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.

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

Tenita Solantol, owner and operator of Green Panda Farms, delivers microgreens to the Bulldega Urban Market in Durham.

Urban and small farms are a big part of the fabric of North Carolina’s agriculture industry

By on March 20, 2017

To celebrate N.C. A&T State University Small Farms Week, March 19-25, we are highlighting urban farmer Tenita Solanto from Raleigh. Staff from the NCDA&CS Small Farm Program works with small, urban and limited-resource farmers like Solanto, helping them access resources

Rohan Mohammed, a chemistry technician, loads the custom-designed automated dispensing unit that adds solutions to extract soil humic matter and plant available nutrients.

Agronomic Services lab making equipment upgrades with peak-season soil testing fees

By on February 22, 2017

New equipment at the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Soil Testing lab in Raleigh is helping speed up the time it takes to process soil samples, and is also adding to safer working conditions for employees. Funding for

Community rallied around firefighting efforts in Western NC

By on December 9, 2016

With firefighting crews stationed at numerous sites in Western N.C., it took a lot of volunteers, resources and coordination to keep the operations moving and to provide meals and necessities at multiple locations, several times a day for weeks.  But,

Crews battling wildfires get an early Thanksgiving meal thanks to volunteers and agribusinesses

By on November 23, 2016

Crews fighting wildfires in Western N.C. will enjoy an early Thanksgiving dinner today after volunteers, businesses and agricultural groups came together to provide the special meal. Volunteers with the Research Stations Division are cooking and will be feeding 250-plus at