Growing up, hard work and farming with her family became as natural as breathing air to Bethany Barnes Allison. As a child and young adult, she spent summers, school breaks and her free time growing sweetpotatoes, melons and more in one of the state’s sweetpotato hubs, Nash County. Now, although she is the regional sales manager for Nufarm and living in Massachusetts, she is still deeply rooted to North Carolina.
“It was a family fair,” Barnes Allison explained. Spring break meant filling up the greenhouse and summer meant getting plants in the ground and nurturing them through harvest. By then it was time to go back to school.
When it was time to leave the farm for college, Barnes Allison knew NC State University was the right place. A childhood of growing up cheering for NC State at football games (both of her parents are NC State alumni) “instilled a love for the wolfpack” in her. After starting her degree in Agricultural Business Management, she knew she had “found her people.”
The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (ARE) became a home away from home for Barnes Allison. She describes the ARE department as a smaller community that she could relate to. Talking to her classmates, she found out that they too were going back to their family farm over spring break to work in the greenhouses. While Barnes Allison still visited the farm back in Nash County during college, she also ventured to the UK, China and South Korea on study abroad trips. The trips furthered her knowledge of sales, consumer economics, and international trade. She also met her future husband, Grayson Allison.
“I have a lot to be grateful for, “ Barnes Allison said with a smile. She received the Outstanding Young Alumni Award at a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences ceremony in September 2021. She was recognized for her contributions as a student, specifically participating in the National Agricultural Marketing Association competition, and for her current success in agricultural chemical sales.
Fred Parker, teaching assistant professor, describes Barnes Allison as “professional, motivated, gifted.” After graduating in 2012, she worked for BASF in Florida before joining Nufarm in 2014. Starting out as a sales and marketing associate, Barnes Allison made several career advancements with Nufarm before landing on her current role as regional sales manager for the East US.
When asked what advice she would give to current Agricultural Business Management students she replied, “do not be afraid to pick up the phone and cold call to make a connection…I’m in sales and I still cold call.” She also encourages students to make connections with alumni and attend networking events put on by the department and CALS Career Services.
Barnes Allison learned the meaning of hard work at a young age. A strong work ethic and success in the industry makes her a shining example of what it means to be an ARE outstanding young alumna.