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Answers to 2 Truths and a Lie

NC Agriculture

  • Truth: North Carolina farmers produced 1.7 billion pounds of sweet potatoes in 2020. [USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service NC Field Office – Sweet Potato Estimates]
  • Truth: North Carolina is in the top-10 of agricultural-producing states. [USDA Economic Research Center – Cash receipts by commodity State Ranking 2021]
  • Lie: North Carolina ranks 25th in the nation for the number of migrant farmworkers
    • Correction – North Carolina ranks 6th in the nation for the number of migrant farmworkers, with over 150k farmworkers and their dependents… which most sources consider to be a low estimate. Even though the overall number of farmworkers in NC has gone down significantly in the last 20 years, the number of migrant farmworkers has nearly doubled. [NC Farmworker Advocacy Network]

Climate Change

  • Truth: Higher temperatures reduce yields of desirable crops, including maize (corn), rice, and soybeans. [NASA]
  • Truth: In North Carolina, more than 450k people are living in areas at high risk of inland flooding. [States at Risk – America’s preparedness report card 2015]
  • Lie: The food system as a whole is responsible for as much as 12% of global emissions.

Food Insecurity

Contract Agriculture

  • Truth: There is no guaranteed minimum pay for contract poultry growers at the end of the season. [Documentary – Under Contract]
  • Truth: U.S. consumption of chicken averaged 86 pounds per person in 2006 [Economic Research Service]
  • Lie: In poultry farming, the farmer who places first in the “tournament system” receives a bonus that integrators put aside for that purpose.
    • Correction: The “bonus” is not a bonus at all in the conventional sense. It comes out of the pay other contractors would be getting that did not “win” the tournament system. [Documentary – Under Contract]

Seeds

  • Truth: You need at least 6 honeybees to pollinate 1 blueberry bush effectively. [SFGATE Homeguides]
  • Truth: There are 1,250 wildflowers species native to the Atlantic Southeast regions. [NC Botanical Garden]
  • Lie: NC has no seed cooperatives producing regionally adapted commodity seeds.
    • Correction: yes, NC does because RAFI-USA incubated the Southern Farmers Seed Cooperative https://www.rafiusa.org/programs/just-foods/

Farmers of Color

  • Truth: Emergency debt relief for farmers of color promised in the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) has been stalled since June 2021 and has now been entirely replaced with a race-neutral alternative in August’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). [Washington Post Journal Article] [Farm Commons]
  • Truth: From 1920 to the end of the 20th century, the number of Black farmers in the U.S. decreased 98%. [The Counter Article]
  • Lie: Only 15% of American farm producers identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) [Agricultural Census 2017]
    • Correction, less than 5% of farm producers identify as BIPOC
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