Assessing the Impact Horses Have on Economy
The North Carolina horse community is currently participating in a far-reaching study to assess the industry's statewide economic impact and identify opportunities for growth. The North Carolina General Assembly has provided funding for the study at the request of the horse industry. More than 40 organizations, including all of the major statewide equine associations, have endorsed the effort.
"Our legislators don't know how big the Horse Industry is in North Carolina," says Dr. Fred McCashin of the Carolina Equine Clinic in Southern Pines. "The equine industry needs to take its place as an important agri-industry."
"I was on a conference call with the North Carolina Rural Center a month after they launched this survey. They sent out 10,000 surveys via mail and are disappointed they have had only a 5-6% response. They need a 30-40% response before the survey will be meaningful to our North Carolina General Assembly. We need to encourage horse people to take the survey on the Web site."
The study seeks to be all-inclusive, taking in all breeds, the three large horse sectors (showing, racing and recreation) and all associated activities. It will include three major components:
1. A survey of horse owners, farms, training facilities, veterinary practices, trailer and building suppliers, feed suppliers, and other horse-related operations and businesses. This will determine the value of equine assets and the number of people involved in all types of equine activities.
2. Analysis of the economic impact of the equine industry, in total and by industry segment. The analysis will include an examination of exhibition facilities and support programs and services offered by public and private institutions.
3. An action plan to maximize the industry's contributions to North Carolina's economy. This will include identifying opportunities for growth; recommendations for facilities, programs and services to increase economic impact; and an evaluation of laws, rules and policies that may hinder or that can enhance North Carolina's attractiveness as a center of equine activities and operations.
What will happen when the final report is completed in January 2009? Possibilities include: preservation of additional land for equestrian use, including farmland and other open space, protection of essential water supplies, improvement of laws and regulations governing the equine industry, new public or private investments in equine facilities, enhanced communication among buyers and suppliers and greater income generation through more effective marketing.
To participate in the survey, go online to http://survey.ecu.edu/ perseus/se.ashx?s=0B87A6562862A907
The surveys do not require signatures or other identifying information.
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