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N.C. Industrial Hemp Commission

Pictured: front row, left to right: Billy McLawhorn; Dr. Sandy Stewart, Vice Chair; Dr. Tom Melton, Chairman; Guy Carpenter; second row:  Pat Short; Dr. Guochen Yang; Fen Rascoe; Chief Tony Godwin; third row: Sheriff Sam Page;

Commission Biographies

Thomas A. Melton, III, Ph. D.
Commission Chair
Governor appointed

Dr. Tom MeltonDr. Tom Melton currently serves as the Deputy Director of the NC Cooperative Extension Service (NCCES) and as State Program Leader for Agriculture and Natural Resources and Community & Rural Development Programs (ANR/CRD) at NC State University. He previously served as Interim Department Head in Crop Science, Director of the NSF Center for Integrated Pest Management, and as Assistant Director of NCCES for ANR/CRD. Prior to administrative positions he served as an Extension plant pathologist and Department Extension Leader at both the University of Illinois and at NC State University, where he was named a Philip Morris Professor. Dr. Melton also helps lead programs for individual faith development and for faith-based services to families in need.

He holds a B.S. in Botany and Master's of Agriculture in Integrated Pest Management from NC State, and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Illinois. Dr. Melton is originally from North Carolina and resides in Raleigh, NC. 

Alexander M. “Sandy” Stewart, Ph.D.
Commission Vice-Chair 
Commissioner’s designee

Dr. Sandy StewartDr. Alexander M. “Sandy” Stewart serves as Director of the Research Stations in North Carolina, which is jointly appointed position between NC State University and the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. He has responsibility and oversight of the 18 research stations in North Carolina.  He has authored or co-authored 34 peer-reviewed journal articles and one book chapter.  He was a member of the faculty at Louisiana State University from 2000 to 2009, serving as Extension Cotton Specialist and the Burch and Delta and Pine Land Professor of Cotton Production. Following one year as a private consultant working from Kansas City, MO, he joined the faculty at NC State University as an Extension Tobacco Specialist in 2010.

Dr. Stewart graduated from NC State University with a B.S. in Agronomy in 1995, an M.S. in Crop Science in 1998, and a Ph.D. in Crop Science in 2000.  He resides on and operates the family farm where he grew up, in Carthage, NC.

Guy Carpenter
Ag appointed, Business professional

Guy CarpenterGuy Carpenter is the President of Cape Fear Apparel in Wilmington, NC.  He has over 30 years of experience on 5 continents in global apparel manufacturing, sourcing, distribution and sales including nearly a decade of turnaround and crunch management consulting in both the public and private sector. His attention to textile quality evolved into a focus on both natural and manmade fibers. His education in hemp fiber processing and product development is derived from experience in China and Eastern Europe.

Mr. Carpenter earned a BA from the College of Charleston and an MBA in International Business from the University of South Carolina. He has served as both a Peace Corps Volunteer (Niger, West Africa) and in the U.S. Army (Airborne/Air Assault Calvary Scout).  He manages his business both internationally and from his residence in Wilmington, NC.

Chief Tony Godwin
Senate appointed

Chief Tony GodwinTony Godwin has been with the Cary Police Department since 1990 and the Chief of Police in Cary, NC since 2015. He is currently the Region Vii Director for the NC Association of Chiefs of Police and the Board Chairman for the Triangle Region of the Atlanta High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.  Chief Godwin has had the opportunity to serve in many different roles through the years, including Emergency Response Team Sniper, Sniper Team Leader, Team Commander, Bike Team Sgt., Undercover Narcotics, Criminal Investigations Lieutenant, Major over both the Operations and Services Bureaus, Deputy Chief of Police and currently the Chief of Police. 

Chief Godwin earned a BA in Criminal Justice from NC State University and Masters in Justice Administration from Methodist University in 2012.  He was born and raised in Wake County, NC. 

Billy McLawhorn
Ag appointed, Agricultural Consultant

Billy McLawhornMr. Billy McLawhorn is an independent agricultural consultant located in Cove City, NC.  He works with growers on soil and crop management systems, helping clients enhance their profitability with strong environmental stewardship. He has worked on research projects focused on water quality and efficient nutrient management also.  Mr. McLawhorn has held leadership roles and been an active member of many related organizations including NC Ag Consultants Assn, National Alliance of Independent Crop Consultants, and the Foundation for Environmental and Ag Education. 

Mr. McLawhorn graduated from NC State University with a Bachelor of Science in Agronomy.  He resides in New Bern, NC. 

Sheriff Sam Page
House appointed

Sheriff Sam PageSam Page has been the sheriff of Rockingham County since 1998. He is currently the Co-Vice Chair National Sheriff's Association Border Security and Immigration Committee and serves on the North Carolina Sheriff's Association executive committee. He is a member and previous Vice-Chair of the National Security Agency Border Security and Immigration Committee. Sheriff Page previously worked for the Ft. Lauderdale (Florida) Police Department, for the Rockingham County (N.C.) Sheriff's Office, and for the Eden Police Department in Eden, NC.

Sheriff Page served five years in the United States Military in the U.S. Air Force Security Police as a K-9 handler. He resides in Rockingham County, NC.

Francis Edward Nixon “Fen” Rascoe
Ag appointed, Farmer professional

Fen RascoeFen Rascoe is a sole proprietor farmer and has been for ten years.  Additionally, he has a partnership with his brother as commodity growers. They currently grow clary sage, peanuts, wheat, soybeans and kanaf. Mr. Rascoe performs agricultural unemployment insurance tax review duties and agricultural employer consultation. He gained valuable experience in farming operations and endeavors involved with all facets of farming operations with peanuts, corn, soybeans, cotton, and swine as a boy. Fen combines his farming skills with financial and accounting experience to additionally perform controllership and tax compliance duties for his own farming entities.

Mr. Rascoe earned a BA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Master’s of Science Administration from East Carolina University.  He resides in Windsor, NC.

Jay Patrick “Pat” Short
Ag appointed, Farmer professional

Pat ShortPat Short is a research grower for SynShark LLC.  Since 2014, he has partnered with them growing research GMO tobacco for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes. Mr. Short is a former research manager at the Oxford Tobacco Research Station for the Department of Agriculture. He serves as the Tractor Show coordinator at the Got to be NC Festival and superintendent of Heritage Circle at the NC State Fair. He started his farming operation in Guilford County in 1975 and grew it to 600 acres of crop land, consisting of tobacco, wheat, orchard grass and fescue.

Mr. Short has served many years as a community servant for his church and is an original member of the N.C. Tobacco Growers Association.  He grew up in southern Guilford County and still resides there.

Dr. Guochen Yang
Governor appointed

Dr. Guochen YangDr. Yang is a professor and Program Coordinator for Urban and Community Horticulture at the North Carolina A&T State University. He has over 30 years of combined teaching experience as well as 30 years of research experience which has led to one patent (plus one patent pending) and four invention disclosures. He currently serves on the USDA/NIFA/AFRI, Physiology of Agricultural Plants program proposal review panel and the USDA/NIFA/CBG Research proposal review panel.

Dr. Yang earned his B.S. in Horticulture, Jilin Agricultural University, P.R. China. He also earned his M.S. in Horticulture and Ph.D. in Horticulture & Forestry at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He resides in Greensboro, NC.


Make up of the committee

State law calls for nine members:

  1. The Commissioner of Agriculture or the Commissioner's designee, who shall serve as vice-chair.
  2. One appointed by the General Assembly upon recommendation of the President Pro Tempore of the Senate in accordance with G.S. 120-121, who shall at the time of appointment be a municipal chief of police.
  3. One appointed by the General Assembly upon recommendation of the Speaker of the House of Representatives in accordance with G.S. 120-121, who shall at the time of appointment be an elected sheriff or the sheriff's designee.
  4. Two appointed by the Governor who shall at the time of appointment be a full-time faculty member of a State land grant university who regularly works in the field of agricultural science or research.
  5. Two appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture, who shall be a full-time farmer with at least 10 years of experience in agricultural production in the state.
  6. One appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture, who shall be a professional agricultural consultant.
  7. One appointed by the Commissioner of Agriculture, who shall be an agribusiness professional.

The members will be tasked with developing rules and licensing-fee structures for the industry. Under state and federal law, all acreage must be for research purposes.


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