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Local farmers discuss struggle amid Raleigh Farm Aid festival

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RALEIGH, N.C. Local Charlotte — The Farm Aid Concert is back this weekend, and it’s an all-day celebration for music and family farmers here in Raleigh.

The goal of the concert is to keep family farmers on land and raise awareness to some of the challenges farmers face.

Farmers just like Samantha Gasson.

She and her husband own Bull City Farms in Rougemont, near Durham.

“We cannot expand. We can’t get any other property. Everything is sort of– there’s a few people who are doing more commodity-based farming and they’re renting all the land because we’re in Durham County there’s not a lot of land,” said Gasson.

Farmers have had a tough couple of years due to the pandemic.

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says agriculture is the number one industry in the state with more than 52,000 farms.

North Carolina is the leading producer of sweet potatoes, hogs and tobacco, but Gasson says inflation is having a big impact.

“Our feed prices are a lot higher. We have animals that we have to feed that they’re not going to be grass fed. That’s the pigs and the turkeys and the chickens and the geese,” said Gasson.

Noah Ranells owns Fickle Creek Farm in Orange County.

Ranells says he’s also seeing the impact.

“Every time there’s an issue about drought in the west or fuel prices that comes through to us with fuel surcharges on deliveries and general instability,” said Ranells.

All that has a trickle down effect for customers.

“That impacts you. I’m going to have to go up another dollar this year on my eggs,” said Gasson.

The concert takes place Saturday at noon.



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