N.C. Agriculture is an international endeavor

by | Jun 29, 2022

We Are Agriculture is a year-long series that will highlight the hard-work done by employees across the Department of Agriculture. Zach Mussler, International Marketing Specialist with our Marketing Division, is one of those employees. Stay tuned each Wednesday here on the blog or any of our social media accounts and join us in honoring those who continue to drive our state’s agriculture industry forward each day!

Agriculture is a passion that has always fueled and inspired International Marketing Specialist, Zach Mussler. Growing up with a grandfather who was a watermelon broker and a stepfather who was a landscaper, Zach was surrounded by agriculture from the moment he was born. “Since my grandfather was a watermelon broker, I attended many watermelon conventions and meetings with him and always loved both the people and the atmosphere,” he said. “By the time I got to college, many people were suggesting I major in Ag Business at NCSU, since agriculture had been my life for so many years, and it has opened up many opportunities for me ever since.”

During his Junior and Senior year of college, Zach worked for the House Principal Clerk’s office at the General Assembly’s office where he met many NCDA&CS employees, who eventually hired him to work in N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler’s office as a temporary employee. “I started out in that position as a temp, but after six months, the position became permanent and they hired me full-time as an Administrative Assistant,” he said.

After a year and a half, Zach took a job in horticulture marketing, where he worked with Christmas tree and nursery growers across the state. “I really enjoyed this position and it gave me a lot of knowledge that I continue to use today in international marketing,” he said. In 2019, he took his current position as International Marketing Specialist, where he continues to work with nursery growers who export to other countries from our state. “The export market has grown exponentially over the past decade,” he said. “North Carolina farmers export to a variety of countries outside the United States, which makes them all the more valuable as they work to not only feed our nation, but the world at large.”

Throughout the year, Zach is responsible for many tasks, including inbound trade missions, digital marketing and social media, the implementation of salesforce reports and travelling to visit industry professionals for a variety of digital marketing and export activities. “Building relationships is a vital part of this position and it allows me to see all sides of the industry because I am working with farmers, brewers, forestry experts, marketing specialists, shipping managers and more,” Zach said, “which is one of the reasons that I love what I do so much because it gives me a well-rounded view of the agriculture industry and all the hard-work that we do.”

Although he has not had the opportunity to professionally travel internationally yet, Zach truly enjoys the travel opportunities he has had within our state and looks forward to broadening that scope by venturing across the ocean. “Anytime I am able to get out and network with others across the industry and help promote them, their products and their work, is an honor,” he said. “Not only do I get to build stronger connections within the industry, but I get to explore new places and help promote the great name of North Carolina agriculture overseas.”

Throughout his eight years with the department, Zach has seen a lot of changes to the industry, especially in the digital marketing realm. “Video is extremely popular for us now, more so than it was when I first started,” he said. “We have really been able to use this technology to help international agriculture step into the 21st century and better market products to consumers on a variety of platforms.” He has also been witness to many exciting events in the international space, including the recent signing of the China Trade deal. “In this position you have to be aware of what is going on globally at all times,” he said, “and it is really neat to have a front-row seat in watching these things that benefit N.C. farmers and make marketing their products overseas easier from the start of the process to the finish.”

Working to expand the name of North Carolina agriculture overseas gives Zach a lot of pride that his work is making an international difference. “I love what I do, especially when I start seeing brands or products appear overseas that we helped get there or start talking about expanding into other countries,” he said, “it’s an honor to know that I have a hand in helping these hard-working producers expand their brand name and globalize their products.”

When he is not working, Zach can be found spending time with his black lab, Kobi, relaxing on the beach or hanging out with friends at any live sporting event he can get tickets for. Join us in thanking him for all of his hard work expanding the knowledge and products of N.C. Agriculture across the world!