Plenty to be thankful for in Rowan

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 29, 2013

SALISBURY — With all the mayhem that seems to dominate our news these days, it’s important to note that Thanksgiving Day is the one time of year when we take a few minutes to reflect on just how fortunate we are to live in our country.
It’s now become almost common cliché that Rowan County agriculture producers have adapted to increasing obstacles including weather, increased costs and restrictions to be extremely productive contributors to Rowan’s total economy. Classified as an urban county, Rowan County is an agriculturally rich county with ample resources and an extremely wide diversity of crops and services which may surprise you. Below are some impressive numbers:
983 — the number of viable farms in Rowan County.
35 percent — the percent of total land mass, which equates to 115,942 acres in farming operations in Rowan County.
118 — the average number acres in a typical farming operation in Rowan County.
57 — the average age of a Rowan County farmer.
119 — the number of women farmers in Rowan County.
50 percent — the percentage of female vocational agriculture students in the Rowan-Salisbury School System.
24 gallons — the average number of gallons of milk Miss Lucy, the world record Holstein cow from Rowan County, produced in a day for 365 days. The average dairy cow in Rowan County produces 6-12 gallons of milk a day.
500,000 — number of poinsettias produced in Rowan County. Rockwell Farms is in the top five poinsettia producers in North Carolina.
$1 — the average cost increase to poinsettias consumers over the past 15 years.
Eighth — Rowan County is eighth in North Carolina for all cattle, which rank fifth in dairy, 14th in beef cattle production and 24th in poultry.
23 tons — of trelised tomatoes which are graded, produced per acre or approximately 184,000 tomatoes per acre.
10,000 quarts — the average number of quarts, or 750,000 pounds, of strawberries produced on an acre in Rowan County. There are roughly 50 acres of strawberries produced in Rowan County.
100th winery — Cauble Creek Winery was the 100th winery established in North Carolina, garnering a visit from Gov. Beverly Perdue in 2011. There are five commercial grape operations in Rowan County and three viable wineries.
121 — number of licensed landscape maintenance contractors in Rowan County; in 1979 there were only three landscape contractors working in landscape maintenance.
$7 million — value of vegetables, fruits and berries produced in 2012 in Rowan County.
7,540 — the number of horses/equine in Rowan County.
$46 million — The value of the horse/equine industry in Rowan County.
$50 million — income generated from traditional farming operations which including cattle, grain, corn, soybeans, hay and poultry. This does not include estimates of the green industry.

Darrell Blackwelder is the county Extension director with horticulture responsibilities with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service in Rowan County. Learn more about Cooperative Extension events and activities by calling 704-216-8970 Facebook or online at