Farmers across the Southeast converged on the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh, Jan 30-Feb 1, for the Southern Farm Show, an exposition that has become a longstanding tradition over the course of the last 37 years. Over 300 exhibiting companies make the Southern Farm Show the largest agricultural exposition in the Carolinas and Virginia.
Southern Shows surveys attendees each year to get a look inside the demographics of those who come to the show:
This year 84.6% of Southern Farm Show attendees who responded to the survey were male, 15.4% were female.
Segmented into age groups (roughly by decade), the largest group of those attending the show were between 45 and 54 years of age, accounting for 19.3% of all survey respondents.
From youngest to oldest, the surveyed group fell into the following categories: Under 18 years old, 5.9% of respondents; from 18-24, 16% of respondents; 25-34, 13.4%; 35-44, 16.6%; 45-54, 19.3%; 55-64, 13.9%; 65+, 15%.
Nearly one-quarter (24.9%) of those who filled out the surveys reported they were full-time farmers this year. Another 28.2% listed themselves as part-time farmers. In addition, 7.3% noted they were landscapers or groundskeepers; 5.1% classified themselves as construction professionals; 2.3% were nurserymen; 2.3% said they were involved with forestry; 0.6% noted they were farm equipment dealers; 8.5% said they were government employees; 11.9% students; and 9% were retired.
The largest number of those attending who took the survey, 32.3%, said they have between 51 and 200 acres of farmland in production. A considerable proportion of respondents (17.7%) responded they currently have more than 1,000 acres being farmed; 13.5% farm 501 to 1000 acres; 12.5% have 201 to 500 acres in farming production; 6.3% have 26 to 50 acres in production; 9.4%,11 to 25 acres; 5.2%, 5 to 10 acres and 3.1%, less than 5 acres in production.
Nearly fifty-seven percent of respondents noted they raise hay on their operations; 52.6% are involved with soybeans; 50.5%, beef; 42.1% are involved with grain and/or wheat; 41.1%, corn; 22.1%, vegetables; 22.1%, vegetables; 20%, tobacco; 11.6%, hogs; 10.5%, poultry; 10.5%, horses; 9.5%, cotton; 8.4%, forestry; 8.4%, sweet potato, 5.2%; dairy; 4.2%, fruit; 3.2%, turf.
Of the people attending who replied to the survey, 9.1% own or manage 1,000 acres or more of forest land; 72.7% own or manage less than 10 acres.
Editor's note: David Zimmerman, president of Southern Shows, provided the information for this article.