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Rathbone hired for state ag role

Waynesville resident Kaleb Rathbone is now serving as an assistant commissioner to N.C. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, overseeing Western N.C. agricultural programs and small farms. 

Rathbone most recently served as director of the Research Stations Division, leading the state’s 18 research stations scattered from the mountains to the coasts. Prior to that he was superintendent of the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville for nearly eight years and served as that station’s research specialist for more than five years. He replaces Bill Yarborough, who recently retired as special assistant to the commissioner and will assume additional duties and oversight as an assistant commissioner. 

Rathbone is active in the community, serving in advisory and leadership roles with Carolina Farm Credit, Haywood Community College, and state and local Farm Bureaus and Cattleman’s Associations. He holds both a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of Tennessee.

Teresa Lambert of Laurel Springs, formerly superintendent for the Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury, will take over Rathbone’s old job. 

“Both Kaleb and Teresa started working with the department in temporary positions at research stations during college, eventually returning to full-time positions and rising through the ranks,” said Troxler. “Their long-term commitment to agricultural advancement and innovation speaks to their drive to move North Carolina agriculture forward, help improve the bottom line for farmers and ensure we meet growing global food demands.”

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