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Williams to serve on food manufacturing panel

Henderson County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tommy Thompson swears in Mark Williams, of AgHC, to the North Carolina Food Manufacturing Task Force Henderson County Board of Commissioners Chairman Tommy Thompson swears in Mark Williams, of AgHC, to the North Carolina Food Manufacturing Task Force

Mark Williams, the executive director of the farm-promoting nonprofit Agribusiness Henderson County (AgHC), will have a seat at the table when state leaders explore ways to expand the agriculture industry and create jobs.


Williams, who was appointed by Gov. Pat McCrory, was sworn in this month to the 35-member North Carolina Food Manufacturing Task Force, which will meet monthly for one year. Food processing and manufacturing could add 38,000 jobs and $10.3 billion to North Carolina’s economic output, a study by N.C. State University and the state Department of Agriculture said.
“We’ve got to play to our strengths in North Carolina and agriculture is our strength,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “At $78 billion a year, it is our No. 1 industry and there is room for growth.”
Made up of experts in agriculture, meat and dairy production, education, transportation and economic development, the task force includes Troxler, Richard Linton, the dean of NCSU’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Lt. Gov. Dan Forest and state Commerce Secretary John Skvarla.
“There’s opportunities in that area (of food manufacturing), some very strong ones,” Williams said. “From our standpoint, the networking opportunities (are great). There are only 35 members. Being connected with these movers and shakers in economic development and the university is going to benefit us.”
“It’s very, very exciting and it’s a really big deal for Mark to be put on this task force,” said Noland Ramsey, the immediate past AgHC chair. “For Henderson County and for Mark to be on the ground floor of this thing can have a huge benefit for us.”