North Carolina farmer and agribusiness owner Norman Perry is not a fan of what he calls big government.

But when it comes to public funding for North Carolina agricultural research and Extension, he’s sold.

The money that goes to North Carolina Cooperative Extension and the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service “is some of the best bang-for-the-buck money that you can achieve,” he said.

“It keeps us going most efficiently. And, bottom line, it helps us profit. And when farmers profit, the money rolls in the community — it turns over and over,” he added. “It’s a lot of grease in the capitalistic system that we live in.”

Today, Perry farms about 2,300 of row crops with his cousin. They grow cotton, peanuts, corn, soybeans and wheat, and they have a timber operation and a fertilizer company with a peanut-buying station.

A 1972 North Carolina State University graduate in agricultural economics, Perry started farming in 1975 after a brief career in banking. He’d worked on farms as a child — mainly pulling tobacco — but, he said, “I didn’t know much at that time.”