Sunday, June 16, 2024

State leaders launch NC Ag Leads program

North Carolina’s $103 billion agriculture industry has a new backer in the form of a strategic planning effort supported by key industry forces.

NC Ag Leads is intended to help the industry take advantage of key trends and opportunities. The Golden LEAF Foundation and the NC Chamber Foundation announced the plan Thursday, including a steering committee that includes N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.

N.C. Farm Bureau and Google are also providing funding.

“NC Ag Leads is about coming together, discussing and establishing priorities, identifying things we can control, and building on our deep agricultural foundation to move the industry forward,” Troxler said in a release.

The NC Chamber Foundation plans to bring together agriculture stakeholders to address key topics that affect commodities grown in the state and strengthen the state’s role in agriculture.

Ray Starling, who is NC Chamber general counsel, and Laura Kilian, associate state legislative director at NC Farm Bureau, will lead the NC Ag Leads process. They will be directed by a steering committee that includes Troxler, NC Farm Bureau President Shawn Harding, NC Chamber CEO Gary Salamido, Golden Leaf CEO Scott Hamilton and Golden LEAF board members Lawrence Davenport, Laurence Lilley and Don Flow.

AG Leads’ first project involves research and discerning key opportunities within the state’s agriculture industry. Plans call for the study to be completed by next June. A second phase of delivering on some of those opportunities is expected to happen in the second half of 2024.

Organizers expect the strategic planning program to establish priorities that can strengthen the productivity and economic vitality of N.C. agriculture.

Golden LEAF will be the lead funder in the initiative “that will broaden our impact in rural and economically distressed areas,” Hamilton said. “NC Ag Leads will deliver a roadmap of clear and actionable steps to best prepare North Carolina to continue to be a leader in agriculture into the future.”

David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg
David Mildenberg is editor of Business North Carolina. Reach him at

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