On September 6th, 2019, a large group of diverse agricultural stakeholders, researchers, and investors gathered to celebrate the progress of the Plant Sciences Initiative. The groundbreaking was standing room only as agricultural representatives and enthusiasts watched as university and industry leaders lifted soil from the PSI building site that had been mixed with the state’s 18 agricultural research stations. The addition of soil from across the state was representative of the partnerships that have been formed by the development of the Plant Sciences Initiative. The Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics is looking forward to the collaborative and interdisciplinary opportunities ahead.
Economist Mike Walden explains that “ARE economists provide information and analysis for all agribusiness and biotechnology sectors and are constantly looking for commercial ventures and initiatives that will complement and expand these important economic components in the state.” Agriculture is the leading driver of North Carolina’s economy, generating about $92 billion of economic activity per year. The PSI will further bolster agriculture by creating a space for researching plant varieties and yields that are less expensive to produce, high in nutritional value, and resistant to drought and pests not only in North Carolina but around the world. The research done at the PSI will have significant economic impacts that ARE economists will measure and interpret.
ARE department head Barry Goodwin believes “The PSI marks a new era for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS). The initiative will create a synergistic center for collaboration across many different disciplines. The initiative will add to NC State’s already stellar international reputation for excellence in basic and applied research. The PSI will serve as a magnet to draw the top talent from international researchers and commercial concerns in the life sciences.”
This is an exciting time to be a part of what CALS Dean Richard Linton calls the NC “Ag family.” ARE thanks the donors who are contributing to the future of agriculture by investing in the Plant Sciences Initiative.