7 jars of locally sorced honey. Credit: Ahmod Goins

Agriculture in Sanford and Lee County

Growing Towards the Future

Sanford’s history in agriculture is as rich as the soil it’s planted in, and the industry still plays a major economic and cultural role in the city—as well as the state of North Carolina—today. Sanford’s farmers are strongly community-oriented, relying largely on direct-to-market sales founded on the farmer and consumer relationship. Throughout Lee County, consumers support local agriculture business through farmer’s markets, community supported agriculture or even a simple roadside stand.

Sanford’s farms are as functional as they are beautiful, and the city supports a thriving agritourism industry. From berry picking to hayrides to getting lost in a corn maze, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Sanford’s wide variety of farms. Whether you’re a farmer, recreational strawberry picker or business entrepreneur, the opportunities to get involved in Sanford’s agriculture industry are endless.

Fast Facts

13% of Employment

in Lee County provided by agriculture and agribusiness.

NC State – Lee County Census Infographic

Person holding freshly dug-up sweet potato Credit: Agriculture-Cooperative Extension

Fast Facts

10% of North Carolina’s Agriculture

is done in Lee, Moore and Richmond counties.

NC State Agriculture Profile

Freshly picked strawberries in green baskets. Credit: Cooperative Extension

Fast Facts

#1 industry in North Carolina

Agriculture contributes $91.9 billion to the state’s economy

NC State Agriculture Profile

Farm owner stands smiling near farm's sign. Credit: Cooperative Extension

Fast Facts

$54 Billion Total Ag Products Sold

By 250+ farms in Lee County.

NC State – Lee County Census Infographic

Baskets of fresh vegetables. Credit: Cooperative Extension

% Share of Sales by Farm Type

Major Employers

Diversifying the Industry

Agritourism provides an additional revenue venture for many farmers in Sanford and throughout Lee County, as well as a unique investment opportunity for entrepreneurs interested in the industry. Plenty of resources are available for those involved in or interested in the agritourism industry, such as the North Carolina Agritourism Networking Association. The member driven non-profit organization serves agritourism farmers and professionals throughout North Carolina and surrounding states promoting networking and growth within the industry.

Explore popular agritourism businesses in Sanford.

Farm visitors pick fresh strawberry's from patches. Credit: Cooperative Extension

Learn by Doing

A love for the land starts early in Sanford, and the city provides a variety of resources for young people and their families to learn more about the agriculture industry while getting their hands dirty (literally). 4-H is a free educational program encouraging youth education and involvement in areas like agriculture, health, science, horticulture and citizenship.

Children and young adults ages 5 to 19 years old can join 4-H and complete hands-on projects that further connect them to their community, teach them important skills in leadership and community care, and prepare them for the future workforce.

Person holds fresh blueberries in their hands. Credit: Cooperative Extension

Rooted in Community

The Lee County Farmers Association provides farmers in Sanford and the surrounding area a network to share information and stay informed on current research-based agricultural practices. The non-profit organization hosts a yearly series of educational meetings addressing relevant topics in the agriculture industry and topics of interest for members. Speakers at these seminars include university specialists, area agronomists, and chemical and seed company representatives.

Two people buy bouquet of flowers from farmers' market stand. Credit: Cooperative Extension

Have Questions? We are Here to Help!

Bob Joyce