Articles in regional publications that pertain to a wide range of North Carolina-related topics.
for Tar Heel Junior Historian Vol. 38 Issue 1, Fall 1998
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Over the years, three groups have farmed the land. The first group was subsistence farmers, who raised animals and crops for their own needs. The second group, the planters, saw farming as a way to make money. The last group did not own the land, but worked it, and included indentured servants, slaves, and tenant farmers.
Early colonists brought hogs along for food. Until the Civil War, hogs were raised for home use and selling out-of-state. After the war, Midwestern farmers captured the pork market, and N.C. hog sales declined. It was not until the 1970s that hog-raising became big business and a major economic and environmental concern. Today hogs in the state outnumber people two to one.
Organic farming, or farming without chemical pesticides or synthetic fertilizers, began in the state in the late 1970s. The market has expanded from vegetables to include fruits, grains, cut flowers, and medicinal and cooking herbs. Currently there are over fifty certified organic farmers in the state. Most farms are around three acres, but the acreage is increasing.
A number of farmers work land that has been in that has been in their families for generations. Their farms have been named century farms by the N.C. Department of Agriculture. The state has about 1,400 century farms in ninety-three counties. Land for one of the oldest farms was purchased by John Knox on May 6, 1758, near what is now Salisbury and Statesville.