Spring 2023 Executive Director’s Report
- Posted by Emily
- On May 9, 2023
- 1 Comments
- Great Trail State Coalition: Advocacy Training & Legislative Planning Session
- Legislative Topics
- Facility Issues: Western Agricultural Center Meeting & Southeastern Agricultural Center Ribbon Cutting for Wash Pits
- Ag Development Forum
- Martin Community College Equine Class Presentation
- NC Farm Bureau Women’s Convention and Equine Committee
- NC A&T Agricultural Fair
- American Horse Council Equine Welfare Committee Meeting
- SART Board Meeting
- Legislative Meetings & Issues
- Year of the Trail
- Coalition of State Horse Council’s Quarterly Meeting
- American Horse Council Economic Impact Study
- Meeting with Commissioner Steve Troxler
- Cabarrus County Equine Trail Interest Group
- Jordan Lake Watershed Oversight Committee
- Grant Application Reviews
At recent NCHC Board Meetings, we have had informative presentations from our NC State Veterinarian and the State Livestock Veterinarian. While we are currently being faced with a serious health concern for our horses, it is nice to know the concern and involvement of our state veterinary staff. The current EIA issue is expanding. We developed new educational materials in Spanish to help address the issue as many of the cases involve individuals whose primary language is not English. We will continue to work with local veterinarians and our state regulators to get a handle on EIA in our state.
Great Trail State Coalition and Year of the Trail
The Great Trail State Coalition and the Year of the Trail Committee recognized many “first day outdoors” events including multiple equine trail events. The Arabian Horse Association hosted one of the largest with over 20 participants. Other activities and media coverage, including PBS shows, will continue to highlight trails this year. Thanks for one of our Board members, Harrison Todd, for introducing us to Caitlin Gooch, who will be highlighted in one of the PBS videos. The Year of the Trail Banner events subcommittee met this month to develop our yearly strategy and identify “stories” we can share this year. The Back Country Horsemen of North Carolina was put forth as one possible story to highlight. Thanks to Deirdre Perot and Tom Thomas for helping out with this project.
Our lobbying team of John Cooper and Nathan Honaker will be taking on as a client the Great Trail State Coalition Our Equine trail interest will be strengthened by this joint lobbying effort. With multiple issues arising with the NC Department of Agriculture, lobbying for an equine representative on the NCDA Board of Agriculture remains a high priority.. In addition, we will be lobbying for the recognition of a new state equine trail. Other legislative issues include supporting the Great Trail State Coalition’s legislative goals.
The Great Trail State Coalition Legislative Committee met several times to discuss strategies. Both the House budget and the Governor’s budget included funding for trails. We are currently waiting on the Senate budget and then the final budget. We remain hopeful that the equine community will benefit from this potential funding. The NCHC is seeking recognition of an Equine State Trail and representation on the NC Board of Agriculture. In addition, we have been working with the NC Office of the State Veterinarian on the potential for commercial composting of our livestock. This work is on-going.
Economic Impact Study
The American Horse Council is conducting a new National Economic Impact Study. A working group has been called together to review questions, add new items and to make sure that the survey is user friendly. The North Carolina Horse Council is representing the Coalition of State Horse Councils on this working group. The NCHC is also participating as a separate state pull out group, so that we can keep our state data fresh.
The NCHC worked on finalizing the Economic Impact study. North Carolina will once again be a pull-out state in the American Horse Council’s Survey. The purpose of the study is to demonstrate the value of the equine industry in the national and state economies by analyzing the direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts of horse ownership, recreation, and equine-related services. Data collected will inform public and private investments in equine-related businesses, equine health care, education, land use decisions, tax policy, tourism, employment incentives, etc. The survey begins April 3rd and goes through September 29th. Additional information, including links to the survey are in this newsletter.
NC Farm Bureau Meetings
The NC Farm Bureau Women’s Convention was held in Greensboro. Over 200 women attended. Topics of discussion included women’s leadership roles, legislative interests of the NC Farm Bureau, fire safety on the farm, gaining capital for your farm and a great discussion on the future of agriculture. This is always time well spent, as networking with women across the state provides so much information on shaping our agricultural community.
The NC Farm Bureau Equine Committee met at Carver Creek State Park for our winter meeting. After a presentation from the Park Ranger, the committee discussed several issues including support of our youth exhibitors at the NC State Fair. Dr. Catharine Harris gave an update on EIA. The NCHC gave an update on all of the current legislative issues concerning horses.
Year of the Trail
The Year of the Trail Committee met to review the PBS video series and other issues. Carver Creek State Horse Park will be highlighted later this year. Moses Cone carriage trails are a potential alternate. Various artists have been commissioned for the Year of the Trail and provided their mockups for several merchandise pieces. In addition, the group is highlighting the NC Backcountry Horsemen in April, as we celebrate trail volunteer groups.
Year of the Trail has also been busy with many recognized county activities. Partnerships have greatly expanded with the addition of several state and county agencies. New merchandise was added to the website and the artist program was expanded. The Year of the Trail will be transitioning to the Great Trail State at the end of this year, and we are planning a year-end celebration.
Other Opportunities to Promote the NCHC
The NCHC was represented at the NC A&T Agricultural Fair. Over 200 secondary agricultural science students from across the state attended. The NCHC along with other major commodity groups were able to share our stories with the students and encourage them to pursue their interest in agriculture.
SE Ag Center Updates
A ribbon cutting was held at the Southeastern Agricultural Center in Lumberton. Two new wash pits were built at the center with dollars from the NCHC and the Border Belt Horsemen’s Association. The event was attended by representatives from the Boarder Belt Horsemen’s group, local travel and tourism staff, representatives from the city and county and representatives from the NC Department of Agriculture. Signs were placed recognizing the efforts of the NCHC and Border Belt working together to support the equine community.
NC SART Board
The NC SART Board met to discuss the new strategic plan. Currently SART is a recognized 501 c3; however, several Board members were concerned that we did not need to be a non-profit. No decision was made.
Great Trail State Coalition
The Great Trail State Coalition also has a legislative ask for monies to support trails. Several meetings with various state legislators were held in March in support of this request. The NCHC would benefit from these dollars should we be successful. The Year of the Trail Committee also met in March to plan other activities. Several videos in support of trails are in the works including one featuring NC Back Country Horsemen and one on trail etiquette between user groups.
Coalition of State Horse Councils Meeting
The Coalition of State Horse Councils held its quarterly meeting with approximately 8 states represented. Guest speakers Christie Schulte Kappert and Tom Pereschino with ASPCA provided a presentation on the Right Horse Initiative. The Councils discussed ideas to increase cash flow in times of increased expenses among other issues. Many Councils do not have paid staff or office space or dollars for operational expenses. Fundraising ideas were also discussed. Finally, we were reminded of the annual meeting of the CSHC to be held in Denver, CO on Sunday June 4th in conjunction with the American Horse Council’s Annual Meeting. The Fall meeting will be hosted by Wisconsin.
New Trail Opportunities
Cabarrus County held a meeting in February on possible use of a newly acquired property. At this meeting, equine trails were discussed. The NCHC arranged a follow-up meeting with local equestrians to help build support. Approximately 50 people were in attendance.
Jordan Lake Watershed Oversight Committee
On April 5th, the Jordan Lake Watershed Oversight Committee met and approved by consensus the 2023 Annual Progress Report (Crop Year 2021).
The Jordan Water Supply Nutrient Strategy Agriculture Rule, 15A NCAC 02B .0264, sets forth a strategy by which agricultural operations in the three Jordan Lake subwatersheds (Lower New Hope, Upper New Hope, and Haw) will collectively limit loading of nitrogen and phosphorus from baseline levels (1997 – 2001). The Jordan Lake Watershed Oversight Committee, with support from local county and state staff, annually accounts for nitrogen and phosphorus load-reducing actions and reports on the agricultural community’s activities and progress in meeting its collective goals for each subwatershed which are:
- Lower New Hope Subwatershed:
- No increase in nitrogen loss or phosphorus loss
- Upper New Hope Subwatershed:
- 35% nitrogen loss reduction
- 5% phosphorus loss reduction
- Haw Subwatershed:
- 8% nitrogen loss reduction
- 5% phosphorus loss reduction
Activities in Crop Year 2021 (CY2021) have been accounted and detailed in the 2023 Annual Progress Report. Significant progress has been made in agricultural nitrogen loss reduction since 15A NCAC 02B .0264 went into effect. Phosphorus tracking in the watershed indicates less risk of phosphorus loss in CY2021 in comparison to baseline for a majority of the tracked qualitative parameters.
The Jordan Lake Watershed Oversight Committee, on which the NCHC is represented, extended its thanks to DWR staff who attended the April 5th meeting and updated the Committee on DWR basin planning activities in the Cape Fear River Basin as well as upcoming activity with Jordan Lake nutrient strategy readoption.
Grant Applications Review
The NCHC staff reviewed all grant category applications in preparation for a final review by the Executive Committee in May. The applications have been sent out in advance to all Executive Committee members.