North Carolina's research farms have a new leader. Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler recently appointed Alexander "Sandy" Stewart of Carthage, N.C., director of the Research Stations Division of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, effective Dec. 19.
"Agricultural research will become even more essential to farming success as farmers globally work to feed a growing world population with fewer available natural resources," Troxler said. "Dr. Stewart has the experience, management and research skills, and vision to lead this crucial division as it assists our research community in developing new agricultural practices and technologies that benefit our farmers and citizens."
NCDA&CS Research Stations Division manages 18 agricultural research facilities across the state, in partnership with N.C. State University's College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and with N.C. Agricultural and Technical State University. The stations conduct a wide range of research projects, including variety development, pest management, production techniques, conservation efforts and animal husbandry.
Stewart is a well-known figure in agricultural circles within the state and beyond. He recently served as a research assistant professor and Extension specialist with N.C. State University's Crop Science Department, where he was responsible for pesticide testing on tobacco and statewide Extension education programs. He also helped oversee more than 40 field trials on research station sites and on-farm locations.
Before joining NCSU in 2010, Stewart was a researcher and partner with AgriThority LLC, in Kansas City, Mo., where he managed contract research involving all major row crops, fruits and vegetables and forage sorghum across the United States and internationally for major agricultural firms. Prior to that, he served for eight years as an associate professor and cotton specialist with Louisiana State University's Agricultural Center.
Stewart earned a Bachelors of Science degree in agronomy from NCSU in 1995. He earned his master's and doctorate degrees in crop science from NCSU.
Stewart succeeds Eddie Pitzer, who retired in September.