BROWNS SUMMIT, N.C. – Steve Troxler has seen a lot of changes in North Carolina agriculture over the past 16 years.
He's been the N.C. Agriculture Commissioner all that time, but has been a farmer for much longer. He says the technology advances and diversification of crops have helped the industry.
He and his wife bought their Browns Summit farm in 1975, where he grows organic tobacco and has entered the agritourism industry, renting out the land for weddings.
“It’s just been a very rewarding life to be able to to farm and then become the Commissioner of Agriculture,” Troxler says.
In running for a fifth term, he's hoping voters see his experience and connections.
Taking North Carolina into the future, he says, will take national help.
“The relationships I have with USDA, FDA, the Environmental Protection Agency I think all play into that happening,” he says.
Agriculture is the largest industry in the state, at $92 billion. Troxler is ready to take it to over $100 billion.
“The larger the agricultural industry in North Carolina, the larger the food supply is for the people of the cities that can’t raise their own food. So keeping people fed in North Carolina has got to be a priority. Safety of that food supply is certainly a priority,” he says.