RALEIGH, N.C. — The race for State Ag Commissioner pits marketing specialist and department veteran Britt Cobb against longtime Guilford County farmer Steve Troxler.
With 30-plus years growing tobacco and produce, Troxler touts himself as a candidate who has been there and done that in agribusiness.
"November 3, you're going to have a commissioner of agriculture that is a farmer," Troxler said. "I know what food safety is from the farm to the plate."
Cobb said he proved his worth when he was appointed to lead the department after a campaign finance scandal forced Meg Scott Phipps to resign. He overhauled the state fair bidding process to eliminate fraud. After winning widespread support, Cobb decided he wanted to keep the top job.
"I think we've shown a level of professionalism there in the department now," Cobb said.
Troxler said he does not dwell on losing a close race to Phipps in 2000. Instead, he focuses on protecting family farms from international competition and the lure of local developers.
"It's going to take the focus of the commissioner of agriculture to trying to bring young people back in, so we don't lose a total generation of agriculture people," he said.
"Farmers tell me they want someone that can help them sell their product more profitably and someone that can exert leadership to help them navigate the red tape," Cobb said.