The chemical plant and fertilizer zone on North Carolina’s Outer Banks has grown by about 2,000 acres in the past two years, according to a new report.
A similar growth trend has occurred in neighboring Georgia and Virginia, according a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.
The agency also said the region has seen an increase in the use of fertilizers.
North Carolina has about 6,300 acres of the zone, according the report.
It’s not clear if the growth rate has been driven by increased use of chemicals or if the area has seen the growth because of warmer weather.
The area is also growing faster than most other parts of the state.
About 20% of the total acreage of the North Carolina Zone in 2013-2014 was in the chemical plant-fertilizer zone, the USDA said.
That percentage rose to 29% in 2015, and has since been at about 30% according to the latest USDA figures.
The USDA reported the growth in the North Dakota Zone, a zone encompassing all agricultural land and wetlands, increased by about 3,000 hectares.
The growth was almost double that of the chemical zone, which grew by 3,600 hectares.
In 2016, North Dakota recorded the highest growth rate in the nation, according with the USDA.
In Georgia, the growth was even higher, with the growth at more than 16% in the last two years.
The North Carolina Growth Zone is not a county, but encompasses much of the county’s agricultural land.
“There’s been an explosion in the number of counties that have been included in this zone, so we’ve seen more counties in the region,” said Kevin Smith, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’s program manager for agricultural development.
Smith said he thinks there may be a link to climate change, but he also said that the growth is not entirely surprising.
“The number of people in this area has increased over the past couple years and that’s probably an indication that climate change is impacting the food system in the area,” Smith said.
But it’s unclear if the increase is due to warmer weather or if warmer weather has brought in more chemicals.
Some environmentalists have pointed to a spike in pesticides in the soil in recent years, and said there may not be enough research to draw definitive conclusions.
If the growth rates are due to a change in the amount of chemicals being used in the food supply, the increased amount of fertilizer in the zone is a problem, Smith said, adding that he believes the growth of chemicals in the surrounding area will have a negative effect on the soil.
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