RALEIGH — Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler today named Peter Thornton of Cary as the new director of the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Marketing Division. Thornton replaces Joe Sanderson, who retired in March after 34 years with the department.
“Peter has successfully led our International Section and efforts to market North Carolina agricultural commodities around the world. In his new role, I expect he will bring the same level of experience and enthusiasm to our overall marketing efforts including domestic and retail establishments and restaurants,” said Troxler. “Interest in locally grown products has continued to increase and we want to seize that momentum and expand opportunities for producers and agribusiness owners. I want everyone in North Carolina to know when you want the very best, it’s Got to Be NC Agriculture and we want to increase that brand awareness with consumers.”
Thornton has previously served as the assistant director of international marketing for NCDA&CS. Prior to joining the department he was the vice president of international marketing for the American Peanut Council in Alexandria, Virginia Before that, he worked in various positions in the Asia Division of the American Soybean Association in St. Louis.
Thornton is a member of the U.S. Trade Representatives and USDA Agriculture Trade Advisory Committee, the U.S. Department of Commerce Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee State and Federal Export Promotion Working Group, and a member of the N.C. District Export Council. He was honored with the Small Business and Technology Development Center’s Extension, Engagement and Economic Award of Excellence. He is a Certified Public Manager and a Kentucky Colonel.
Thornton earned his bachelor’s degree in economics from American University and his master’s degree in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He and his wife, Kim McCombs-Thornton, have three children, Matthew, Andrew and Tad.
The mission of the Marketing Division is to develop and expand markets, using both domestic and international channels for the state’s $95.9 billion food, fiber and forestry product industry and to engage and educate consumers about North Carolina products.