“We Do That!” – Marketing in NCDA&CS

by | Mar 26, 2024

“We Do That!” That’s the title theme for a new video series from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It’s about all the many different types of jobs within the department, and the title is a reflection of that. If you can think of a type of job, there’s a chance “We Do That!” in the department – from the fields of research farms to the laboratories that test for animal disease and food and drug safety. It takes lots of jobs to service the people of North Carolina through the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Across the department’s 26 divisions, you’ll find jobs in the field that deal with plants, animals, farmers markets or ag centers, pesticide regulations, pollinators, meat processing, truck driving and forestry, just to name a few. Many jobs in the department are also based in offices or laboratories, from veterinary or agronomic testing, to accounting, legal services and marketing. The series begins with Commissioner Steve Troxler talking with Ashley Thomas from the Marketing Division.

Watch this video for the conversation about her job and/or read the transcript below.

Commissioner Troxler:
I’m here with Ashley Thomas today, and I’m going to ask her a few questions about being an employee of the Department of Ag, and I know how much she enjoys it. So I’m going to let her tell you about some of the things she does.
Ashley:
Well, I’m a Marketing Specialist III with Domestic Marketing. I cover pork, poultry, eggs, meat, processors, soybeans and corn. I work with the farmers who raise those commodities, the different trade associations and the industry affiliates. Within the marketing division, we have a lot of different subsections. So we have the ag centers and farmers markets, international, business development and communications. This allows us to all work together to see how we can best meet the farmers’ needs.

Commissioner Troxler:
I know we do so many things there’s hardly an average day, but what would an average day for you be like?
Ashley:
Well, I’m with you like that. There is no average day in marketing. So some of our top priorities within the division is how can we increase value to farmers and how can we create a positive perception of agriculture? So sometimes this means that I’m out in the field visiting with growers, listening to their concerns. Sometimes I’m partnering with different subsections, with buyer visits directly to the growers or processors. I might be partnering with commodity associations on how can we educate consumers on what our farmers do. And then sometimes it’s all hands on deck for special events like the N.C. State Fair or Got to Be N.C. Festival. This is one of my favorite parts about the job is the ever changing pace and a diverse set of projects we get to work on.

Commissioner Troxler:
What drew you to agriculture and working in agriculture?
Ashley:
So it’s a pretty simple answer for me. It’s what my family does. I grew up on a farm in Timberlake, North Carolina, where we have tobacco, corn, wheat, soybeans and a hog operation. During college, I was struggling on what career path I should take, but agriculture kept calling me home. So after school, I was very fortunate to begin a job where I was able to work with farmers on a daily basis, and it didn’t take me long to learn that I wanted to work with them daily and serve them daily through whichever road God led me down. So it is my life mission to serve God, my family and the farmer.

Commissioner Troxler:
How does what you do tie to everyone in North Carolina, and why is it important to everyone that we do well in ag?
Ashley:
So agriculture is important to everyone. Our most common connection usually starts with food, but when it comes to agriculture, it actually is the clothes on our back, the fuel in our cars, the medicines that we can take, the materials that build our homes. With this being $103-billion industry here in North Carolina – I know you like that number – it’s really the everyday things, the everyday parts that build up our life all lead back to the farm gate and the family farmers who are the backbone of the state.

Commissioner Troxler:
I hope you feel like I do – working for the Department of Ag is, we’re one big family, and we work for the same goals every day and enjoy working with one another. So there’s no better place to work.
Ashley:
I couldn’t agree more. I think I’ve heard you say this is, it’s a job of servitude and that is something I agree with, and I enjoy doing.