By Darrell Blackwelder
For Farm Carolina
SALISBURY - Rowan County producers and businessmen converged at Rockwater Horse Farm in Rockwell Nov. 16 to celebrate 2012 Farm City Day. Sponsored by the Salisbury Kiwanis Club, Farm City Day brings the business community and producers together to recognize the contributions made by the farming community. The horse industry was the primary focus of this year's program, featuring a flag presentation on horseback by the East Equine Explorers 4-H Club.
Sue Gray, executive director of the N.C. Horse Council, presented information about the growing horse and equine industry in North Carolina. Horses and other equine animals are an important livestock commodity to both North Carolina and Rowan County agriculture. Below are some interesting statistics about horses and equine animals explained at the event:
• North Carolina has more horses than Kentucky
• 306,210 - Total number of horses/equine in North Carolina.
• 53,000 - Households that own horses in North Carolina.
• 2.1 million acres - number of acres for horses/equine.
• $200 million - revenue in state and federal taxes in North Carolina.
• $1.9 billion - Total economic impact of horses/equine in North Carolina.
• 7,540 - The number of horses/equine in Rowan County.
• $46 million - The value of the horse/equine industry in Rowan County.
Another highlight of Farm City Day is the crop yields contest which is sponsored by the Rowan County Chamber of Commerce. The contest is a bit of fun as growers often compete against each other in this annual yield contest.
But more importantly, the competition provides growers the opportunity to observe varieties and techniques used that can be implemented to try and increase their total production yields. Johnny and Brian Moore lead field crop producers Rowan County in 2011. They had the highest yield in both corn and soybeans, with 221.29 and 78 bushels per acre, respectively.
Recognizing youth in agriculture is another important part of Farm City Day. The 2012 Rowe McNeely Youth Award, sponsored by the Salisbury Kiwanis Club, was awarded to Maria Weber, a junior at Gray Stone Day School. She is a member of the East Equine Explorers 4-H Club. She has participated in county, district and state horse shows. She is a National Honor Society applicant and has traveled to Costa Rica this past summer. The Jim Graham Junior Exhibitor award, sponsored by the Rowan County Fair Association, was presented to April Lamb, a senior at Jesse C. Carson High School. Lamb is active in her local school FFA Chapter and recently placed second in the 2012 4-H/FFA State Dairy Judging Contest.
Darrell Blackwelder is County Extension Director, Rowan County Cooperative Extension. Call 704-216-8970.
www.rowanmastergardener.com, rowan.ces.ncsu.edu, www.rowanextension.com