Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives
Farm Credit 100 Fresh Perspectives

A. Blake Brown
Professor/Extension Economist, North Carolina State University, and Farmer

Boone, North Carolina
Farm Credit Affiliation
Carolina Farm Credit
Blake's Perspective

Dr. A. Blake Brown is a professor in the North Carolina State University (NCSU) Department of Agricultural & Resource Economics, and an economist with NCSU’s Cooperative Extension. Raised in the North Carolina mountains on a small cattle, produce and tobacco farm, he is now a farmer himself raising pastured beef and registered Angus cattle.

Dr. Brown has spent his adult life working to improve the future of North Carolina’s rural communities and agriculture with his leadership of the North Carolina Value Added Initiative, his economic and policy analysis for peanuts, cotton and tobacco, and his direction of the NCSU Agricultural Leadership program. His policy work toward the 2004 Tobacco Buyout, which was worth approximately $12 billion to the region’s rural economies, was recognized by the president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau.

Dr. Brown directed the NCSU Value Added Initiative from 2010-14, a program that provided cost share of over $1.3 million to 70 farmers, producer groups and agricultural businesses; this had an annual economic impact on the North Carolina economy of over $7 million and created approximately 35 new jobs.

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

Dr. Brown recently assumed leadership of NCSU’s Ag Leadership program. The program accepts 35 young agricultural leaders into a 50-day, two-year intensive executive development experience. This program continues to be nationally recognized and serves the need for leadership training in rural North Carolina communities. He 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.”

To do so, he adds, “We need a vibrant agribusiness sector to complement our strong farm sector, and a supply of creative and skilled young people coming into both farming and the agribusiness sector.”

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