Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Mike Davis to discuss “Today’s Topic.”
With the start of a new year, two NCDA&CS employees have been promoted into leadership roles, including Kaleb Rathbone as a new assistant commissioner for Western NC Agricultural Programs and Small Farms and Teresa Lambert as director of the Research Stations.
- I talk a lot about how proud I am of the employees of the Department of Agriculture. This week I am pleased to announce the promotion of two employees into new leadership roles in the department.
- Kaleb Rathbone, who has been serving as director of our Research Stations Division, is being promoted to assistant commissioner of Western NC Agricultural Programs and Small Farms.
- This is a newly restructured position that focuses on our programs and facilities in Western North Carolina. In addition, Kaleb will be overseeing our Small Farms efforts as well.
- Kaleb is replacing longtime ag employee Bill Yarborough, who served as a special assistant to me. He’ll have big shoes to fill because Bill was a go-to person in Western North Carolina for farmers and agribusiness owners.
- Bill also made sure I was aware of any agricultural issues or concerns in the area. He did a tremendous job.
- In addition to those responsibilities, Kaleb will also be responsible for overseeing agricultural programs and facilities in the area and small farm efforts statewide.
- We have a lot of facilities and resources in Western North Carolina, including the WNC Farmers Market, WNC Ag Center, the N.C. Mountain State Fair, and others. Kaleb will oversee the managers of those operations.
- Teresa Lambert will step into Kaleb’s old position. She brings over 26 years of experience with research stations and cooperative extension to the job.
- Most recently, Teresa has served as superintendent of our Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury.
- She holds a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree in poultry science.
- Research Stations will play a critical role as we work to improve agricultural production and increase yields to meet significantly larger future food needs.
- We operate 18 stations across the state in partnership with N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University. Each station has unique soil and climate features that allows research to represent the farming conditions you will see across the state.
- Teresa’s on-station experience will be helpful as stations look to develop new plant varieties, increase yields and improve efficiency.
- In the long run, what researchers learn on the station will help growers confidently adapt new practices with better results, and that is the bottom line.
- We have so many excellent employees with the department. I am glad we are able to promote from within, but I am even more pleased that we can keep these talented folks focused on North Carolina agriculture.