The second cohort of the North Carolina Leadership Forum has just formed and its focus is on a topic of vital importance to our state: How can North Carolina best meet the future energy needs of its citizens and businesses?

This broad question will be tackled by a deep mix of people who are business, nonprofit, civic and political leaders in North Carolina.

Angie Maier

Among them is Angie Maier, the N.C. Pork Council’s Director of Government Affairs and Sustainability.

The North Carolina Leadership Forum is jointly funded by the Duke Endowment, the John William Pope Foundation and the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation. The forum was launched last year by Duke POLIS: The Center for Political Leadership, Innovation and Service.

A full list of the 2017-18 participants is here:

The leadership forum participants also have a special charge: to develop solutions that are acceptable to both “liberal and conservative leaders.” The entire process is meant to bridge divides – to bring people together in conversation, in common pursuit of what is best for our state.

Maier, who has been on staff at the N.C. Pork Council for more than a decade, brings expertise and knowledge that will add much to the discussion.

In the area of renewable energy, Maier has been instrumental in helping hog farmers and the pork industry navigate a wide range of issues that must be resolved in order for farmers to create energy from swine manure, which contains methane – an ideal source of biogas.

Hog farmers and renewable energy companies are continuing to try a range of approaches and technologies in our state as the work to find an efficient and affordable way to best harness the biogas is well underway.

The benefits are many. Converting manure to energy would add value to the farms amid other improvements, including reducing irrigation needs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Already, North Carolina’s pork industry is the leader in this developing sector. No state produces more energy from swine farms than ours does.

Maier’s dedication to the energy issue is a big reason why that is.

– Andy Curliss, CEO