Wednesday, August 31, 2016 Finding Your Path to CALS

Written by Dr. Richard H. Linton, Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at North Carolina State University.

Nearly everywhere I go, it seems the conversation always includes concerns about student access or acceptance to a 4-year undergraduate degree – especially for kids from rural and farming communities. We hear this message loud and clear, and I want to let you know our college is fully committed to helping all qualified students find their path to CALS.

Paths to CALS

CALS is open for undergraduate students, and we are growing existing initiatives and developing new ones to help students access the college. We now have different paths to meet the needs of different students that are applying to CALS.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 Back to School with Ag in the Classroom

Written by Michele Reedy, Ag in the Classroom Program Director

With this sweltering August heat it might not feel like summer is ending, but it’s back to school time for thousands of students across the state. Families are soaking up those last few days of summer before their school routines begin, and teachers are preparing their classrooms and wrapping up professional development. It’s an important time of year when administrators and teachers evaluate which programs, teaching trends, and curriculum will best prepare our students for the future.

As you are aware, it’s difficult to talk about education and new educational programs without discussing the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (known as STEM). In fact, STEM education is the committed focus for many North Carolina schools and is explained by the U.S. Department of Education as, “more important than ever for our youth to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to solve tough problems, gather and evaluate evidence, and make sense of information.” That’s why North Carolina Farm Bureau created and supports a unique educational program that focuses on STEM education. Since North Carolina Farm Bureau is the largest agricultural non-profit in the state, the program is built upon the integration of agriculture as the foundation for STEM education. This program is called Ag in the Classroom.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016 Agriculture Technology Spotlight: Drones

A couple weeks ago we talked about the growing use of drones in agriculture and outlined some of the policies surrounding drone usage. This week, we’d like to turn the spotlight back onto drones and provide some cool facts about how this technology is being used to help farmers improve yields, use inputs more efficiently, and increase profitability.


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Wednesday, August 10, 2016 Grassroots in Action

Last week, North Carolina Farm Bureau held its annual Policy Review Day. No, we’re not talking about insurance policies, but rather policies that address emerging issues and areas of concern to North Carolina farmers. Things like labor, transportation, property rights, taxes, regulatory reform, and more. It’s a day for NCFB’s farmer members to come together to talk about what’s going on at their farm, and to start figuring out how to solve tomorrow’s problems.Photo by John Lambeth

Just a quick bit of background: North Carolina Farm Bureau is the state’s largest general agriculture organization. We have more than 500,000 member families, of which more than 40,000 are farm families. We have members in all 100 counties representing all of agriculture – row crops, animal agriculture, tree farmers, fishermen, beekeepers, small farms and big farms, conventional and organic. We’re not a government agency, we’re a non-profit. Our mission is to advocate for farm and rural families.

Photo by John LambethWe’re a true grassroots organization. We have thousands of farmers from all over the state who actively participate in the policy development process to tell us what they need. Those farmers and the policies they enact guide the organization. NCFB’s policies and programs seek to preserve, support and improve agriculture in our state. These policies protect farmers and rural families and help ensure that our nation’s supply of food, fiber, and other commodities is safe and abundant, now and in the future.

Photo by John LambethEvery year, this process of developing ideas into policy kicks off with Policy Review Day, continues through the fall, and concludes at NCFB’s Annual Convention. During the fall, thousands of farmers weigh in on policy resolutions at meetings in all 100 counties. Before any of these resolutions can become official policy, they must be vetted by a 100-person committee and approved by 600 voting delegates. Both the committee and the delegate body are comprised of North Carolina farmers representing all 100 counties in the state.

Photo by John LambethThis process is grassroots in action. It provides the foundation for every decision, program, and activity we undertake as an organization. And frankly, it’s something we’re proud of. And it’s why elected officials and decision makers turn to Farm Bureau as “The Voice of Agriculture™”.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016 A Summer with Farm Bureau

This week’s post is written by Catherine Harward, a rising senior at North Carolina State University. As a Warren Leadership Fellow, Catherine spent this summer interning with North Carolina Farm Bureau learning about public policy and agricultural advocacy.

Three years ago, I never could have imagined where I would be today. If someone would have told me that I would be interning in agricultural policy for the largest agricultural organization in North Carolina, I would have shook my head in disbelief.

Me at 10 years old, helping with my family’s livestock market

To give you some background, I grew up on a beef cow/calf operation in Stanly County raising purebred and commercial cattle with my father, mother, and four sisters. Even though my dad has all daughters, he never allowed any of us to think because we are girls we could not work on the farm. Since I was little, I enjoyed riding with my dad to feed cows, check fences, and vaccinate the herd, among other work. As I grew older, I became increasingly active in my family’s cattle operation in addition to our livestock marketing businesses. We market cattle across North Carolina and in adjoining states, keeping all members of our large family busy and involved in the family businesses. In my spare time, between school, sports, and the farm, I showed cattle at fairs and exhibitions, sparking my interest in youth agricultural organizations. I loved growing up in a farm family, and I appreciate the life lessons the farm taught me that have motivated me to work hard and to be successful.

I realized that even if you are not interested in politics, it still affects you, and it is crucial that we have farmers at the table helping to make decisions.

Over the past three years as a college student, I acknowledged my increasing passion for agricultural advocacy. Farm Bureau’s Young Farmers and Ranchers program at NC State opened my eyes to the diverse avenues for advocacy and the power of networking. I met various professors who motivated me to look into my passions and purpose in agriculture. Each time, my passions circled back to cattle and advocacy. I never had a great interest in politics and tended to shy away from those discussions. However, reality hit me over time and I began to recognize how important it is to have people working in agricultural policy to keep farmers farming. I realized that even if you are not interested in politics, it still affects you, and it is crucial that we have farmers at the table helping to make decisions.