North Carolina – Agriculture All Around Us

Agriculture picture for consumers

Goodness Grows in NC

North Carolina is one of the 50 states in the USA. Asheville NC is in the blue NC is green.

North Carolina is one of the 50 states in the USA. Asheville NC is in the blue NC is green.

This emblem tells consumers the product is grown in North Carolina and encourages us to buy products locally grown.  You can find this a local farmer’s markets.

North Carolina grows many agriculture products because we are located in a diverse climate area with many different types of soil.  We have three regions in NC- the Appalachian Mountains, the Piedmont and the Coastal Plains.  The coastal plain is next to the Atlantic Ocean.   We have growing seasons from 130 days in the very northern mountains to 270 days near the coast.

Those 3 regions vary with their topography, soils and climate.  About 2/5 of the state is called Coastal Plain and Tidewater.  Another 2/5 is the Piedmont (which is where we live in the Piedmont plateau).   To the west of that area is the rolling rugged hills and the areas of the Appalachian Mountains which is home to the Blue Ridge and Great Smokey Mountains and this makes up the last 1/5 of the regions. Asheville is a town in the mountain area and is shown in blue.   The highest point is Mount Mitchell at 6,648 feet above sea level.  The lowest is where NC meets the Atlantic Ocean sea level in the Coastal area.  There are large farms of many acres and smaller family farms across the state.  NC has small gardens to larger farms raising food for people to consume and sell.  The average farm size is 163 acres and there were 52,400 farms in 2009.

Did you know that NC ranks….

  •  1st  in the nation for production of flue-cured tobacco and sweet potatoes — there are less farmers growing tobacco these days than in past history when it was a popular product.  Sweet potatoes are growing in popularity so more are being harvested each year.
  •  2nd in production of Christmas trees.   The Fraser Fir is the most popular type grown.  1,300   NC growers produce about 19% of the real Christmas trees in US.  It was named for John Fraser,   a Scot botanist who explored the southern Appalachian Mountains in the late 18th century.  This is another product not for eating but with a great income potential for farmers. It is also second in the nation in production of pigs and hogs with pork as a popular meat dish.  NC is known for it’s barbecue pork and chicken dishes.
  •  3rd in the production of strawberries and cucumbers. We have a large pickle company called the Mt. Olive Pickle Company, Inc., established in 1926, which produces a full line of quality pickles, peppers and relishes.  They sell their products in over 45 states making it the second bestselling brand of pickles in the country.  You can go to farms to pick your own strawberries and buy them at local markets.
  •  4th in product of upland cotton.  Cotton is one of the main crops not totally for eating.  Parts of it is used in salad dressings and oils.  Mostly it’s used for jeans, shirts and other clothing products.   Parts are used to feed animals.
  • 5th in peanut production and broilers (chickens for eating).   Some people are allergic to peanuts.  Many types of peanuts are produced but a large portion of those raised are used as peanuts in the shell.   Restaurants often have a bucket on the table for eating before the meal comes.


Other agriculture products in NC  include the greenhouse/nursery industry and crops of soybeans, corn, wheat, peanuts, blueberries, potatoes, and tomatoes.  We also raise hogs and pigs, turkeys, cattle and calves and chickens (broilers for meat).  It is 2nd in the nation in production of pigs and hogs, trout and turkeys and 5th for broilers.  We raise chickens for eggs.  North Carolina produces a large amounts of sweet potatoes, cucumbers to make pickles, lima beans, turnip greens, collard greens, mustard greens, strawberries, bell peppers, blueberries, Chile peppers, fresh market cucumbers, snap beans, cabbage, eggplant, watermelons, pecans, peaches, squash, apple, and grapes for millions of people in the United States and numerous other countries.  North Carolina has become a major producer of trout and catfish with the popularity of eating healthy and eating fish.   Throughout the state farmer’s markets set up for the various seasons and sell produce.   NC sends other produce to grocery stores and other states and countries.

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Union County produces hay, corn, soybeans and wheat as top crops.  It is also a large producer of broilers, layers (chickens for eggs), turkeys and cattle. There are about 1,000 farms with about half the total acres being farm land.

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Goodness Grows in NC

Credits:  NCAgr.Gov/Ag is Cool

Why is agriculture important to everyone?

Do you know why agriculture is important to you?  Why is it important to others around the world?

Think about your day!  What did you have for breakfast?  Where did it originate?   Is it something grown in your country?

Think about what you are wearing?

What’s for lunch and dinner?

What agricultural products are in your home, school, business?

Each day we all use, eat, or wear something made from an agricultural product.

Many things do not resemble the original product because of the way things are processed.

Do the items you listed come from somewhere else?   If so what country did it come from?

Tell us what you had to eat today.   Did you have to import any of it?

We would also like to know what it would cost in US dollars to feed your family for the day and for a week?   Do you eat fresh foods, pre-packaged meals, lots of snack foods, meats?  What is special about meals at your location?   Tell us about a typical meal.


Agricultural Around the World

What can we learn about agriculture around the world and food production? If we produce so much of the  top commodities like wheat, corn, sugar cane, rice, why do some people go hungry?     Students will begin exploring and investigating these and other questions in our integrated unit of study.

What are the top foods produced in your location?

Do people face a shortage of food and go hungry where you live?

Students in my classes  (K-5th grade) are coming up with many questions as we begin our unit during the season of harvest festivals around the world and study of The First Thanksgiving in America.

If you can help answer our questions we’d love to have a comment from you.  We want to learn about agriculture around the world.