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State initiative supports farmers

MURFREESBORO – When North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler visited the new farmer’s market in Murfreesboro Wednesday; he wasn’t just here for a photo opportunity.

Troxler’s

‘Got to be NC’ campaign is predicated on the success of the state’s entire farming community’s ability to thrive and even more importantly, survive.

The farmer’s markets that exist throughout the state are the front line of commerce for many farming families who are challenged every year with producing crops that will offer enough yield to stay in business, and tender what is in many instances, a minimal profit.

Troxler’s campaign is designed to promote North Carolina agricultural products both at home and abroad.

&uot;There are many reasons to buy North Carolina products,&uot; Troxler said. &uot;We want to be sure consumers know this and look for these products when they shop.&uot;

Troxler said that he is committed to continuing his department’s longtime branding program &uot;Goodness Grows in North Carolina.&uot;

&uot;We are fortunate to produce so many commodities here in the state, which gives consumers access to the freshest, safest and highest-quality food product available,&uot; Troxler explained on the NC Agriculture web site. &uot;Agriculture is our state’s leading industry. By buying North Carolina agricultural products, consumers are helping support jobs across this state, keeping our economy strong.&uot;

As part of the campaign, the 34 trucks which are part of the department’s Food Distribution Division, have been designed to promote the initiative via dynamic artwork on the vehicle’s trailers.

The Food Distribution Division is responsible for transporting U.S. Department of Agriculture commodities to schools, food banks and soup kitchens across the state.

Many grocery stores and retailers and restaurants throughout North Carolina have agreed to incorporate the campaign into their promotional materials.

According to the department’s web site, some of the participating companies include, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Ingles Markets, Lowes Foods, Golden Corral, Andy’s Cheesesteaks and Cheeseburgers, K&S Cafeterias and K&W Cafeterias.

Wednesday, Troxler also included Wal-Mart and Piggly-Wiggly among participating retailers.

&uot;Agriculture is second only to the military as an employer in North Carolina,&uot; Troxler went on to say. &uot;The farmer’s market is not just a place of commerce, but a place of social activity and educational opportunity.&uot;

Troxler stated that another component of the success of the ‘Got to be NC’ initiative is a $350,000 grant that facilitates a co-op with the Golden Leaf Foundation.

The Golden Leaf Foundation was created in 1999 as part of the settlement against tobacco manufacturers to assist North Carolinians in their transition from being a tobacco dependent economy.