NC Agriculture & Biotechnology Summit examines industry innovations, challenges and the future of food

Media Contacts: Suzanne Stanard, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 919-513-3126 or suzanne_stanard@ncsu.edu; Jim Shamp, NC Biotechnology Center, 919-541-9366 or jim_shamp@ncbiotech.org

Food and agricultural experts from around the nation will join North Carolina peers at the McKimmon Conference Center in Raleigh Nov. 18 and 19 for a wide-ranging discussion of technologies and policies affecting food production.

A collaborative effort of North Carolina State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the North Carolina Biotechnology Center’s AgBiotech Initiative, the North Carolina Agriculture & Biotechnology Summit will explore the state’s growing global leadership in agricultural biotechnology, and the associated demands and expectations.

Through keynote addresses, panel discussions, moderated workshops and multimedia presentations, the Summit will address key topics such as research innovation, technology commercialization, regulation, policy, public acceptance, agricultural production and ag biotech products. Experts will discuss challenges and opportunities related to bringing products to market while ensuring a safe and abundant food supply for a growing world.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Biotechnology Center for this important event,” said CALS Dean Richard Linton. “Our goal is to shed light on and generate conversation about the grand challenge of feeding the world. We’re bringing in a diversity of speakers to address issues across the spectrum. We’ll also share the breadth of work underway in our college to increase food production, security and sustainability. Most importantly, the Summit will challenge participants to take action to secure the future of food.”

The event’s keynote speakers include Dr. MeeCee Baker, president and CEO of Versant Strategies; Joel Bourne, Jr., contributing writer with National Geographic; Dr. Sonny Ramaswamy, director of the Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture; and Dr. Steve Savage, independent communicator and consultant with Savage & Associates. Also participating in sessions throughout the two-day summit will be a number of the state’s industry and academic leaders.

“As the world’s leading agricultural biotechnology hub, North Carolina is uniquely positioned to come up with big answers to questions of food production,” said Doug Edgeton, president and CEO of NCBiotech. “This summit brings university, governmental, business and commercial leaders here together in yet another example of our ability to accomplish through partnering with excellence.”

The Summit’s first day, “Ag Biotech Dialogues: Technology and Choice,” will cover issues in agricultural biotechnology pertaining to new technologies, public perceptions and global food systems. The program progresses from global market trends and challenges to discussions of obstacles and their solutions for mankind’s future. Attendees will leave with the knowledge and empowerment to take action.

Day two, “The Future of Food,” will examine the growing global food crisis, the challenges that must be overcome to feed the world, and the significant research taking place at CALS to address these challenges. In addition to presentations, day two also will feature the “Innovation Fair,” a marketplace of ideas in which leading CALS faculty and their collaborators from throughout NC State will showcase ongoing and emerging scientific research. The day wraps up with a participant-driven discussion session and a call to action.

A special evening session, “Dinner Dialogues: The Future of Food,” will bridge the two days by engaging industry leaders in thought-provoking conversations that address the grand challenge of feeding the world. This dialogue is designed to inspire leaders and citizens alike to become thoughtfully engaged as an action-oriented learning community.

The North Carolina Agriculture & Biotechnology Summit is supported by the sponsorship of agricultural, biotechnology and allied industry partners, including lead sponsors BASF; Bayer CropScience; RTI International; the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology & Science; HM.Clause and at least 15 other supporting enterprises, with sponsorships still available.The event also is made possible by leadership from the North Carolina Agricultural & Life Sciences Research Foundation and the North Carolina AgBiotech Advisory Council.

For more information or to register for the NC Agriculture & Biotechnology Summit, visit: http://www.ncbiotech.org/AgBiotechSummit. Join the conversation: #AgBioSummit.

 – S. Stanard

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