In his role as Executive Advisor, Ray Starling serves as an invaluable resource on public policy and legal developments that have the potential to impact the agri-food value chain. He is available for special events, select client engagements, and speaking opportunities. He continues to serve as general counsel of the NC Chamber and president of the NC Chamber Legal Institute as well.
Prior to joining the NC Chamber team, Ray served as chief of staff to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue where he coordinated execution of the secretary’s policy agenda for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Ray focused on regulatory and deregulatory initiatives and acted as a point of contact for stakeholders throughout agriculture and rural communities. He has also served as a principal agriculture advisor to the President of the United States at the White House, chief of staff and chief counsel for U.S. Senator Thom Tillis, and general counsel when Tillis was Speaker of the House in the North Carolina legislature. Early in his career, he was general counsel for the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Licensed to practice law in North Carolina, Ray has private practice experience and has taught agricultural and food law for several years. He has a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from North Carolina State University and a law degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He grew up on a Century Farm in southeastern North Carolina and credits that experience as having more to do with his career path than any other influence or opportunity. His parents continue to farm as does his eldest brother. Starling was a National FFA Officer and is a former 4-H member. He resides in Raleigh, North Carolina with his family.