Members of the Ashe County Democratic Party attend a forum held by Jenna Wadsworth, a candidate for NC Commissioner of Agriculture.

From Left: Ray Russell, Ben Massey, Chilton Rogers, Jenna Wadsworth, Ralph Sorrell, Carol Coulter, Beth Sorrell, and Chelsea Blount from New River Conservancy. Those in attendance who are not pictured are Melba Jones and Carolyn Weckstrom.

JEFFERSON — Jenna Wadsworth, candidate for NC Commissioner of Agriculture, held a forum at Family Central on Jan. 31. Several local residents, including N.C. Rep. Ray Russell, braved the cold and snow to hear Wadsworth's message.

After introductions, Wadsworth spoke of her background growing up on a farm in Johnston County in eastern North Carolina.

She graduated from the NC School of Science and Mathematics and NC State University with two degrees. In 2010 at the age of 21, she was elected to the Wake County Soil and Water Conservation District Board of Supervisors becoming the youngest woman ever elected to public office in North Carolina.

She continues to garden on several acres of her family farm.

During the round table discussion Wadsworth spoke of ways to support small family farms and local farmers markets, including possible changes in the tax code.

She talked of tackling climate change by building resiliency and sustainability into farm plans. There was also a discussion of how to promote cultivation of hemp and cannabis and changing laws to make this happen.

Finally there were discussions on expanding rural broadband, healthcare, and social justice issues for farmworkers.

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