The 2024 primary election season is well underway. For those that want to vote early, early voting runs through March 2 and voters in North Carolina can do same-day registration at a precinct of their choosing. If you’re voting on Election Day, March 5, then you’ll have to go to your assigned precinct. You can find that info here.

The agriculture commissioner’s primary goal is protecting, maintaining and enhancing the ability of agriculture to produce an adequate supply of food and fiber and to enforce regulations. Commissioners are elected to four-year terms and have no term limit.

One Democratic candidate and one Libertarian candidate have also filed without contest and will thus move on to the November general election.

Read on to learn more about the Republican candidates running in the primary.

Steve Troxler (i)

Incumbent Steve Troxler has held the position of agriculture commissioner for the last 19 years. First elected in 2005, Troxler studied conservation at NC State University and grew tobacco, wheat and produce as the owner and operator of Troxler Farms.

Troxler was originally a member of the Democratic party but left in the late 1990s because of the party’s sentiment towards tobacco.

He’s the past president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and served as a former chairman of NASDA’s Food Regulation and Nutrition Committee.

As of January, Troxler had raised about $4,000 and had almost $14,000 ending cash on hand.

Colby (Bear) Hammonds

Conservative Colby Hammonds was raised on a cow-calf farm specializing in hay and row crops, according to his website. Like Troxler, Hammonds also graduated from NC State University, but with a degree in animal science. Hammonds also served in the military for 33 years with the army national guard and army reserves.

Today, Hammonds runs a small family farm, Hammonds Land & Cattle, in Wake County.

According to reporting by NC Newsline, Hammonds was denied a platform at public events controlled by allies of incumbent Steve Troxler in the lead-up to this year’s primary election.

In early February, Hammonds approached the Southern Farm Show at the State Fairgrounds to see if he could rent space to set up a booth for his campaign, to which he was told that there was no more space. Hammonds then asked if his opponent, incumbent Steve Troxler would have a booth. The organizer told Hammonds that he would not. But then, on opening day, Hammonds attended the event only to see a booth advertising Troxler and his campaign.

According to the organizer’s rules, the booth was rented out by supporters of Troxler and not the candidate himself. In this case the Tobacco Growers Association of North Carolina had rented the space to campaign on behalf of Troxler.

“The situation at the Farm Show is one of several political snubs Hammond said he has encountered while running for office,” NC Newsline reported.

On his website Hammonds includes supporting local farming initiatives, reducing government regulations on agriculture and reversing the trend of farmers’ land loss among his campaign platforms.

Hammonds has raised more than $1,700 and had -$65 cash on hand as of January.

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