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CALS Weekly

Another Record: NC Agriculture’s Economic Impact Rises to $111 Billion

cornfield in front of grain bin

With an economic impact of $111.1 billion, it was another record-breaking year for North Carolina agriculture and agribusiness, according to calculations from NC State University economist Mike Walden

Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced the new total — up from $103.2 billion last year — to kick off the Got to Be NC Festival on May 17.

“It’s exciting to see numbers like these because it shows the strength and resiliency of agriculture and agribusiness in this state,” Troxler said. 

Troxler said that the economic impact figure reflects North Carolina’s ranking as the top U.S. producer of sweetpotatoes, tobacco, poultry and eggs; second in Christmas trees, turkeys and trout; third in hogs and cucumbers; and fifth in cotton. 

“This growth is also a result of our continued investment in agricultural research, our continued efforts to expand and attract new food manufacturing and to create more value-added opportunities, and the continued support of our legislators,” Troxler said.

Last year’s economic impact report showed that North Carolina agriculture and agribusiness reached triple digits for the first time since Walden began releasing an annual economic snapshot in the 1980s. 

The new total reflects value-added income from the state’s food, natural fiber and forestry industries. Walden used the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s latest available statistics, which are from 2022, along with multipliers to arrive at the economic impact figure. 

Walden said that value-added income in the report includes sales at the farm level. For manufacturing, wholesale and retail calculations, the value-added total doesn’t include the value of inputs produced outside North Carolina. The process avoids multiple counts of a product used several times in the production chain. 

Walden’s report is titled Agriculture and Agribusiness, North Carolina’s Number One Industry.