Wednesday, July 27, 2016 What’s the Deal with Drones?

What is a drone? Where can I fly one? Do I need a license? Can I shoot one down if it flies over my house? These are all frequent questions people ask about Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), commonly known as drones. (If you don’t read any further, no, you should not shoot them down.)

Basically, a drone is a remote controlled aircraft, usually equipped with a camera and/or other sensors. The technology has become increasingly popular over the past few years and more people are beginning to utilize drones for things like data collection, photography, videography, and monitoring personal property.

But this is an agriculture blog, right? So why are we talking about drones?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016 What Can We Learn from Carolina Demography’s Research?

Over the past two weeks we’ve shared a couple of posts from Dr. Rebecca Tippett of Carolina Demography at UNC’s Carolina Population Center. If you haven’t read them, we encourage you to go back and read those two posts in their entirety – it’s really good stuff. But as great as Rebecca’s work is, we can’t post ALL of it, so we’ve decided to break down what we believe to be some of the more important bits of information. Of course, you can read all of her posts at and follow her on Twitter @ncdemography.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016 One Way to Think About Rural-Urban Interdependence

Written by Dr. Rebecca Tippett and originally published at Carolina Demography. This continues our series of posts highlighting some of Rebecca’s excellent insights into rural North Carolina. If you missed last week’s post, be sure to go back and check it out as well.

“The growth of urban places historically has been fueled largely by in-migration from rural areas (including from other countries)…” – Daniel Lichter & David Brown, “Rural America in an Urban Society

Nearly half of North Carolina’s counties – 47 of 100 – had net out-migration between 2010 and 2015, meaning more people moved away than moved in.

There are some clear patterns to this movement. The core counties of the state’s major metropolitan areas—such as Guilford (Greensboro), Forsyth (Winston-Salem), Mecklenburg (Charlotte), and Wake (Raleigh)—saw net in-migration. In general, the counties immediately adjacent to these core counties, such as Johnston and Harnett south of Wake, also experienced net in-migration. In addition, regions that are generally attractive to retirees, such as Western North Carolina and the coastal counties, have had net in-migration since 2010.

Net Out Migration

Meanwhile, many of the counties that have experienced net out-migration are on the periphery of larger metro areas, are located in smaller metropolitan or micropolitan regions, or are rural counties, meaning they belong to neither a metropolitan nor micropolitan region. (A map of North Carolina’s metropolitan and micropolitan statistical areas is available here and the delineation files are available here.)

But even though many counties have experienced net out-migration, North Carolina is a “sticky” state. Most people born here still live here. Among North Carolina-born adults, 72% still live here, the highest share of any other state except for Texas. And, when we look at individuals who move out of their county, individuals from rural, outlying, and micropolitan counties are much more likely to stay in North Carolina.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016 The Persistent “Rurality” of North Carolina

Written by Dr. Rebecca Tippett and originally published at Carolina Demography. Over the next few weeks the First Furrow will be highlighting some of Rebecca’s excellent insights into rural North Carolina.

As we’ve mentioned in the past, North Carolina has a large population residing in areas that the U.S. Census Bureau classifies as rural. Among the 10 most populous states, North Carolina has the largest proportion of individuals living in rural areas. In fact, North Carolina’s rural population is larger than that of any other state except for Texas.

Prior to coming to Carolina Demography, I worked in a similar role producing and interpreting demographic data in Virginia. Since returning to North Carolina, I have mentioned to a number of people that North Carolina is more “demographically interesting” in certain respects than Virginia. This isn’t to say that Virginia isn’t interesting –it is!—but the fundamental patterns of demographics are markedly different in Virginia compared to North Carolina. And some of this difference is rooted in the higher proportion of individuals living in high density, urbanized areas in Virginia.