Priorities on Agriculture

It’s time we bring farmers back to the forefront of economic policy and recognize farmers as essential workers. A better future for local agriculture is a better future for our community.

Local agriculture is a driving force in our economy and way of life. We enjoy diverse harvests ranging from fruits and vegetables to Christmas trees, poultry, cattle, and other livestock. It’s no secret; however, that many of our farmers are struggling, especially with the significant disruptions caused by the pandemic, extreme weather, and encroaching development.

Building a Regional Food System

Protecting Farmers Markets

Farmers markets are especially crucial in ensuring that our farmers can make a profit and in connecting residents with fresh produce. As such, we must protect farmers markets and work to expand the economic benefits they provide. While the pandemic did cause disruptions, farmers are finding that sales are increasing as people realize that the supply chain issues that were experienced at the grocery stores did not affect local farmers’ ability to provide high quality local food. Farmers markets, including the High Country Food Hub, have seen record sales in the last year. Building a regional food system is a great way to make sure there is an adequate food supply for our community and a sustainable income for our farmers.

Linking Local Meat Producers

We also need to explore new options connecting local meat producers directly to local butchers and customers. The demand is outpacing the ability of farmers to deliver without an expansion of local meat processing facilities. We also can bring enhanced economic opportunities directly to farmers by incentivizing agritourism. By connecting in-state and out-of-state residents to local farms, we can help agriculture thrive while highlighting the innovation, diversity, and passion of our local farmers.

More Affordable Local Food

It is interesting to note that grocery store prices are rising faster than our local food products. With the Double Up Food Bucks Programs, even low resource families can afford healthy local food. Increasing the Double Up Food Bucks Programs as well as expanding marketing of our local farmers markets could help to keep farmers on their land actively farming and promote access to healthy food for all residents.

Prioritizing Farmland Protections

Sustainable Land Use

Now, more than ever, we must work to encourage sustainable land use, and protect local farmlands. In recent years, many local farms have been displaced or forced to close as a result of developers buying up neighboring land which can cause land prices and property taxes to rise sharply. We must prioritize the protection of farmlands through reasonable land-use regulations, balancing sustainable agricultural protection and necessary development.

Land Conservation

We also need to support and incentivize voluntary land conservation programs to ensure fruitful harvests for generations to come, while putting money in our farmers’ pockets. By setting aside money for local conservation easements we can allow thousands of acres to remain suitable and protected for farming. Providing financial incentives for their use would also prevent farmers from choosing between their livelihoods and environmental protection, allowing local farms to continue to profit while adopting sustainable land uses.

Recognizing Farmers as Essential Workers

Farming Mentoring & Internships

Currently, farming is portrayed in career development as a low wage job with no future. Small farmers have expressed concerns about the difficulty of recruiting and retaining farm workers.

The average age of a farmer in North Carolina is fifty-nine (59). We need to put more resources into programs that encourage our young folks to consider farming. (Programs such as 4-H and FFA.) We might consider structured mentoring opportunities and paid internships for young people interested in farming and perhaps expanded learning opportunities at Community Colleges and local extension agencies that target young adults interested in continuing the family farm or starting a new farming operation.

“It’s time we bring farmers back to the forefront of economic policy and recognize farmers as essential workers. A better future for local agriculture is a better future for our community.”  — Ben Massey

boy watching newly hatched chicks

“It’s no surprise to you to know that we probably fall in different places on some of the issues and challenges that face our state and nation. But I am absolutely committed to see people of Character and Integrity like you in the state and national legislatures.”

Wadsworth Duane (Skip) Roy, III, Registered Republican

 

 

“I believe we need individuals like you who will bring to our government an open mind and the ability to seek reasonable outcomes.”

Robert Bartlett, Registered Republican

 

 

“It takes guts, will and social commitment to have the courage to run. Your attitude of helping others, and your reasonableness in debate to ideas of others makes you what our society needs.”

Robert G. Johnson - Registered as Unaffiliated

 

 

Also endorsed by Mrs. Phyllis Goss, wife of former State Senator Steve Goss from Jefferson, who served in the NC Senate, 2007 – 2010

 

 

“I can tell you with all sincerity, that I have always seen you as a member of the North Carolina General Assembly. You have an extraordinary intuition for the legislative process, as well as the innate skill for blending the toughness of negotiation with the art of compromise.”

Randall C. Stewart, Former Member of the NC House of Representatives and Registered Democrat

 

 

"I am most happy to endorse Ben Massey for NC House Representative in the 93rd District. Ben cares about people and knows the issues that impact the lives of hard-working people in the 93rd House District—Affordable healthcare, Quality education for all, Clean air and water, Creating economic growth, and Assisting farmers. He has my enthusiastic support."

Ray Russell, the NC House, 2019 -2020

 

 

"Congrats for making the decision to run for NC district 93! Wow. And Thank You God! No one is more suitable & qualified than you, my Gentle Ben. Our country needs your knowledge & service, so much more than ever before. Good Timing, Good Man! Thanks with my Heartfelt Gratitude."

Bonnie Wooten

 

 

Also endorsed by Representative Cullie Tarlton from Blowing Rock, who served in the NC House, 2007 – 2010

 

 

 

Proudly endorsed by Progressive Turnout Project, the largest voter contact organization in the country, specifically dedicated to mobilizing the Democratic Party and defending democracy.

 

 

 

The National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC) Political Action for Candidate Election (PACE) committee would like to offer our endorsement of your campaign for the upcoming 2022 General Election for House District 93.

 

 

 

"I know Ben Massey from our years as physical therapists. He possesses tremendous leadership ability with success serving on both national and state organizations. Ben has integrity and the desire to serve. Our mountain counties will do well having a people-caring person like Ben representing them."

Charlotte Hanes