Last week, the 2017-18 General Assembly opened this year’s session, and in a few weeks they will dig in on their new legislative agenda. As you probably know, Republicans hold a 74-46 majority in the NC House and a 35-15 majority in the NC Senate. In the NC House, there are 19 new members, seven Democrats and 12 Republicans; in the NC Senate, there are five new members, all of whom are Republicans.Demographic information is important to understanding the composition of the legislature. Instead of looking at the usual race or gender breakdown, we decided to take a look at another bit of demographic information: occupation. Based on NC House and NC Senate Clerk Reports, the leading occupations are attorney, business owner, real estate broker, business executive, and consultant.
This week’s gas shortage in North Carolina presents an opportunity to talk about another reality of daily life some people often take for granted: our food supply.
The recent Colonial Pipeline leak in Alabama is a reminder that a disruption in local gas deliveries can create panic and confusion among consumers. But what would it look like if North Carolinians were facing a food shortage? We’re talking about a situation in which consumer access to food is significantly disrupted and people have difficulty finding basic food products such as milk, bread, meat and produce. It wouldn’t be a pretty picture that’s for sure.
This week’s post is written by Catherine Harward, a rising senior at North Carolina State University. As a Warren Leadership Fellow, Catherine spent this summer interning with North Carolina Farm Bureau learning about public policy and agricultural advocacy.
Three years ago, I never could have imagined where I would be today. If someone would have told me that I would be interning in agricultural policy for the largest agricultural organization in North Carolina, I would have shook my head in disbelief.
To give you some background, I grew up on a beef cow/calf operation in Stanly County raising purebred and commercial cattle with my father, mother, and four sisters. Even though my dad has all daughters, he never allowed any of us to think because we are girls we could not work on the farm. Since I was little, I enjoyed riding with my dad to feed cows, check fences, and vaccinate the herd, among other work. As I grew older, I became increasingly active in my family’s cattle operation in addition to our livestock marketing businesses. We market cattle across North Carolina and in adjoining states, keeping all members of our large family busy and involved in the family businesses. In my spare time, between school, sports, and the farm, I showed cattle at fairs and exhibitions, sparking my interest in youth agricultural organizations. I loved growing up in a farm family, and I appreciate the life lessons the farm taught me that have motivated me to work hard and to be successful.
I realized that even if you are not interested in politics, it still affects you, and it is crucial that we have farmers at the table helping to make decisions.
Over the past three years as a college student, I acknowledged my increasing passion for agricultural advocacy. Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program at NC State opened my eyes to the diverse avenues for advocacy and the power of networking. I met various professors who motivated me to look into my passions and purpose in agriculture. Each time, my passions circled back to cattle and advocacy. I never had a great interest in politics and tended to shy away from those discussions. However, reality hit me over time and I began to recognize how important it is to have people working in agricultural policy to keep farmers farming. I realized that even if you are not interested in politics, it still affects you, and it is crucial that we have farmers at the table helping to make decisions.
The North Carolina General Assembly opens its 2016 “short” session in five days. We’re going to look ahead to the session in a moment, but first it’s important to establish some background by reviewing some of the legislature’s recent work to benefit North Carolina farmers.
Tax Day is right around the corner, and people from all across the country and from all walks of life are working through the complex and confusing process of filing their taxes. Like everyone else, farmers (and their tax professionals) have to work through a maze of rules and regulations to complete their returns. As Tax Day approaches, let’s take a moment to make some observations about farmers and taxes.
Unlike the NCAA basketball tournament, the first round of North Carolina elections—last week’s primary—didn’t result in big upsets or surprises. The council of state races held as projected and, for the most part, incumbents in the state house and senate will be moving on to their general elections or returning to Raleigh for the 2017 long session.
Today, instead of analyzing individual races across the state, we will focus on the Farm Bureau-supported Connect NC Bond results and discuss a few voting trends that continue to emerge in urban and rural areas. (If you’re interested in learning about those other races, we highly recommended you read the NC Free Enterprise Foundation’s post-primary briefing.)
North Carolina voters last night passed the $2 billion Connect NC Bond that will strengthen food security and national security by making two investments in the future of North Carolina agriculture. NC Farm Bureau strongly supported the Connect NC Bond that provides $85 million for the Plant Sciences Initiative at NC State and $94 million for updating NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) laboratories.
As the 2016 Primary nears, all eyes and ears will be on the races for president, governor, and Congress. There’s no doubt that the presidential primary has been a bit of roller coaster. But in these uncertain times, we urge all North Carolina voters to make your voice heard and get out to vote on March 15th.