“If we were to lose animal agriculture, it would be a tremendous blow to the entire state. For example, Cargill has some fairly old plants that are running to capacity to supply the soybean meal critical to the state’s livestock industry.

“Should we lose this infrastructure it would be long-term and it would severely damage North Carolina’s No. 1 industry,” Hall says.

The livestock industry is dependent on grain farmers for a continuous supply of feed for their animals. Grain growers are similarly dependent on animal agriculture for a viable, sustainable market for their products. Losing either would have a serious impact on the other to survive.

Survival of the agriculture industry in North Carolina is tantamount to survival of the state. Agriculture is a $71 billion dollar industry in the Tar Heel State, by far the largest and bigger than tourism and military the second and third largest capital producing industries.

“We feel like the NCAAC will build some relationships between livestock and row crop producers and make existing relationships stronger. We are different than most states, because many grain growers are also livestock growers.

“In other states, Illinois for example, it is doubtful a large soybean grower would also be a large swine producer,” Hall says.

The organization got its start from a simple meeting of the heads of the five organizations sitting down to talk about common challenges within their respective industries.

There were a number of disconnects among influential people in the state and how these leaders were reacting to challenges from anti-agriculture activists.

“We sat down together and took a close look at the collective challenges we face in North Carolina, and began the process of developing programs with a common message that support all of the organizations, plus our associate members who have subsequently joined the NCAAC,” Hall says.

“It was not a program that was pushed on us by individuals or groups outside the state. And, it wasn’t in response to any particular challenge that any of our members were facing. It was mutual coming together by the five founding organizations to find better ways to work together.

“Each organization retains its own political lobbying components and carries out ongoing policy-shaping efforts. Our organization produces information geared to educating policy makers and hopefully help them better understand the value of both row crop and livestock agriculture to the state,” Hall says.

rroberson@farmpress.com