. NC’s growth is rooted in agriculture—let’s empower our farmers and agribusinesses to keep sowing the seeds of success across our state. We encourage you to contact your elected officials and thank them for their strong support of agriculture this past legislative session and encourage their continued support of a predictable regulatory environment for agriculture in the future.
Find your Closest Farmer's Market
Use the NC Department of Agriculture’s locator tool to find the Farmer’s Market closest to you.
What's in Season at your Farmer's Market?
View a chart from the NC Department of Agriculture that displays which produce is in season each month of the year.
Visit Local Farms
The Visit NC Farms app allows users to connect to local farms throughout North Carolina for agritourism opportunities, farm events, educational resources, and more. Learn more about app and start exploring the farms near you today!
Ag in the Classroom: Learn about NC Agriculture
Whether you’re a teacher or a parent, you can utilize North Carolina Farm Bureau’s Ag in the Classroom (AITC) resources to promote learning in levels K-12. Full lesson plans, videos, and workshops are available.