Farming Tips for Grape Growers in North Carolina

Find your dream farm at Legacy Farms and Ranches of North Carolina

Find your dream farm at Legacy Farms and Ranches of North Carolina

For the majority of its history, winemaking has been an established industry in North Carolina. For farmers that are looking to start a grape growing operation in North Carolina, there are plenty of resources available. Here are some tips to help you get started as a grape grower in North Carolina.

Choosing Land for a Vineyard

North Carolina growing regions are subject to a variety of conditions including extreme heat, rapidly temperature changes, spring frosts, humid and hot growing seasons, all of which could have a considerable impact on crop yield. As a result, land selection must be done carefully based on your requirements for profitability. Becoming a successful winegrape grower in NC means that you must not only select the right varieties of grapes that will grow well in your area, there must also be an established commercial market that you can tap into to ensure the profitability of your operations.

What Varieties of Grapes Are Grown in North Carolina?

Chardonnay grapes are the top grape variety that is currently grown in North Carolina. Starting in the 1980s, there was a major shift towards growing vinifera, or European style bunch grapes, in North Carolina. While this type of grape is popular, several grape species are grown in North Carolina thanks to the varied climates. North Carolina features four Viticultural Zones. The best way to evaluate whether a variety of grapes will do well in a specific zone is to have a look at the maps available on the website of the North Carolina Wine and Grape Council, Inc.

Requirements for Establishing a Winery in North Carolina

If your vineyard will also include a winery, it must be registered with the North Carolina wine office. Registering can also help to boost your business by making it eligible for inclusion in all marketing materials that are distributed by the North Carolina tourism websites. Wineries are also subject to a Wine Excise tax in North Carolina which is payable to the N.C. Department of Revenue.

Resources for Grape Growers

North Carolina has several established organizations that are designed to aid farmers in learning about the winemaking business. These organizations include NC Winegrowers Association, NC Muscadine Grape Association, and Goodness Grows in NC program.

North Carolina Winegrape Grower’s Guide

This guide is published by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension and has been created in order to assist North Carolina growers with producing high quality grapes for winemaking. The North Carolina Winegrape Grower’s Guide covers all of the details of grape growing including how to select a site for a vineyard and establishing and operating a commercial vineyard in North Carolina. The guide even covers issues such as spring frost control in order to assist farmers with learning about conditions that are unique to the North Carolina growing region.


Getting Started With Specialty Crops in NC

We are looking for Ag Land of all sizes for buyer client needs. If you have Ag property with open fields for crops please call us today at 919-749-3177.

Looking for Ag Land tracts for specialty growers in North Carolina can be simpler with a solid business plan, an experienced real estate agent, and good consultants.

Getting Started With a Specialty Farm

Specialty crops can help to bring in higher prices because they are not widely grown in a particular region. However, developing a crop plan, buying land and handling all aspects of planting and harvesting for your specialty farm requires that you work with local experts. Here some tips for starting your specialty farm in North Carolina.


Specialty Crops Grown in North Carolina

The idea of specialty farming in North Carolina originally began as a method of weaning farmers off field crops (primarily tobacco, soybeans and maize) in order create regional demand for other crops. While there are some large operations, the majority of specialty farms on North Carolina rural land are small-scale farms. Today, high-value, specialty crops that are grown in North Carolina include:

  • strawberries
  • peaches
  • blueberries
  • tomatoes
  • asparagus
  • seedless watermelons
  • lettuces
  • muskmelons
  • floriculture

Many growers opt to grow multiple specialty crops on a single farm in order to increase revenues. Finding land with the right soil quality and weather conditions is the first step to planning your specialty farm.

Selecting Land for Your Specialty Farm

Specialty crop farms in North Carolina can be subject to varying levels of risk depending on the region in which the farm is located. Some areas in North Carolina are prone to high natural disaster risks while others feature distinct weather patterns that can put farms at risk for experiencing high winds, excessive heat, freezing temperatures and heavy rain.

A map created by researchers at Rural Advancement Foundation International-USA indicates where specialty farms are located in North Carolina and where disaster declarations were made from the years 2008 through 2012 in order to help farmers assess the risks. As a result, if you want to choose the best place to buy land for your specialty farm in North Carolina, you should make sure that you opt for a region that will offer the potential risk and return levels that you feel comfortable with.

North Carolina Specialty Farms

The North Carolina Specialty Crops Program website can provide more information on how to start a specialty farm in North Carolina. Although, this program has not been active since 1998 due to a lack of funding, the site continues to operate in order to provide informational resources for farmers and entrepreneurs. The site, managed by North Carolina State University and Cooperative Extension, offers the links to the results of on-farm trials and research reports that look at the costs and returns of producing various specialty crops in the southeastern United States.

A professional real estate agent experienced in farm and land sales can help you to select the right North Carolina investment property for your needs. Legacy Farms and Ranches can assist you with specialty farm land sales in Wake, Franklin, Nash, Johnston, Halifax, Warren, Vance, Granville, Durham, Orange, Alamance, Chatham, Lee, Harnett, Caswell, and Person counties. If you are searching for North Carolina farmland or acreage for sale, call Gardner at Legacy Farms and Ranches at (919) 749­-3177.

North Carolina Farmland for Sale

Farmland for Sale in North Carolina

Find your dream farm at Legacy Farms and Ranches of North Carolina

Find your dream farm at Legacy Farms and Ranches of North Carolina

The backbone of America was built on open, arable farmland – the rich, black soil that represented centuries of accumulation of biomass like leaves, shrubs and even whole trees.

This soil, still being “built” when European farmland was rapidly being depleted by crops, remains a mainstay of this nation’s wealth, with individuals, businesses and investment firms pinning their hopes for a rich financial future on land our forefathers cleared and planted, often with a single plow and a mule.

This is true across much of the Southeast United States, and nowhere more so than in North Carolina, where land values – even in the wake of the biggest recession in U.S. history – are held high by factors well outside purely agricultural considerations. In fact, excluding the Piedmont and mountainous areas, North Carolina land has appreciated between 2007 and 2012, from $2,000 an acre to well over $5,000 by some estimates. This, even though post-recession open land values are still down, largely due to pre-recession inflated development value (as opposed to agricultural or commodity value).

As the American economy recovers, however, non-farm investments are becoming more appealing. This includes open land – for example tillable land retired due to government subsidies or falling commodity prices, though the latter is unlikely in a market increasingly hungry for food, particularly meat products, which support the commodity price of row feed crops like corn and soybeans.

Nothing quite underlines and supports the overall fiscal health of a country like land.

Good open land, rich in detritus over decades of cultivation, supports row crops like field corn, soybeans, wheat and rye, all of which add directly to a nation’s supply of commodity foods. Other row crops, like peanuts, cotton, tobacco, and sugar cane, re-enter the commodity stream as manufactured items like cloth, oil, cigars, and processed sugar. All, as bulk or processed products, contribute heavily to the kind of crop diversity essential to a nation which is self-sustaining.

The problem that arises in the minds of farmers, farmland brokers, and land investment firms is the potential of a farmland (i.e., open land or tillable land) “bubble”, very much like the one that took place in the 1980’s. In any analysis of open, tillable land costs, one has to consider the Federal Reserve’s stance – called “quantitative easing” – which sets interest rates close to or at zero.

However, when evaluating open, tillable land for long-term investment rather than commodity support, underwriters and investors have to look to the future, and sometimes far into the future, to determine how high interest rates will rise, and how those rates will determine the viability of capital improvements. This potential pressure could well keep farmland prices lower for an appreciable period, but does not necessarily suggest a bubble burst.

What else makes North Carolina farmland desirable, either as cropland or tillable land, or as an investment?

One item is diversity. Production of food, of fiber or wood products, and of meat, milk and dairy, puts North Carolina No. 7 nationally in terms of farm profits, for more than $3.3 billion dollars annually via a vast net of 80 different commodities grown on a quarter of the state’s total acreage.

Not only does the state lead in the production of hogs and turkeys, but it stands at No. 2 in terms of Christmas tree profits. Not surprisingly, North Carolina has, in the past few years, even become a major player in the aquaculture industry (farm-raised trout and catfish). And with the decline in tobacco revenues, the state has broken even or often surpassed itself in other areas, ranking first in the U.S. in sweet potato production, second in poultry and poultry products (both chickens and turkeys), and also in the size of trout raised and sold direct-to-market.

And the other item lending strength to North Carolina land prices?

Climate, of course! Nowhere else in the contiguous U.S. can one find the range and scope of micro-climates, from the inner and outer coastal plains to the Piedmont and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Somewhere within this array, all of which support agreeable, even clement summer and winter temperatures, can be found the perfect weather for the retiree, and the perfect financial climate for the canny land investor looking for a product that will appreciate over time in spite of climate change.


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