Agriculture commissioner reflects on 2020
North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler praised North Carolina agriculture and agribusiness in his annual State of Agriculture address for their continued prosperity despite challenges faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am proud of the work that we’ve done to grow agriculture markets, preserve our farm land, protect our food supply and help position the next generation for success,” Troxler said in his address on Wednesday. “I’ve never been more proud of our industry or our farmers. You all are commended for stepping up to the challenges and finding workable answers.”
Troxler has served as the commissioner of agriculture for five terms and has been in office since 2005. In addition to his position as commissioner, Troxler is a board member with the N.C. Foundation for Soil and Water Conservation, Rural Economic Development Center and the N.C. Biotechnology Center. He is also a member of the N.C. Tobacco Research Commission and the Southern United States Trade Association.
“I’m proud to say that agriculture and agribusiness continue to rep the state’s number one industry at 92.7 billion dollars,” Troxler said. “I believe we’re on the cusp of becoming a 100 billion dollar industry in terms of economic impact.”
North Carolina’s agriculture industry is responsible for approximately a fifth of the workforce in the state. Because the number of agricultural workers is so high, safety precautions are at the forefront of the Department of Agriculture’s mind.
“We’re continuing to work on vaccines time tables and when they are rolled out we are in regular communication with state health officials advocate acting for priority status for ag workers. We continue to advocate for the need to protect these essential first line workers,” Troxler said. “We all know that vaccine supplies are limited but I’m hopeful that we’ll see production increase in the near future and I can assure you that all of our partners will continue working on this issue.”
These partners include North Carolina Farm Bureau, North Carolina State University and other state departments. Until vaccines are more widely available, Troxler urges agriculture workers to continue following safety protocols set by the state to ensure the demand for agriculture and agribusiness continues to be met.