After two years in his major of Plant and Soil Sciences with a concentration in Agronomic Business, including double minors in Animal Science and Agricultural Business, junior Alex Fox is really getting down to business.
He grew up as part of Fox Family Farms outside Statesville, North Carolina. “Beef cattle are our main commodity, but we have dairy cattle, do row crops and have two poultry houses as well.” His family has been in the farming business for generations. “My father, my grandfather, my great-grandfather: I’ll be a fourth-generation farmer.”
And when Alex is not on the farm or in the classroom? “I hunt and fish a lot. Especially like to fish: saltwater fishing, deep sea, in shore, surf, backwater; if it’s got a puddle and there’s a fish in it, I’ll try to catch it!”
Why did you choose NC State?
We’re always on the cutting edge, it seems. If there’s something new coming to North Carolina, as far as agriculture goes, the Crop and Soil Sciences Department is typically on the cutting edge, with innovating and adapting and testing to see if it’s an economical viable crop to grow in North Carolina.
What opportunities have you found?
I interned with Crop Production Services last summer. It’s a global company, but I was based out of Statesville and Yadkinville. I did a lot of crop scouting, crop consulting, application, fertilizing, herbicides, insecticides. I also learned a lot about the science behind knowing what needs to be put out on the fields over time. I’d go out, look at the field, and decide what actions need to be taken. Over the summer my confidence grew from being able to scout a field and give accurate recommendations to the farmers.
How are you using what you gained?
Right off the bat the chemical aspect was something that intrigued me. I have learned the ins and outs of it now. I can read a label and figure out the effects of a chemical on the environment, and what it can be safely mixed with. I liked dealing with the chemicals so much that I got my chemical license this year. I received my commercial and private applicator with plant, insect, and aquatic endorsements. I also made a lot of connections with people in the industry, from farmers to sales reps. This was one of the most valuable things that I got out of this internship.
What’s it like to be part of the NC State Wolfpack?
It’s the best school, in my opinion, in the country. The people are great, the atmosphere is great, the sports teams are great. I like that in a big school, you get the connections of a big school, but it feels like a little school at the same time. You seem to know most people, especially after a year or two in your major.
What are some of your goals after graduation?
Going to school has given me a solid foundation in the agronomic field, and being able to use this knowledge has helped me prepare for a career. I have gained a lot of experience. It was a great experience to intern with CPS over the summer, and I look forward to potentially having a career with Crop Production Services after I graduate. Or I might do something with the NCDA as a regional agronomist. I love seeing the diversity of agriculture across our state; it is so different from what I grew up around in western NC.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Eventually, I plan to return to the farm and take over. I like crop production. For example, hemp seems to be coming along, and stevia. I’m curious to see how they pan out. I’d be happy to grow them. It’s all about having a market to sell it to.
by Kaki Carl