Brown honored for developing young agricultural leaders

Professor Blake Brown, director of the Agricultural Leadership Development Program, has been recognized as one of 100 leaders in the United States who are changing rural communities and agriculture for the better.

Brown and his colleague Sarah Blacklin of the Center for Environmental Farming Systems were among the national roster of visionaries named last week through the Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives search.

“I love working with and for farmers, especially those in North Carolina,” Brown said. “I also love farming and consider it an honor to be considered a farmer, albeit a part-time one.”

Brown is the Hugh C. Kiger Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and an economist with the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. Brown knows the Wolfpack well – he got his undergraduate degree in animal science at NC State, as well as his masters and Ph.D. His career at the university began in 1982 as a research assistant in the Department of Economics and Business, developing a biological and economic model of genetic improvement in beef cattle. He’s worked at NC State ever since

The two-year intensive program led by Brown provides an executive development experience for 35 young agricultural leaders. Students complete practicum projects, visit industry leaders and attend sessions with the University of North Carolina’s School of Government and with the N.C. Senate Committee on agriculture, the environment and natural resources. The program serves the key need for leadership training in rural North Carolina communities. At the helm, Brown has earned 62 grants worth more than $4.9 million to help improve agricultural communities in North Carolina.

“The diverse nature and specialized management skills of North Carolina’s farmers will serve them well in meeting global as well as local demands,” Dr. Brown says. “With rapidly increasing global demand for food, the demand for agricultural products will also increase rapidly. Our farmers have the ability to provide large scale commodity products and also important specialty products to meet these demands.”

Farm Credit launched the Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives program as part of its 100th anniversary of service to rural communities and agriculture. As a Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honoree, Brown joins an impressive list of leaders in agriculture and rural enterprise.

Selected by a panel of experts on rural matters, including Farm Credit leaders and others from around the agriculture industry, honorees like Brown are among the best-of-the-best who are positively shaping what is next for rural communities and agriculture.

“Farm Credit has supported rural communities and agriculture for 100 years, and we understand the vision and commitment it takes to remain successful as rural America evolves and changes,” said Todd Van Hoose, president and chief executive officer of the Farm Credit Council. “The Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honorees are inspiring examples of leaders who are creating a brighter, more vibrant future for rural America.”

For a complete list of the Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives honorees, visit

About Farm Credit

Farm Credit supports rural communities and agriculture with reliable, consistent credit and financial services, today and tomorrow. Farm Credit has been fulfilling its mission of helping rural America grow and thrive for a century by providing farmers with the capital they need to make their businesses successful and by financing vital infrastructure and communication services. For more information about Farm Credit, visit

-C. Kellner and J.J. Richardson


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