Andrea Ashby

Andrea joined the department in 1996 after nearly six years as an award-winning reporter at both daily and weekly newspapers in the state. She earned a bachelors degree in Communication Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A native of Forsyth County, Andrea's first agriculture "job" was putting tobacco sticks in place for the stringers to do their jobs.

Study underway to help farmers produce malting barley for breweries

By on June 17, 2019

If NCDA&CS Agronomist Kristin Hicks has her way, in a couple of years North Carolina beer brewers and malting houses will have access to more locally grown malting barley rather than having to source that ingredient from farmers in the

Backyard Blog Tips: Moss problems

By on April 10, 2019

If you want tips for greener yards, perkier plants and healthier soils, then follow along with the Backyard Blog Tips, a monthly column from agronomists with the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Agronomic Services Division — yes, the

NCDA&CS Agronomic Services Division is much more than just soil testing

By on April 3, 2019

File this under “Learned Something New Today,” but I didn’t know that April 1-5 is recognized as Agronomy Week. In fairness, it’s a relatively new celebration, marking just it’s third year. The week offers us a chance to highlight some

N.C. Forest Service grows hemlock seedlings for the first time; limited supply available for sale March 4

By on February 27, 2019

The N.C. Forest Service Nursery and Tree Improvement Program grew both Eastern and Carolina hemlock for the first time at the Linville River Nursery in 2018 as part of a test program. Having never grown hemlock seedlings, nursery managers wanted

Not too late to get your fresh North Carolina Christmas tree

By on December 12, 2018

The fifth time proved to be the charm for Christmas tree grower Larry Smith of Newland. Smith won the National Christmas Tree Association’s annual tree contest on his fifth try, and with it, the right to provide the official White

The adult spotted lanternfly is shown in this picture.

Plant pest specialists on the lookout for the pretty, but perilous spotted lanternfly

By on April 2, 2018

The adult spotted lanternfly is shown in this picture. The spotted lanternfly sounds like it might be a cute bug to have around, but it’s not. Plant pest specialists are asking for the public’s help in looking for this invasive

High fives for the N.C. Farm to School Program, which helps put healthy, locally grown produce into school cafeterias across the state. Interactive mascots help engage students during special events and programs.

NCDA&CS serving the needs of today’s littlest consumers, too

By on July 31, 2017

This month, we’ve been highlighting some of the consumer services offered by the department as we mark the 20th anniversary of the addition of “& Consumer Services” to the department’s name. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler likes to tell people that

David Welch is being posthumously recognized by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as a Recovery Champion for his conservation work.

Late NCDA&CS employee posthumously honored as a Recovery Champion by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

By on July 19, 2017

“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence, making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” — Sheryl Sandberg By all accounts, David Welch left a lasting legacy through his work with the Plant Conservation Program

Students find NC strawberries sensational; Farm to School program shatters strawberry sales record

By on June 5, 2017

North Carolina school students definitely have a soft spot in their hearts when it comes to local strawberries. For the second year in a row, the N.C. Farm to School program has seen record sales of strawberries to participating schools,

Brenda Blake, left, and nursery and greenhouse area specialized agent Amanda Taylor, right, discuss plant production.

Blake Farms’ greenhouse business blooming with assist of agronomic and production advice

By on May 8, 2017

Brenda Blake of Blake Farms in North Wilkesboro is pretty comfortable raising chickens, vegetables and the grain crops that are part of the family farming operation. After all, the Blake family has been in the farming business since 1978, with