North Carolina Horse Industry Growing

The North Carolina Horse Council announced April 5 that the referendum vote on the Horse Industry Promotion Assessment held March 9 passed with a 95% favorable vote. The vote authorizes the continuation of the $2 per ton voluntary assessment on horse feed sold in North Carolina.

"The feed assessment has provided essential funding to the North Carolina Horse Council to meet a wide variety of needs throughout the horse industry," said Casey M. Armstrong, president of the North Carolina Horse Council. "Revenue from the horse industry in our state is estimated to be over $704 million annually, so it makes a huge impact to the North Carolina economy. The employment of more than 10,000 people in North Carolina is directly or indirectly linked to the industry.

"I am very excited about the wide range of horse activities which have been started and expanded during the first six years of promotion assessment funding," Armstrong continued.

More than $400,000 from referendum funds has been returned to the industry through grants and sponsorships to support 4-H, REINS adult education (Regional Equine Information Network System, a volunteer program that assists in the education and development of the North Carolina Horse Industry), trails advocacy, equine research, representation in local, state, and federal legislatures, marketing programs for the horse industry, stricter enforcement of laws controlling horse and tack theft, transport of horses, and humane treatment of all equines, plus improved public awareness of equine infectious anemia and other threats to horses' well-being.

Grants awarded for 2004 totaled $54,790 and were divided as follows: $10,180 to equine research; $37,400 to education and related programs for youth and adults; $2,210 to marketing of the industry; and $5,000 to the State Animal Response Team to assist in the training, equipping, and exercising of the County Animal Response Teams (which respond in disasters or emergencies) throughout the state.

The North Carolina Horse Council continues to work to identify and address the needs of its diverse and rapidly growing industry.

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