NC State, NC Horse Council Forge Partnership Focused on Equine Industry

The leadership of North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine and College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the NC Horse Council met recently to discuss needs and opportunities for the state’s equine industry. The equine industry is a vital component of the North Carolina agricultural industry, providing a major contribution to the state’s economy. It helps connect the people of this state with animal agriculture in a positive relationship.

North Carolina ranks as one of the top 10 equine states with a population of over 205,000 horses. We use 559,000 acres of land in the state for horse-related purposes, and there are active horse enthusiasts in over 30% of households in the state. An economic impact study conducted in 20171 showed that the equine industry added $2 billion to the North Carolina economy, with over 25,000 people working directly in the industry. When full accounting of the additional impact on tourism and other industries is taken into consideration, the total economic impact of the equine industry in North Carolina is $3.44 billion, supporting over 36,000 jobs. Ms. Sue Gray, Executive Director of the NCHC commented: “These statistics clearly demonstrate the important contribution of the equine industry to animal agriculture in this state.”

In order to support the continued growth and success of the equine industry, there is a clear need for educational programs and facilities that can train the next generation of animal scientists, veterinarians and equine experts. Equine health care and research are amongst the most important resources for the industry. NC State just completed construction of a new $3 million equine reproduction clinic in Raleigh which will open this spring. This new facility will provide vital clinical services to the industry and will serve as a premier training center. Both veterinary and animal science program students will utilize the space to learn the skills they need to succeed as future industry leaders.

NC State and NC Horse Council leadership have begun to discuss critical opportunities that would further develop state-of-the-art programs and facilities to fully support equine education in the state. Looking to the future, the newly formed partnership plans to bring other stakeholders together to further identify needs and opportunities that can continually build the equine industry and strengthen the state’s economy.

1American Horse Council Foundation (2017). North Carolina Economic Impact Study.

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