Executive Director’s Report: November 2021
- Posted by Emily
- On December 9, 2021
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Dr. Allen from NCDA&CS and Sue Gray, NCHC Executive Director, met to discuss the re-organization of the State Agricultural Response Team Website. Equine will be removed from the Companion Animal Section to a Farm Animal Section and be listed independently. Information will be linked to appropriate sites.
Multiple Legislative Issues were discussed this month. Thanks to the NC General Assembly and the Governor for a new state budget that includes $29.25 million of new trail funding, most of it targeted toward completing North Carolina’s 12 official State Trails.
Rep. Dean Arp (Union County), Rep. Hugh Blackwell (Burke), and Senator Brent Jackson (Sampson, Duplin and Johnston) led the effort in the House and Senate, and they found broad recognition among their colleagues and Governor Roy Cooper about the impact that trails can have on health and quality of life.
The new state funding will be used to acquire land, build new trails, and improve trail heads and signs. Also of particular interest to our Horse Community are dollars allocated for the Dupont state Recreational Forest. Please see below:
DUPONT STATE RECREATIONAL FOREST FUNDS 25 SECTION 10.5C.(a) Nonrecurring funds appropriated in this act to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services for creation and implementation of a master recreational facility plan for the DuPont State Recreational Forest (Forest) shall be allocated as follows: (1) Two hundred thousand dollars ($200,000) for the 2021-2022 fiscal year for the creation of a master recreational facility plan that includes planning for the recreational infrastructure and network of trails within the Forest with input from potential user groups, desired experiences for those groups, trail density analyses, and other Forest, wildlife management, and natural resource preservation objectives. The plan will also include recommendations for trail system management, new and extended trail segments, improvements, trail consolidation, and trail sustainability measures, and management measures for purpose-built trail systems and for mitigation of trail impacts due to high visitation. (2) One hundred thousand dollars ($100,000) for the 2021-2022 fiscal year and four hundred fifty thousand dollars ($450,000) for the 2022-2023 fiscal year for the implementation of the facility plan, including engineering, design, maintenance, and construction activities for new and existing trails, trail support facilities, and recreational facilities. Of these funds, the Department may use no more than two hundred twenty-five thousand dollars ($225,000) for the planning, design, and implementation of a trail spur connecting the Forest to the French Broad River Paddle Trail and to the Palmetto Trail and other trails in South Carolina. SECTION 10.5C.(b) The Department shall enter into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Friends of Dupont Forest, Inc., a nonprofit organization, to implement and maintain the trails funded in subsection (a) of this section
This funding was made possible due to the efforts of many individuals including our lobbyist and the Great State Trails Coalition of which the NCHC is a part of. This is a new, dynamic group of nonprofits that came together over the last year to advocate for all trails.
The North Carolina Farm Bureau came together this month for an Agricultural Summit. The goal of the Summit was to collectively foster a stronger understanding and appreciation for North Carolina agriculture among non-ag North Carolina residents that builds trust, thereby allowing farmers and livestock producers the social license to continue operating and prospering. Jacob DiPeitre from Chick-fil-A shared his thoughts on consumer engagement: “We discussed North Carolina’s changing demographics and looked at the results of consumer focus groups. We worked on describing the farmer and consumer of the future. We concluded the conference by identifying possible tactics to help foster a stronger understanding and appreciation for agriculture in the state of North Carolina.”
During the remainder of the month, the NCHC worked on plans for the 50th Anniversary Celebration. We are currently planning events such as a State Trail ride, an Anniversary Dinner and offering a lifetime membership at the 1972 rate.