Local News

Phipps Settles in as N.C. Ag Commissioner

Posted January 11, 2001 6:00 a.m. EST

— As the agriculture industry has changed dramatically in North Carolina over the past several years, so has the role of of the state's Commissioner of Agriculture. The new commissioner is learning to fill her predecessor's big shoes.

Meg Scott Phipps is the first new Commissioner of Agriculture in 36 years and the first female commissioner in the state's history. She has not had much time to think about being the first woman to hold the office.

"I don't think of it as being very significant," she says. "I think it's probably more interesting to have someone who is from the baby-boomer generation."

Not only is she following in the steps of Jim Graham, but she is also the daughter of former Governor Bob Scott and grand-daughter of former Governor and Commissioner of Agriculture Kerr Scott.

"To think I can look out that window and see the Capitol and to sit here in the room where, at the same spot, where my grandfather sat, it tells you how quickly time goes by," she says. "That's for sure."

Phipps has had to hit the ground running. A state budget shortfall and economic hardship on farms are some of her immediate challenges. Still, there have been a few funny moments that point out this is a new day.

"I did have one e-mail from someone who had seen me on television, and they just wanted to know where I got the suit I had on," she says.

Phipps brings more than just a gender change to the office. She brings a technology-friendly, baby-boomer mindset to her role as the state's top agriculture role.

Phipps has decided not to move to Raleigh, choosing to stay in Alamance County. She feels it is important to look out of her kitchen window and see cows, not cars.