NC State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences administrators will lead an upcoming series of public information and listening sessions about an initiative aimed at making North Carolina the global hub for plant sciences innovation.
Dr. Steve Lommel, associate dean and director of the North Carolina Agricultural Research Service, and Dr. Richard Bonnano, associate dean and director of the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service, will update the public and invite comments at meetings to be held across the state in August and September:
- 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday Aug. 16 at the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Center, 455 Research Drive, Mills River
- 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday Aug. 29 at the Vernon G. James Research and Extension Center, 207 Research Station Road, Plymouth
- 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday Aug. 30 at the North Carolina Farm Bureau Conference Center, 5301 Glenwood Ave., Raleigh
- 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday Sept. 1 at the Sampson County Livestock Facility conference room, 93 Agriculture Place, Clinton
- 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 12 at the Guilford County Agricultural Center, 3309 Burlington Rd, Greensboro
The Plant Sciences Initiative addresses some of agriculture’s most pressing challenges through interdisciplinary research that brings together university, government and industry scientists. The initiative’s centerpiece is a $160 million Plant Sciences Research Complex planned for NC State University’s Centennial Campus.
The building will facilitate research aimed at increasing agricultural yields and profitability in ways that protect the environment and strengthen the economy. An economic feasibility study released in 2015 showed that the initiative is projected to add thousands of new jobs and over $366 million annually to the North Carolina economy by 2024.
In a referendum held in March, North Carolina voters approved $85 million in state funding for the building. More than 40 organizations, including some of the state’s largest agricultural commodity groups, have also contributed to the project.