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Harnett County's greatest source of income is from agriculture and agricultural products. The preponderance of the population is either engaged directly in agriculture or derives a major portion of its income from the economy created by agricultural pursuits.

However, Harnett County is now moving into the industrial development phase. Community planning is being undertaken on an unprecedented scale and new leadership is emerging which holds promise of broadening the county's economic base. The western and southwestern portion of Harnett County could easily become the playground of East-Central Carolina. The terrain, the geological character and its proximity to large and growing metropolitan areas place this portion in an excellent competitive position. Therefore, Harnett County is now positioning itself as a serious contender to attract biotech industries. For years North Carolina has ranked among the nation’s top three states for the number of biotechnology and related industries. “This county has what biotech industries want,” said Teddy Byrd, Chairman of the Harnett County Board of Commissioners. “A study five years ago confirmed that biotech is what Harnett County needs. Buying land to create an infrastructure is a great step in the right direction.”

The state initiative targets rural areas specifically, because biotech brings clean, high-paying jobs to replace declining numbers of manufacturing jobs, according to the report called “Laboratories of Innovation: State Bioscience Initiatives 2004.” “In addition to being high-paying, biotech jobs also cut across a range of occupations and skill levels,” said Dr. Bill Taylor, an Associate Professor with the Campbell University School of Pharmacy, who has worked in the biotech industry for more than two decades. “Biotechnology” is a rather broad term that encompasses a range of industries. The agriculture and pharmaceutical industries are two for which N.C. is known internationally. Other biotech companies concentrate on medical devices, manufacturing, healthcare, research and testing and distribution of products.

Major Industries of Harnett County:

Harnett County Schools
Food Lion Distribution Center
Campbell University
Harnett County Government
Betsy Johnson Regional Hospital
Energy Conversion Systems
SAAB Barracuda, LLC
Edwards Brothers, Inc.
Machine & Welding Supply
Champion Homes
Godwin Manufacturing Company


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