Perdue won't forget farmers

December 11, 2008 9:00:00 PM PST
Governor-Elect Beverly Perdue says she will be sure to mention agriculture when she addresses economic development in North Carolina. She sat down with about 20 farmers for a roundtable discussion Friday morning. The farmers told her Friday that agriculture is responsible for one in six jobs in the state and about 20 percent of the total state income.

"Farmers aren't the farmers that I understood or our grandparents understood, the whole enterprise has changed and is anchored in technology and science and research and capital markets, it's just fundamentally another business platform and I think that's really important for all of us to understand," said Perdue.

Agriculture groups say there's a lot of potential for growth, including areas like organic produce, Christmas tree farms, and even solar farms that produce electricity.

There are problems. Farmers say they worry about fuel costs, sprawling development and the fact that many of their colleagues are getting older with few younger farmers coming up to replace them.

After talking farms, Perdue made a speech to an audience of 200 educators, legislators and business leaders at the Joint Legislative Technology Commissions for Education.

She told them she recognized the need for improvements in education.

"My focus in on being sure that every kid has a chance to compete in a global economy," she said.

Perdue has been on a listening tour for the past couple of weeks. She says she's looking for input on her new administration before she takes office.


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