Agriculture’s ‘Big Tent’
There are so many different farm products being grown, through such a variety of methods, today that it makes a three-ring circus look like a simple endeavor. Similar to that “Big Top,” modern agriculture operates beneath one “Big Tent.”
During our annual convention in December 2008, I spoke to Farm Bureau’s voting delegates and members about how North Carolina agriculture is indeed one Big Tent.
As such, it is imperative we recognize there is room for traditional agriculture, as well as for sustainable and organic farming. Every type of farmer and farm under this Big Tent must learn to coexist and understand each other if we are to keep producing the safest and most abundant food supply on earth.
In the same regard, Farm Bureau is a Big Tent with room for all types of members, and each and every one of Farm Bureau’s more than 500,000 members can rest assured that North Carolina Farm Bureau is working for all farmers and also for all our non-farmer members across the state, most directly by helping farmers stay in business, but also through our member benefits program, which includes quality insurance products.
Agriculture and agribusinesses contribute nearly 20 percent to the state’s gross domestic product annually, making the combined industry North Carolina’s leading economic segment—worth an estimated $70.8 billion.
North Carolina consistently ranks in the top five of the nation’s most agriculturally diversified states because our farming landscape is constantly adapting, growing and evolving in response to technological advances, economic conditions and consumer preferences.
One exciting aspect of the state’s agriculture that has surfaced over the past few years is a renewed focus on delivering local foods to local markets, something that was standard fare before the world became a global market six decades ago.
The movement of buying local has provided marketing opportunities for farmers all over the state and a variety of new opportunities for consumers. This is an exciting time for all the state’s farmers and all types of other people—young and old, rich and poor, native North Carolinians and those who have relocated—who want to support North Carolina farmers by buying locally grown foods.
Farms and farm families are the fabric of North Carolina’s rural communities. Helping to develop more markets for North Carolina’s local food will help stimulate local economies and jobs.
Regardless of the type or size of the operation, Farm Bureau’s mission is to work to improve the lives of all farmers and rural residents. After all, when everyone under the Big Tent of agriculture and Farm Bureau succeeds, everyone profits—farmers, rural residents and our non-farmer members.