Burke County, North Carolina, has all the ingredients food and beverage businesses need to succeed. In addition to having access to 160 million hungry consumers within a single day’s drive, local food processors and beverage manufacturers don’t have to go far for the agricultural inputs they need. The nation’s second-largest pork and turkey producer, North Carolina is also a leading source of other crops, including peanuts, sweet potatoes, corn, soybeans, apples, peaches, strawberries, and blueberries. In Burke County alone, more than 500 farms produce significant supplies of top commodities like beef, poultry, eggs, corn, and wheat.
Food and beverage producers enjoy easy access to business and consumer markets in all directions, with great connectivity and a central location that places us within a day’s drive of 160 million consumers. Interstate 40, which bisects the county, puts local agricultural inputs within easy reach, and makes it easy to ship products to markets nationwide. The world is within reach as well, with five Atlantic ports less than six hours away.
ABUNDANT AND AFFORDABLE UTILITIES
Food and beverage producers have a healthy appetite for utilities, and our local utility providers are up to the challenge. Our public water supplies have plenty of excess capacity to meet the needs of even the thirstiest businesses. Facilities count on redundant and reliable electricity available through Duke Energy, the Rutherford Electric Membership Corporation (REMC), and public utilities through the City of Morganton and Town of Drexel. Affordable natural gas is available from Piedmont Natural Gas Company.
With a labor shed of 650,000 within a 45-minute drive, food and beverage producers are assured of a steady supply of workers. Young people have grown up around agriculture, and local schools do an excellent job of preparing them for the industry’s needs with career and technical programs focused on subjects like agricultural and animal science, horticulture, and food science and safety.