LUMBERTON — Small farms play a vital role in supporting the competitiveness and sustainability of United States rural and farm economies and in protecting and enhancing its natural resource base and the environment. These numerous and diverse small-scale operations provide a nursery for the development of new enterprises and marketing systems, and a replenishment of the farming population.

There are about 43,000 small-scale farmers statewide, and in honor of their accomplishments, pioneering work and technological advancements, the state of North Carolina recognizes the week of March 21-26 as North Carolina Small Farms Week. The theme for the 36th annual Small Farms Week is Changing Times, Growing Seasons.

“Change is a constant in our world and must be able to adapt to survive and prosper,” said Mark Blevins, assistant Extension administrator for agriculture and natural resources. “Small Farms Week provides knowledge and tools that can help these farmers have successful growing seasons in this ever-changing environment. “

All events sponsored by Cooperative Extension at N.C. A&T will be virtual, and six satellites will offer small, live watch parties for the mid-week Small Farmers’ Appreciation Program. Warren, Martin, Columbus, Madison, Stanly and Alleghany counties will serve as the satellite sites. During the luncheon, the announcement of the 2022 Small Farmer of the Year will be made. Anyone interested in attending events at the satellite locations should contact the participating Extension centers.

The week will begin with a kickoff event Monday in Franklin County, home of 2021 Small Farmer of the Year Mike Jones, owner and operator of MAE Farm in Louisburg. Other activities include concurrent sessions on small-scale animal production, plant production and natural resource management, a virtual tour of the N.C. A&T Research Farm, and educational sessions on marketing and agribusiness for small farmers.

Nelson Brownlee is the Area Extension Farm Management agent for N.C. Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center. He can be reached at 910-671-3276 or [email protected]

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