Agriculture, Forestry & Food
Rich in resources and culture, Harnett County has a long history in agriculture and as a leader in areas such as poultry production and forestry. The industry has grown by 10% from 2007 to 2012, and a new face of farming has cropped up, from newer family-owned farms pursuing organic and sustainable practices, to those that have shifted from tobacco to other crops, including sweet potatoes, strawberries and greenhouse vegetables. In 2012, the market value of products sold from Harnett County farms exceeded $190 million. The Harnett County Center of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension partners with communities to deliver education and technology that enrich the farming network.
A new hospital and the ongoing expansion of a campus devoted to science and technology are just two of the latest developments in Harnett County's growing health care and social assistance sector. Brightwater Science & Technology Campus, a mixed-use medical, retail and business park in Lillington, welcomed the new Central Harnett Hospital in 2013, joining the long-standing Betsy Johnson Hospital in Dunn as part of Harnett Health System. Both hospitals are managed and operated by Cape Fear Valley Health System, extending available health science resources even further. Also within the Brightwater Campus is a new medical training facility for Central Carolina Community College. Harnett County’s “health care corridor” also includes Campbell University’s schools of Osteopathic Medicine and Nursing, and East Carolina University’s regional dental community service facility, establishing Harnett County as a center for medical services and technology.
Manufacturing is one of Harnett County’s largest employment sectors. While many parts of the country lost manufacturing jobs during the recession, Harnett County is home to more than 100 diversified manufacturers including Boon Edam, Godwin Manufacturing and Grey Metal South, Inc. Collaborative efforts like Central Carolina’s Apprenticeship Works, which provides high school seniors with apprenticeship opportunities in machining, tool and die, and welding technology, and Harnett County Schools’ Advanced Manufacturing Academy ensure that local talent is skilled and ready to support the ever-changing manufacturing sector.
Military & Defense
Harnett County is at the heart of an industry sector known as the All-American Defense Corridor. Companies specializing in defense and homeland security, such as Saab, Inc., Armtec Defense Technologies and Gould & Goodrich, Inc., enjoy the strategic advantages Harnett County offers. Nearby Fort Bragg, the largest military installation in the world, offers access to military business opportunities along with a steady stream of skilled, knowledgeable military retirees and former service people who provide expertise and a capable workforce for local companies.
The presence of Interstate 95 and close proximity to Interstate 40 and other major transportation routes provides a competitive advantage to Harnett County’s rapidly growing transportation and distribution industry sector. Whether moving raw materials or finished goods, people or services, transportation routes in Harnett County link businesses to suppliers and regional, national and global markets. The well-established Food Lion Distribution Center and recently opened 1.5 million-square-foot Rooms To Go regional distribution center and retail store anchor Harnett County’s private industry economy and this growing industry sector.