Target Sector - Value Added Agriculture

NC leads the nation in production of sweet potatoes and tobacco; we are second in poultry and eggs, hogs and pigs, Christmas trees, trout and turkeys; and are third in cucumbers and fresh market strawberries. In 2010 NC had over 52,000 farms encompassing 8.6 million acres, with farm cash receipts exceeding $9.65 billion. This broad array of products provides the basis for vertical integration of the sector from fertilizer and crop processing to biotechnology research and newly engineered products in food, medicine, plastics and fuel. Martin County has proximity to raw materials, research and the East Coast consumer market.

Existing Industries

There are over 50 food industry producers in the region, including the following:

Weyerhaeuser –

Tree farms and nursery, wood products manufacturing.

Nutrien –

Liquid and solid fertilizers and animal feed supplements

Ventria Bioscience –

Cell-based biomanufacturing

Mackey’s Ferry Peanuts –

Makes peanut butter, candies, cookies, packaged and bulk peanuts


Integrated broiler production and processing facilities

Severn Peanuts –

Peanut sheller

Rose Acre Farms –

Layer houses and eggs

Avoca, Inc. –

World’s premier botanical extraction facility

Jimbo’s Jumbos, Inc. –

Peanut sheller and roaster

Roanoke Tar Cotton Gin –

Processes raw cotton

Flagstone Foods –

Nuts and Trail mixes

Other national firms with a local presence:

Cargill, Southern States, AgCarolina, Monsanto.

Privately held small processors of agricultural products:

  • Peanut buying stations
  • Cotton gins and support companies
  • Grain elevators
  • Livestock markets
  • Farmers roadside markets

The Region Has Significant Agricultural Production (2010) To Support Related Companies

Martin County

#1 peanut producer- 8,700 acres, 24.78 million pounds

#2 cotton producer- 68,000 bales

#9 tobacco harvested – 5,550 acres, 13.28 million pounds

Other major crops include:

  • Broilers
  • Corn
  • Vegetables
  • Nuts
  • Hay
  • Cattle
  • Wheat
  • Fruit
  • Berries


Other Counties:

Beaufort County – #1 in sweet potatoes, #2 in corn, #4 in wheat, and #10 in cotton

Edgecombe County – # 4 in both cotton and peanuts, #8 in wheat

Halifax County – # 1 in cotton, #9 in peanuts

Pitt County – #3 in peanuts, #6 in cotton, #10 in hogs and pigs, #11 in soybeans and tobacco.

Washington County – # 6 in corn, #8 in soy beans, and #12 in vegetables, fruits, nuts and berries.

Many Assets Exist In The Region To Support Agriculture Related Business

Senator Bob Martin Eastern Agricultural Center, Williamston

  • State of the Art equestrian facility and a major regional meeting center
  • 110,000+ SF coliseum encompassing (1) 150′ x 300′ arena
  • Permanent seating for 2,286
  • 75′ x 125′ paddock with attached 120′ x 240′ covered arena
  • 3 outdoor 120′ x 240′ practice rings
  • 2 dressage pads
  • 456 permanent stalls
  • 18 wash bays
  • Space available for another 134 temporary stalls
  • 100 RV sites


Northeast Marketing Center, Elizabeth City

The NC Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services offers marketing specialists to support local farm production. They provide assistance in locating buyers and suppliers, developing new markets, designing marketing strategies, and conducting marketing promotions to increase demands for regional commodities that include fruits, vegetables, seafood and other products. These efforts are in support of the “Goodness Grows in North Carolina” campaign that promotes food products grown in NC.

NC State University (NCSU)

County Extension Office – Provides agricultural outreach program within each NC county in the state using local staff and the resources of the NCSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and NC A&T University. Program areas include sustaining agriculture and forestry, protecting the environment, maintaining viable communities, development of responsible youth through 4-H and other programs, and developing strong, healthy and safe families.

East Carolina University

Along with strong biology and chemistry programs, ECU’s College of Engineering programs focus on mechanical, electrical, and industrial / systems engineering. Also offer programs focused on erosion control and climatology.

Martin Community College

Located in Williamston and has programs in Equine Technology and Biotechnology, among other program areas.


Vernon James Center / Tidewater Research Station, Plymouth

This facility covers over 1,500 acres and includes a 32,000 SF research and extension complex with over 300 specialists involved in swine, beef, soils, entomology, plant pathology, crop science, horticulture science, and aquaculture disciplines.

Other support services

Research Centers – focusing on research and development including specialized work with peanuts, cotton, tobacco, grains and swine production.

State Cooperative Grading Services Headquarters, Williamston

County Forest Rangers and staff in every county

Regional office for USDA FSA and NRCS

Mideast Research and Conservation Development organization

Industrial Extension Service Northeast Regional Office, Williamston

Provides hands-on expertise for manufacturers in the following fields:

  • Defect-free processes (including Six Sigma)
  • Growth and innovation
  • Organization Benchmarking
  • Standardized processes and production (including ISO 9001 and related systems)
  • Process Optimization (including Lean processes)
  • Sustainability and green practices (including ISO 14001)
  • Workplace efficiency

Mount Olive College

Offers a BS degree in Agribusiness through the Tillman School of Business as well as BS degrees in Biology and Chemistry.

High schools

Regional Agricultural High School

North Carolina Supports Agriculture With Other Significant Resources

NCSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS)

Offers undergraduate programs in the following areas: Pre-Med and Other Health Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Pre-vet & Animal Biology, Agricultural Sciences, Life Sciences, and Business Education & Community. CALS also offers the Agricultural Institute, providing a two year associate degree in agriculture.

NC Biofuels Center

An organization created by the NC Legislature to support and encourage the development of a biofuels industry in NC. Its goal is that by 2017, 10% of the liquid fuels sold in NC will be locally grown and produced. Strategies include connecting feedstock growers with pro-ducers; accelerating effective science, research and development capabilities; creating and implementing government incentive programs; developing work-force skills.

NC Biotech Center

Programs to focus biotechnology on traditional agriculture – to grow more crops on less land; to grow new, more nutritious crops, and find new uses for existing crops.

Funding programs to encourage new ideas in research, education and company development.

Programs to expand NC’s agbiotech business leadership to create and grow small companies that can follow the lead of significant existing companies like Monsanto, Bayer, Syngenta and BASF.

NC Research Campus

Transforming science at the intersection of nutrition, agriculture and human health. Research combines multiple scientific focuses spanning fruits, vegetables, grains, herbs, bioactive compounds, exercise physiology, post-harvest physiology to brain and fetal development. All of the campus’ partners and collaborators, on and off campus, have access to the support of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte’s Bioinformatics Services Division and the David H. Murdock Research Institute (DHMRI), which houses the largest and most advanced collection of scientific equipment in genomics, proteomics, metabolomics, light microscopy and NMR.

Martin County Economic Development Corporation
415 East Blvd #130, Williamston, NC 27892