Gamma Sigma Delta
Honor Society for Agriculture
North Carolina State University

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Certificate of Merit

The Certificate of Merit honors faculty, alumni or other individuals who have made distinct contributions to agriculture through teaching,  research, administration or other service. Nominations are received by the Honors and Awards Committee with committee recommendations approved by the Executive Committee. Both members and non-members of Gamma Sigma Delta are eligible to receive the Certificate of Merit.

Previous award recipients

2007 Honorees

Dr. Thomas Isleib


The Honorable Steve Troxler
Commissioner of Agriculture
North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services

Commissioner Troxler (rt) receives Certificate of Merit Award from Dr. Johnny Wynne, Dean, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Commissioner Troxler was nominated for this award due to the service he provides to the citizens of North Carolina.  At the College we are thankful for the relationship we have with NCDA&CS.  Together we can make a difference in agriculture in North Carolina. 

Commissioner Troxler was raised in the Guilford County community of Browns Summit where he currently resides with his wife, Sharon. He graduated from NC State in 1974 with a Bachelor of Science degree in conservation, with a concentration in environmental studies.  Currently serving as North Carolina’s Commissioner of Agriculture, he has spent his entire career in agriculture, as founder, owner and operator of Troxler Farms, a family-owned farming operation that produces tobacco and wheat.  Commissioner Troxler has been active in a variety of agricultural and community organizations.

Commissioner Troxler’s service to agriculture in North Carolina includes serving on the Board of Directors of North Central Farm Credit Association; and the Board of Supervisors of the Guilford County Soil and Water Conservation District. He has also served as a board member and vice president of the Guilford County Farmers Organization, as a member of the Guilford County Extension Advisory Board, and on the board of the Guilford County Farm Bureau. North Carolina A&T University recognized Commissioner Troxler’s contributions by inducting him into Gamma Sigma Delta in 2005.

Dr. Thomas Isleib, Professor
Department of Crop Science
N. C. State University

Dr. Isleib (third from left) receives the Certificate of Merit Award from Dr. Thomas Stalker (lf) Crop Science co- nominator, Dear Wynne, and Dr. Daniel Israel, Soil Science co-nominator

Dr. Isleib was born in Ridgewood New Jersey.  His dad had many roles in the agricultural sector: working as an agronomist with the Farm Crops Department at Michigan State University, with Frito Lay Corporation in Dallas Texas,  and with Mineral and Chemical Corporation in Illinois  to name a few. Thus, Dr. Isleib had plenty of exposure to various aspects of agricultural research and regulation during his formative years and he initially thought he would have nothing to do with agriculture as a career. He had the opportunity to work with several plant breeding programs at Michigan State during his high school and undergraduate years. Some of the professors leading these programs inspired him to study plant breeding and to purse a PhD. The rest is history.

Dr. Isleib earned a BS degree in Crop and Soil Science from Michigan State University in 1976, a Master of Science degree in Crop Science from NC State in 1979 and a PhD in Crop Science and Statistics in 1982. He joined the Department of Crop and Soil Science at Michigan State University in 1982 where he rose to the rank of Associate Professor. He returned to the Department of Crop Science here at NC State in 1990 and has developed a world class program in peanut breeding. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in plant breeding and genetics.

His research led to an understanding of components that control peanut flavor and to screening programs that now produce high quality, good-tasting products. He has developed peanut cultivars with improved resistance to leaf spot, Sclerotinia limb rot, and tomato spotted wilt virus which have helped control the cost of production.

Dr. Isleib has released 12 peanut cultivars since he inherited the peanut breeding program in 1992 and these materials account for 75% of the Virginia-type peanut acreage in the Carolinas.  His cultivars are used widely in other parts of the US and internationally. He has distributed thousands of germplasm lines to other peanut programs in the US and abroad.

Dr. Isleib has acquired 6.5 million dollars in state and federal funding. In addition, cultivars released from his program have generated $2 million in revenue for the university.  

Dr. Isleib has served as advisor for many graduate students who are now making impacts on agricultural research. He and these students have published 93 articles in refereed journals. He served for six years as an associate editor for Peanut Science and brought insight and rigor to the evaluation of manuscripts.

In summary, this award is presented to Dr. Tom Isleib for his research accomplishments, his impacts on the peanut industry and his classroom and graduate student training activities.