Our Staff

Office Phone Number: 919.839.5700

Owen Wagner | CEO

Owen joined the North Carolina Soybean Association as CEO in April 2019. In this role, he focuses on developing new markets for the industry, while also being responsible for day-to-day oversight of the Association. Whenever possible, Owen enjoys applying his background in economics and engineering to unravel agricultural markets and explain how global forces influence the economics of agriculture within the state of North Carolina.

Prior to joining the NCSPA, Owen spent a decade as an economist with LMC International, a UK-based agribusiness consultancy. Starting with a focus on the sugar industry, Owen’s responsibilities gradually transitioned to the dynamic world of oilseeds where he counted USB, USSEC, the National Biodiesel Board and several of the larger QSSBs among his clients. Prior to LMC, Owen worked for the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service in Beijing and in the cranberry industry of Massachusetts.

Owen received his Master’s in Agricultural Economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in the United States and will receive his Master’s in Agricultural Engineering from North Carolina State University in the spring of 2020. Owen lives in Raleigh with his wife Lindsay, a reporter, and their three small children Malcolm (“Mac”), Isla and Samuel (“Sam”). In an increasingly digital world, Owen enjoys using his free time to pursue more “analog” interests, most of which revolve around being outdoors.

Katherine Drake Stowe | Research Coordinator

Katherine grew up on a small family farm in Pinetops, NC where a love and appreciation for agriculture were instilled in her from an early age. She attended NC State University where she received a B.S. in Chemistry and a M.S. and Ph.D in Crop Science. In her role as Research Coordinator, she uses her skills to help soybean growers improve their productivity and profitability by leading the association’s research efforts, serving as the liaison between research partners and soybean farmers, and communicating results from sponsored research to growers. Katherine has a passion for serving the farmers of North Carolina and contributing to the success of the agriculture industry across the state. Katherine resides in Apex with her husband, Sadler, and little boy, Knox. When they’re not working they enjoy spending time outdoors, traveling, and cheering on the Wolfpack!

Ashley Thomas | Manager of Grower & Legislative Relations

Ashley grew up on her family farm in Timberlake, NC. Her family grows tobacco, soybeans, corn, wheat and operates an independent farrow to finish hog operation. Before working with NCSPA, Ashley attended Meredith College and graduated with two bachelor’s degrees, a B.A. in Biology and a B.S. in Business Administration. In her role as the Manager of Grower & Legislative Relations, her main areas of focus are the Board of Directors & growers, advocacy & legislative efforts, fundraising, digital communications, and the NC SoyPAC.

Kortney Smith | Community Outreach Coordinator & Accounts Manager

Kortney Smith joined the NC Soybean Producers Association in September of 2020 as the Community Outreach Coordinator and Accounts Manager. In this role, Kortney will continue the work of NCSPA’s community outreach and education programs, preparing them for success in our increasingly digital world. She will also manage the Association’s financial accounts. Kortney previously worked for NCDA&CS where she assisted several different departments as a program assistant. Prior to that, she attended NC State University where she earned her Masters of Public Administration in May of 2020 and a B.S. in Agricultural Education in May of 2018. Kortney has been tied to FFA for nearly 10 years, including serving as a North Carolina FFA State Officer from 2015-2016. She was raised in Concord, N.C. and currently lives in Raleigh with her fiance Daniel. When she’s not wedding planning, Kortney enjoys trying new triangle area restaurants and cheering on the Wolfpack.