The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services streamed an address by Commissioner Steve Troxler on February 24th, 2021. Tr0xler emphasized the contributions of agriculture to the state’s economy, specifically the approximately 92.7 billion dollars of North Carolina’s gross state product that comes from agriculture. His annual State of Agriculture address also emphasized the importance of global markets, agriculture’s role in climate change and the strength of the forestry industry in NC. He also made it clear that North Carolinians should get vaccinated and there would be a state fair this year.
Blake Brown, Hugh C Kiger Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, presented “US Agriculture Situation and Outlook.” His presentation included a discussion of international trade, specifically US agricultural trade with China. China continues to be a promising market for pork although the Chinese seem to be making advancements in controlling African Swine Fever. Brown also predicts an increase in tobacco purchases from China.
Other topics included the uncertainty around new labor or immigration policies, the importance of being engaged in new climate change policies, the increase in local food sales during the pandemic and the potential for strong commodity markets in 2021.