Agriculture and agribusiness – food, fiber and forestry — account for one-sixth of North Carolina’s income and employees, according to the latest study from NC State University economist Mike Walden.
In calculating value-added incomes for 2013 (the latest year for which figures are available), Walden found that food, fiber and forestry industries contributed $76 billion of the $471 billion gross state product. That’s more than 17 percent.
These industries also accounted for 663,200 of the state’s 4 million employees, according to Dr. Walden, a William Neal Reynolds professor and North Carolina Cooperative Extension economist in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. That’s up 23,200 from the previous year.
Overall value-added income from the state’s agricultural and agribusiness sector was down slightly from 2012, when it contributed $78 billion in value-added income. Walden says that the difference is due to declines in agribusiness processing, which accounted for $28 billion in 2013, compared to $33.5 billion in 2012.
Forestry and farming, wholesaling and retailing of food, fiber and forestry each rose in value, with $16.9 billion coming from forestry and farming; $10.1 billion from wholesaling and $20.7 billion from retailing.