State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler has been traveling in eastern NC:
I recently visited several farms in eastern North Carolina to see what farmers are doing and listen to their concerns. We visited Bertie, Chowan, Gates, Beaufort, Craven and Pitt counties. We covered a lot of miles and a lot of topics in three days, including environmental regulations, water resources, the cost of fertilizer and other inputs, and the Navy’s interest in putting a practice landing field in our northeastern counties.
People in Gates County are fired up over the Navy considering building an outlying landing field there. I can understand why. The field would take a lot of valuable farmland out of production, and the last thing we need in North Carolina is more lost farmland. The Navy has other options, and I believe they should explore those instead.
I saw some encouraging signs for the progress of crops in the East. The latest USDA crop forecast for North Carolina shows production of corn is up 30 percent over last year, and judging from what I saw, I can believe it. Soybeans and cotton also looked really good, and if the weather cooperates, farmers in eastern counties should have a good harvest.
I’d like to thank the farmers and their families who opened their farms to us and showed us some great hospitality during our tour, and to the many others who turned out at breakfasts and lunches to share their concerns and ideas with me.