Lendy Johnson is a jack of all trades in her current role as Organizing Director for the North Carolina Farm Bureau; however, its main objective is to defend the agricultural industry.
“It’s hard not to support agriculture in North Carolina. It is the state’s most powerful and important economic engine. Our state’s past, present and future depend on this industry, ”says Johnson, a 2006 and 2011 graduate of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
“I take care of people and help them be the best advocates for agriculture and keep our organization strong and respected as it has been for the past 86 years,” she adds.
Farming spans generations throughout the Johnson family. Although she didn’t grow up on a farm, the Caswell County native comes from a bloody farming family.
“My mother stayed with her aunt and uncle who had a tobacco plantation. They grew a lot of their own food and had their own cows, ”says Johnson.
She always had an appreciation for it, which grew throughout her time in high school. As a freshman at Bartlett Yancey High School, Johnson became involved with the North Carolina Future Farmers of America Association (FFA). She has held various leadership positions and credits that experience for instilling a deeper love and respect for agriculture.
“In my senior year, I thought I was going to college to be a doctor. I had all of my preconditions, ”Johnson says. “But we had been going to NC State all through high school for different events.” During these events, she met several teachers who taught agriculture and extension.
“I liked the vibe and they felt like family and friends. I really like this culture, ”shares Johnson. She also knew that she wanted to report to the FFA state office and was not quite ready to give up her agricultural education experience.
Johnson graduated from NC State University in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education and began teaching agriculture at Millbrook High School in Raleigh.
“Teaching has been a rewarding and enriching experience for me. Then I wanted to go back and get my masters to teach agricultural education to future teachers. I really had a passion for updating the curriculum we were teaching because I felt our current curriculum was behind schedule, ”Johnson said.
After completing her Masters in 2011, Johnson immediately began working at the North Carolina Farm Bureau as a Field Representative.
“The Farm Bureau is engaged with local politicians and elected officials up to our state congressional delegation to talk about issues that impact farmers, their operations and their communities,” says Johnson. In 2015, the organization’s president promoted Johnson to his current post.
“I work closely with the President, helping him manage some of his day-to-day responsibilities. I coordinate our annual conventions and work with county organizations, while helping to maintain our scholarship programs and partnerships, ”she says.
Johnson says it’s great to be a part of something that is integral and important to the future of North Carolina, the country and the world.
“You couldn’t find a better group of people engaged in agriculture. We may have differences of opinion, but at the end of the day, everyone is working together for the betterment of our farmers and our state. It’s gratifying to be a part of it.
Johnson was honored as an Outstanding Young CALS Grad at the annual CALS Alumni Awards on September 18.