Pork farming families rally at capitol to support hog industry

NCFarmFamilies_McCrory

State Sen. Brent Jackson speaks to the rally for the hog industry as Gov. Pat McCrory looks on. Boxes of petitions can be seen in the foreground.

RALEIGH – Supporters of an industry that feels it is under attack by environmentalists rallied on the soggy state capitol grounds to remind leaders in Raleigh that they represent an industry that contributes much to North Carolina’s economy. The group, mostly from the pork industry, delivered 11,000 petitions to Gov. Pat McCrory expressing support for one of the state’s largest industries and a mainstay of the Eastern North Carolina economy.

Hog farmer Deborah Ballance (center) and her daughter (right) stand with Angie Whitener Maier (left) of the N.C. Pork Council at the state capitol building.

Hog farmer Deborah Ballance (center) and her daughter (right) stand with Angie Whitener Maier (left) of the N.C. Pork Council at the state capitol building.

“I want people to see that we are not some nameless face, that we’re actually people just like them and we look after our farm, and we look after our animals, and we enjoy doing what we do, and we produce safe, healthy food for people,” said Deborah Ballance, a hog farmer from Wayne County who made the trip to Raleigh.

Gov. McCrory made time to speak to the rally even as he hurried to give a press conference on preparations for Hurricane Joaquin. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler was not at the rally due to a scheduling conflict, but he has attended similar events in the past. His office issued a statement of support for the farmers.

“We are fortunate to live in a country with an ample supply of high-quality and affordable food,” Troxler’s statement said. “In fact, this nation has remained free because of its ability to produce its own food. We have this blessing because of farmers.”

The petitions given to McCrory read “As a resident of North Carolina, I support our local pork farmers. I appreciate the many contributions local pork farmers make to the well-being of our communities by providing economic stability and jobs in rural parts of the state. We trust local pork farmers to protect the environment and care for their animals, and we are proud to call them our neighbors.”

According to the group, the pork industry in North Carolina employs more then 46,000 and contributes more than $11 billion to the state’s economy.