RALEIGH – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced on Monday the promotion of Kaleb Rathbone of Waynesville to assistant commissioner for Western NC Agricultural Programs and Small Farms and Teresa Lambert of Laurel Springs as the director of the Research Stations Division.
Lambert fills the role created by Rathbone’s promotion. Rathbone replaces Bill Yarborough who retired as special assistant to the Commissioner, and he will also assume additional duties and oversight as an assistant commissioner.
“I am always pleased to have well-qualified and dedicated staff members step into new leadership roles at the department,” Troxler said.
“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. 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. I know Kaleb and Teresa will continue to serve our farmers well in these new roles.”
Rathbone graduated from the University of Tennessee with a bachelor’s degree in soil science and a master’s degree in Agriculture and Natural Resources management.
He most recently served as the director of the Research Stations Division, providing leadership, direction and oversight for the state’s 18 research stations from the mountains to the coast. Prior to that, he was the superintendent of the Mountain Research Station in Waynesville for nearly eight years and was also a research specialist there for over five years.
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.
Lambert graduated from N.C. State University with both a bachelor’s degree in animal science and a master’s degree in poultry science.
She brings over 26 years of state service to her new role, having most recently served as the superintendent of the Piedmont Research Station in Salisbury for nearly five years. Prior to that she worked for over six years with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service in Statesville and Sparta as an extension agent specializing in row crops and livestock. Lambert was a meat and poultry relief inspector for nearly five years covering processing facilities in 16 northwestern counties. In that role, she also provided on-site training to new employees.
She has also worked as a research technician at the Upper Mountain Research Station in Laurel Springs and a livestock extension agent in Winston-Salem.
Brad Graham, the crop unit supervisor and long-time employee of the Piedmont Research Station, will serve as the interim station superintendent.
Rathbone and Lambert have already assumed their duties.