NC Commissioner Troxler: SASDA Update from Williamsburg

The Southern Association of State Departments of Agriculture meeting this week in Williamsburg, Virginia. I’m Mike Davis, and on site, we have our own reporter embedded on the front lines, and that is North Carolina Ag Commissioner Steve Troxler. Commissioner, what are some of the issues that are front and center for you at SASDA this week?

We had a presentation from Dr. David Kohl of Virginia Tech, and he is a renowned ag economist, and he talked about the big picture, worldwide things, what’s happening with China, what’s happening with India, Brazil being a major player, and so, you know, seeing the big ticket things. One of the things that he talked about was the transfer of wealth. I believe he said about 2040, or a little beyond that, the majority of the wealth will be in females’ hands. So you’ve got that. You’ve got population dynamics, especially in China, where the one child rule was in effect for 35 years, and now they almost have no workforce. Their population has aged to the point that they’re not able to work. They’re retirement aged. And then you couple that with their stock market, lose over about 35%, and the average Chinese person has most of their wealth invested in their homes. And the value of real estate is down considerably, so you know all these worldwide dynamics with India coming on, and their population has an average age of about 29, so they’ve got a lot of workers in India, as opposed to China having a declining workforce.

Commissioner, in your opinion, how would you say that North Carolina in particular, and the US as a whole, is positioned to address these issues across the globe?

Well, I think we’re well positioned. He stressed that technology and bioengineering, those two things are going to play a big role. I mean, there’s going to be stumbling blocks. No question. Right now, low commodity prices are a problem, and the whole world has got a boatload of debt, which seems to stifle economic expansion.