Farm-City Week ended Tuesday with the annual Farm-City Banquet, held at Richmond Community College’s Cole Auditorium in Hamlet. North Carolina Agricultural Commissioner Steve Troxler was the keynote speaker.
Troxler said, “I get a lot of requests to speak at Farm-City Week events and I’m always grateful that communities are taking the time to recognize the connection between the farm and the fork, and how each of us, whether we farm or not, has a part in our state’s agricultural success.
“That is probably even truer today, especially as we are seeing so much growth and interest in buying locally grown fruits, vegetables, meats and other food products,” he said.
Troxler made the point that, “Agriculture and agribusiness in this state is a nearly $70 billion industry. It is our leading industry and employs nearly a fifth of our workforce.”
Agriculture in North Carolina brings in three times as much revenue as the state’s number two industry, the military, according to GIS Specialist Jamie Lambeth, who attended the event.
“Troxler also shared how our state has experienced the disappearance of almost one million acres of farmland since the beginning of the century,” said Lambeth, “and how farmers will have to continue to produce more goods with fewer resources.”
According to Lambeth, approximately 150 people attended the event. RCC President Dale McInnis spoke about RCC’s new poultry science program, which provides students who wish to major in Poultry Science with a path to transfer from RCC to North Carolina State University as a junior.
While the audience shared a meal catered by Jordan’s Bar-B-Q, entertainment was provided by The Thickety Creek Bluegrass Band.
Lambeth then recognized the sponsors, including Gold Leaf Farms, FirstHealth Richmond Memorial Hospital, Pee Dee Electric Cooperative, Richmond County Farm Bureau, Southeast Farm Equipment, Carolina Farm Credit and Perdue Farms. Lambeth also thanked the Farm-City Week Planning Committee for their efforts.
Doug Carter, FFA advisor at Richmond Senior High School was in attendance, along with one of this students Cassy Kottwitz. Kottwitz spoke about the importance of agriculture to her and expressed her appreciation for their new state-of-the-art greenhouse at the high school.
A new item was added to the agenda this year; a baked goods auction was held to raise money for the Richmond Senior High’s FFA club, or Future Farmers of America. Iron Horse Auction Company donated its services to conduct the auction. Some of the baked goods sold for as much as $350.
“Tom McInnis led the auction which generated over $2,100 for the FFA club,” said Lambeth. “McInnis reminded the audience of the importance of supporting these students and that these students are the future leaders of our county and our state. Iron Horse Auction and McInnis did a wonderful job and the auction was a huge success.”
Richmond County Farm Service Agency Director Amy Yaklin, who was also on the Farm-City Week Planning Committee, said she felt the whole week was a success.
“All of our Farm City Week events this year turned out even better than expected,” said Yaklin. “The parade was a huge success and I didn’t hear one negative comment about it. The luncheon was also great. Everyone enjoyed the fellowship at this event. We enjoyed way too much great food, which is a tribute to our cooks and to our farmers who in essence provide all of our food.
“I loved the banquet. The band, Thickety Creek was really good and the meal was too. The whole week was really great. A lot of work by a lot of people go in to making the Farm City Week Events come together. I am not only thankful for all my personal blessings this year but I am also thankful to work with all these great folks who help pull this event off. It takes a lot, but it is certainly worth it. To me, this is just a small way to say thanks and to honor those who work so hard to keep us fed,” Yaklin said.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 43, or by email at email@example.com.