Agriculture is one of Randolph County’s primary economic drivers; encompassing 1,500 farms, employing approximately 8,000 people, and generating 13.5% of the total dollar value produced by county businesses in the amount of $569 million in 2017. Randolph County agriculture ranks within the Top 10 North Carolina counties in eight essential agricultural production categories.
The concept of a Randolph County Agricultural Center has been discussed for many years among Randolph County’s agricultural stakeholders and especially since Randolph County acquired a 104 acre parcel on Highway 64 in southern Asheboro which has been targeted by the County Commissioners as the site for the future agricultural complex.
The proposed site of the Randolph County Agricultural Event Center is unique in that it will be located on 104 acres of land, purchased by the Board of Commissioners in 2016, having access to water and sewer, along with easy access to visitor amenities such as hotels, restaurants, and related business operations. Water and sewer will be provided by the City of Asheboro.
A feasibility study conducted by the Magellan Strategy Group, and funded by the Randolph County Tourism Development Authority, concluded that there are several potential benefits to Randolph County in developing an Agricultural Center at this location:
Agriculture – Randolph County is among the top two counties in the state for the production of beef and dairy cattle. Agriculture is a sizeable industry for the county, with nearly 1,500 farms. Randolph County ranked 9th in the state overall for livestock and crop farm cash receipts in 2015, and ranks among the leaders in the state for cattle, broilers, hogs and pigs, layers, and goats. A new agricultural center would bolster the competitiveness of the county’s farms and further establish it as a regional agribusiness hub.
Tourism – This sector is also big business in Randolph County, with 2015 visitor expenditures placing the county 35th among NC’s 100 counties. The agricultural center would enhance the ability to draw new visitors and complement existing attractions by attracting an estimated 10,600 overnight visitors per year. This is an outstanding site for an agricultural event center, with 438 hotel rooms within 5 miles and 303 rooms within 1.1 miles, and close to numerous restaurants, retail stores, and an interstate highway.
Agricultural Education – Randolph County has a significant number of teachers and students involved in agriculture education at the high school and middle school level, but often lacks adequate facilities for them. The center would also support development of agricultural degree programs at Randolph Community College (included in the Strategic Plan).
Community – By growing agriculture in the county, farmland is preserved for future generations and the county’s natural beauty is protected. The center could provide new dedicated meeting and conference space for a variety of functions.
Randolph County has invested $2,894,725 toward development of the Agricultural Event Center. This includes purchase of the 104 acres dedicated for this specific use and appropriate full facility master plans containing a large event arena, livestock arena, livestock barns, sales rings, an event center, and agricultural related offices. Estimated cost of the full project is $58 million.
Phase One of the project would include the agricultural offices, multi-purpose arena, livestock sales ring, housing facilities, and site development. Estimated cost is $27,180,491.
RESOLUTION TO REQUEST STATE FUNDING IN SUPPORT OF THE RANDOLPH COUNTY AGRICULTURAL CENTER
WHEREAS, Randolph County has a strong agricultural tradition, currently ranking first in beef cattle, top ten in cattle, chicken, and egg production, generating more than $568 million in value-added production; and
WHEREAS, county citizens identified in the County’s 2016 Strategic Plan the need for a local agricultural center to promote agri-business and enhance economic opportunities to farmers and growers; and
WHEREAS, in 2016 Randolph County Commissioners purchased 104 acres of land in Asheboro ideally located near hotels, restaurants, and other amenities; and
WHEREAS, the site is strategically located near the new Highway 64, allowing for easy access from central North Carolina to and from events; and
WHEREAS, City of Asheboro has expressed support to provide water and sewer services and intends to dedicate $1.2 million for this purpose; and
WHEREAS, Randolph County has invested $2,894,725 toward development of the Agricultural Event Center including purchase of 104 acres dedicated for this specific agricultural use and the appropriate full facility master plans; and
WHEREAS, the Randolph County Tourism Development Authority invested $33,798 for a feasibility economic impact study; and
WHEREAS, numerous county staff and volunteer man hours have been dedicated to this project; and
WHEREAS, phase one to construct this facility consists of the livestock arena and offices;
WHEREAS, this facility will be a regional asset for agri-business;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Randolph County Board of Commissioners does hereby request financial support of $10,000,000 from the State of North Carolina to assist with the construction of the livestock arena and grading of the site.
This the 1st day of April 2019.