Hundreds of farmers turn out for annual tour

Published 5:02 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018

For 48 years, eastern North Carolina farmers and agribusiness leaders have gathered to learn and to grow their network of contacts.

Known as one of the largest events of its kind in the state, the annual Blackland Farm Managers Tour drew approximately 500 farmers to Pinetown on Wednesday. Hosted by 3B Farms owners James Russell, Doug and Todd Boyd, and Foxfire Farms, North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler kicked off the event at 8 a.m. A vendor fair, a tour out to the fields to view test plots and discussion with North Carolina State University Extension Agency employees about cutting-edge technology were scheduled for the day. Keynote speeches by Fred Below, a crop physiologist from the University of Illinois, and a catered lunch rounded out the event.

Below focused on corn and soybean production, both of which are top crops in Beaufort County, according to Rod Gurganus, director of Beaufort County Cooperative Extension Agency.

“We’re had university researchers talking to the farmers about corn and soybeans — everything from growing the crops to protecting the crops,” Gurganus said. “It’s mostly farmers and agribusiness people that come out — university people giving presentations; businesses set up. It’s educational, but it’s a big social component to it, as well.”

The Blackland Farm Managers Tour rotates through Beaufort, Hyde, Washington and Tyrrell counties; this year was Beaufort County’s turn to host, Gurganus said.