North Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Steve Troxler and state Sen. David Rouzer are the 2011 recipients of the Distinguished Service Awards, presented by the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation. The awards are given annually to individuals who provide outstanding support to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and N.C. State University. Troxler and Rouzer were honored Nov. 3 during the joint luncheon meeting of the North Carolina Agricultural, Dairy and Tobacco foundations at the N.C. State University Club.
The two were recognized for providing “great leadership, and advocacy on behalf of our citizens, agriculture and higher education in North Carolina,” said Dr. Johnny Wynne, CALS dean, who hosted the event. Assisting Wynne in making the presentations were Jim Smith, chairman of the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc.; Kevin Howell, NCSU assistant to the chancellor for external affairs; and Chris Wessel of CALS Advancement.
Troxler is a 1974 graduate of N.C. State with a degree in conservation. Since taking office in 2005 as commissioner of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Troxler has focused on developing new markets for N.C. farm products, preserving working farms and protecting the state’s food supply.
He has also been a partner with and advocate for the College and N.C. State: Troxler serves on the boards of the N.C. Agricultural, Dairy and Tobacco foundations, and he has recently served as featured speaker for a series of classes for CALS students. Under his leadership, the NCDA&CS collects funds for the Nickels for Know-How Program that generates about $1.3 million annually in support of the CALS research, extension and academic mission. NCDA&CS and CALS also jointly manage 16 research stations across the state.
In accepting his award, Troxler said, “I’m always so pleased to be here among the leaders of North Carolina agriculture. I’m so proud of the partnership between the NCDA and N.C. State.”
And as it was two days before the N.C. State/UNC-CH football game, he then made a more topical reference to recent comments from the UNC coach, including his claim that the Chapel Hill campus is the UNC system’s “flagship.” Said Troxler, to the delight of his audience, “Whatever kind of ship we [at NCSU] are, we haul the food, and all the rest of them are dead in the water if we’re not there.”
Rouzer is currently serving his second term as a state senator, representing Johnston and Wayne counties. A resident of McGee’s Crossroads, he earned three N.C. State degrees in agricultural business management, agricultural economics and chemistry. He currently owns and operates a business consulting firm, as well as a distributorship marketing environmentally friendly products. Previously, for more than a decade, he was involved in public policy development and implementation, public relations and legislative strategy through his work in the Legislative and Executive branches of the federal government, as well as through his work for N.C. State University.
On Capitol Hill, Rouzer was a senior staffer for former U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms and former U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Dole. Highlights include his work on various provisions in two Farm Bills and the 1999 Hurricane Floyd disaster recovery legislation. He is also noted for his role as a senior staffer in crafting and securing passage of the tobacco quota buyout, which was of critical importance to eastern North Carolina.
In between two stints of service with Helms, he was assistant to the dean and director of commodity relations for the College, working with numerous constituencies and across various disciplines to promote and advance the mission of the College.
“I want to thank the College for all it’s done for me personally,” said Rouzer. “Without the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State, this state would not be where it is. Agriculture is a $75 billion industry for North Carolina, and the College is vitally important in that effort.”—Terri Leith