Duplin County has long been home to a vast array of agricultural endeavors. From crops to cattle, chickens, and more, Dulin County’s farmers are the backbone of the local community. In this blog, we’ll discuss how important agriculture is to Duplin County and fill you in on some of the festivals and events that you and your family can take part in this autumn.
Formed in the spring of 1750, Duplin County got its name from Sir Thomas Hays, a.k.a. Lord Dupplin, who worked on the Board of Trade and Plantations throughout the 1740s. The Crown, who still maintained control of the U.S. during that time, had identified that the land in Duplin County was rich, fertile, and ripe for new agricultural ventures.
As immigrants learned just how fruitful farming in the area could be, the county saw an influx of farmers and their families from all over the world. Welsh, Germans, Swiss, French, Scots, Irish, and English farmers alike flocked to southeastern North Carolina in droves – each looking to claim their piece of the pie. In no time, Duplin County went from a wild, largely uninhabited forested area to one covered with wide open fields full of crops like tobacco, cotton, corn, and more.
Today, not much has changed. Duplin County is still home to one of the richest agricultural communities in the state. This Fall, as we end another successful year of growing and farming, we’d like to celebrate all that Duplin County and its farmers do for our great state.
As of the last census, Duplin County was home to over 58,000 residents, many of them farmers. It’s seen a slight increase in population over the last few years, with an estimated 1.1% of additional residents moving into the county between April 2010 and July 2015.
Duplin County’s agricultural heritage continues to remain vital to the economy. In fact, a staggering amount of food is produced in the county each year. Estimates have shown that if Duplin County’s agricultural output is combined with that of the neighboring Sampson County, it would be equal to about 1/6 of the world’s food supply. That’s pretty astonishing, considering that Duplin County is only about 822 square miles of land.
According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, Duplin County is home to an impressive 820 farms spread across 243,098 acres, giving each farm an average size of 296 acres. As of 2017, the market value of agricultural products sold out of Duplin County was worth $1,261,691,000. Though the majority of the county’s agricultural income comes from the sale of livestock and poultry, only a small percentage of the land is used for pasture. The vast majority of the acreage is reserved for croplands, where farmers grow things like soybeans, corn, wheat, tobacco, and peanuts.
Each year, on October 12th, our country celebrates National Farmers Day. It’s a time when we can all reflect on the hard work of these desiccated farmers, their families, and their laborers. The work that these men and women do not only keep our bellies full and families fed, but they also help keep the supply chain running smoothly. We celebrate farms and farmers this time of year because it is traditionally around the same time that the last crops are harvested before farms hunker down to prepare for the chilly North Carolina winter. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can support local farmers and your agricultural community, you can visit the National Farmers Union website.
Each year, there are plenty of agricultural fairs, events, festivals, and meetings in Duplin County. Some are for farmers and those in the farming industry, whereas others are for the whole family to enjoy. Below are the highlights for this year’s agriculture events in Duplin County for Fall 2022.
By far the biggest agricultural event held in Duplin County, the Duplin Agribusiness Fair is an opportunity for farmers and the public to get out and meet the members of their local agricultural community. The event features a wide range of activities sure to please everyone in the family.
Kids can enjoy a variety of rides and games, as well as all of the delicious, traditional fair-style food, from french fries and burgers to plenty of sweet treats. Numerous contests take place for the fair’s vendors, and a hot dog eating contest is traditionally held and is open to the public. You can browse row after row of vendor booths to find local handmade crafts, jewelry, food, meats, produce, and more.
After checking out everything the local vendors and artisans have to offer, you can swing by the Duplin Fair Rodeo for an evening of bull riding, mutton busting, and the Ag Olympics. It’s truly an event that offers something for everyone. Find out more on the Duplin Agribusiness Fair Facebook page and mark your calendars for this year’s event from October 21st – 23rd.
If you’ve ever taken a drive through the North Carolina countryside, you’ll know that chicken farms dot the landscape fairly frequently. Chicken farming in North Carolina is a major component of our economy, which means it deserves to be celebrated.
Every year, the NC Poultry Jubilee does just that. This year’s event takes place on Saturday, October 22nd, and will feature a wide array of activities. If you’re hungry, you can grab a fried chicken plate made using the world’s largest frying pan. Kids can enjoy rides and games and adults can stroll the fairgrounds and get some early Christmas shopping done at local vendors’ booths.
Concerts take place throughout the day, so make sure you bring lawn chairs and blankets to secure your spot. And, if you’re the competitive type, you can enter the NC Poultry Jubilee Pageant for a chance to become a local celebrity. Learn more on their website at https://www.thenorthcarolinapoultryjubilee.com/.
Though it’s one of the smaller events held this autumn in Duplin County, this festival promises to pack a punch. Attendees can enjoy hayrides, a costume contest, games, face painting, and more. There will be live music and plenty of local food trucks to try out, as well as a silent auction and a family-friendly outdoor movie night. Grab a jacket and head to 195 Fairgrounds Drive for the Down Home Duplin “Falling Into Fall” Festival on October, 29th from 11 am to 9 pm.
Hosted by the Warsaw Chamber of Commerce, the Fall Music Festival is a great chance to enjoy live music from some of the industry’s up-and-comers. Though not a strictly agricultural festival, this event will feature local vendors based out of Duplin County. You’ll have the opportunity to sample treats from a variety of food trucks, get a taste of what Duplin County’s wineries have to offer, and do a little shopping from local vendors.
For its inaugural year, the festival will kick off with presentations from local high school bands and the color guard. Live concerts from Russ Varnell & 2 Country, Jada Vance, and the Band of Oz will take place throughout the day, and DJ Mike Ashly will be outside spinning tunes before the event gets started. Head to Kenansville, NC on October 15th and celebrate Fall with your loved ones.
These events and fairs are just one of the ways you can choose to celebrate and thank our local farmers. As the holidays approach, remember that shopping small is another way you can help support local farms and have a direct, positive impact on our community and our economy. For more information on Duplin County businesses you can help support, click here.