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Agriculture commissioner warns of disappearing farmland

John W. Poole

The state agriculture commissioner is warning that North Carolina could lose a fifth of its farmland by 2040.

At the annual Agricultural Development Forum in Raleigh last week, Commissioner Steve Troxler said the state needs to do more to preserve farmland from development.

He said that while his department has worked to permanently protect 34,000 acres for future use, that number pales in comparison to the 1.2 million acres that could be lost over the next decade and a half.

Agriculture is a $103 billion industry in North Carolina, with tobacco, sweet potatoes, hogs and turkeys as staples.

With the state ranking 3rd in terms of where people are moving, Troxler said urban sprawl, outdated infrastructure and access to resources are the biggest challenges facing North Carolina farmers.

Ryan is an Arkansas native and podcast junkie. He was first introduced to public radio during an internship with his hometown NPR station, KUAF. Ryan is a graduate of Tufts University in Somerville, Mass., where he studied political science and led the Tufts Daily, the nation’s smallest independent daily college newspaper. In his spare time, Ryan likes to embroider, attend musicals, and spend time with his fiancée.