Perspectives On Line: The Magazine of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
NC State University

Fall 2001 Contents Page Features Leaps of Faith PatchworkCommunity Service 4-H's New Gem Mission PossibleCollege Profile
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From the Dean College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Rouzer is College's
commodities connection

The legislature is in session when Rouzer (left) catches up with Rob Blizzard (center), assistant to Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight, as well as Peter Daniel of the N.C. Farm Bureau. / Photo by Herman Lankford

David Rouzer’s connections to North Carolina agriculture go back to an auspicious family tie — to the Sodfather himself, Jim Graham, North Carolina’s long-time Commissioner of Agriculture. Graham’s father bought the family’s first model A Ford from Rouzer’s great grandfather.

“I remember it well,” recalls Graham, who in retirement serves as executive in residence with the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “I was in high school. It was a black sedan, and Dad let me drive it some.” Now the former commissioner and Rouzer, director of commodity relations in the College, are colleagues.

“I’ve always had an interest in agriculture,” says Rouzer, whose uncle gave him his first tobacco crop to tend when Rouzer was 10 years of age. His tobacco work on a Johnston County farm help put him through N.C. State University.

Rouzer scored somewhat of an academic hat trick at the university between 1990 and 1994, earning three bachelor’s degrees — in agricultural business management, agricultural economics and chemistry. Now he’s back on campus, in his second year as director of commodity relations.

In that role, Rouzer serves as a liaison among the College, the university, commodity groups and governmental agencies that pertain to agriculture. He works with both the state and federal levels of government. He also advises the College’s dean and directors on commodity relations and governmental affairs.

When the legislature is in session, Rouzer spends much of his time helping commodity groups stay up-to-speed on the latest developments downtown.

According to Dean James Oblinger, Rouzer performs a very important role for the College.

“David is making a significant impact in helping our commodity organizations and the state’s decision makers — most of whom are no longer from an agricultural background — understand how the agricultural programs of our College work in support of the state’s agricultural sector,” says Oblinger.

Rouzer’s commitment to serving North Carolina’s agricultural community has not gone unrecognized. In 1999 he received the President’s Award from the North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation — a rare honor, according to Peter Daniel of the N.C. Farm Bureau.

“This award is not an annual award,” Daniel says. “It is given at the discretion of the president to individuals who demonstrate outstanding service to our clientele. David gives 110 percent of himself to North Carolina’s farmers.”

Rouzer, who previously worked on Capitol Hill as part of U.S. Sen. Jesse Helms’ staff, is now very content working in his current capacity with the College — and busy.

Late last summer, he organized a congressional tour to further educate various national leaders about North Carolina agriculture. “People tend to forget that even though we have traditionally been known for tobacco, we rank third in agricultural diversification in the country,” he says. The tour highlighted the ongoing research and extension efforts in blueberry and peach production and the College’s turfgrass and aqua-culture endeavors.

“This job provides a great avenue for me to use the experience I gained working on Capitol Hill while continuing to work with the farm leaders of North Carolina,” he says. “The fact that I can make this contribution while serving the College that has given me so much makes it all the more special.”

—Andy Fisher


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