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NC State’s Plant Sciences Building: What People Are Saying

Four stakeholders, pounding stakes into the ground with rubber mallets
Commodity group officials and other agricultural leaders planted stakes in 2017 as the college celebrated their contributions to the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative.

Excitement is building as NC State University ceremonially breaks ground on its Plant Sciences Building on Sept. 6, 2019. Here’s what elected officials, leaders at NC State and leaders in North Carolina agriculture have said about the building and the initiative it’s part of.

United States Senate

Sen. Thom Tillis: “The groundbreaking of the NC State Plant Sciences Building is the result of years of hard work and will ensure the competitiveness of North Carolina and U.S. agriculture. I’ve long supported and worked to secure funding for this important program for North Carolina’s agricultural community, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to guarantee its continued success.”

North Carolina General Assembly Members

Sen. Phil Berger, president pro tempore of the North Carolina Senate: “North Carolina is one of the top economies in the country because of our gold standard university system and top-tier research. The Plant Sciences Initiative Building at NC State will continue our reputation for excellence by helping North Carolina’s top industry continue to innovate.”

Rep. Tim Moore, speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives: “The Plant Sciences Initiative Building is a powerful example of how the General Assembly and UNC System’s commitment to investing in innovative capital projects on higher education campuses is solidifying North Carolina as a global research leader in addressing the biggest challenges that face humanity today.”

NC State University Leadership

Chancellor Randy Woodson: “The Plant Sciences Initiative is so critical to the university because it really continues to keep us at the forefront of plant science research, and it keeps North Carolina competitive in agriculture. So this is the critical project for us to ensure that we’re always going to be there for our farmers and be able to support them through the cutting-edge research that we do.”

NC State College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Administration

Dean Richard Linton, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: “If we look at the future of agriculture nationally and globally, it’s estimated that about 85 percent of future jobs will involve some kind of a facet associated with plant sciences. It’s our responsibility to be able to prepare for the future.” 

Sonia Murphy, assistant dean for advancement, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: “The support for the N.C. Plant Sciences Initiative proves that we’re moving in the right direction. Our role and mission are supporting the agricultural industry in North Carolina, and beyond, and our partnerships help us realize a strong future for agriculture.”

Stephen Briggs, N.C. Plant Sciences Initiative launch director: “I have seen unbelievable synergy among faculty members from different colleges working on plant-related research projects that will truly change the landscape for our farm communities not only locally but around the world. Great research producing great things for the farm all while training, mentoring and educating the agricultural leaders for tomorrow — what a great opportunity afforded all of us here in North Carolina.”

State Influencers

Larry Wooten, president, North Carolina Farm Bureau: “I think all of us that were involved, we want to be able to attract only the brightest and best to come to (our state) to be involved in North Carolina agriculture, but we (also) want to maintain the good young people that we have here in North Carolina that want to be involved in the industry of agriculture.” 

Randy Isenhower, board chairman, Golden LEAF Foundation: “Today is a proud day for the many partners that have joined together to see the Plant Science Initiative break ground on this facility that will serve the state’s agriculture industry and enhance rural North Carolina’s future.  At the Golden LEAF Foundation, we understand that supporting agriculture through innovation and research ultimately helps to grow rural communities. This state-of-the-art facility and initiative are the tools North Carolina’s farmers need to boost that growth. Most importantly, it will give our farmers and rural communities the edge in an increasingly competitive global market.”

Peter Daniel, assistant to the president, North Carolina Farm Bureau: “I have seen very few instances where the whole community of agricultural organizations and the farmers they represent come together behind (an) initiative like this. It was just incredible to watch, and we’re excited that we’re going to be making investments today that we’re going to be harvesting (the) benefits from for the next 50 to 75 years.”

Dan Weathington, past executive director, NC Small Grains Growers Association: “Farmers are willing to invest in projects that they see a return. We see a definite return in increasing yields, helping us to increase our bottom line through research (and) preparing our kids (for the future). Farmers have kids, too.”  

NC State Faculty Members

Heike Winter-Sederoff, professor of plant physiology and metabolic engineering: “The Plant Sciences Initiative has the ability… to bring together researchers from different backgrounds… (that contribute) different aspects and understanding of how we can really focus on the major challenges for the future: food, fiber, feed, and the sustainable production of those things, bioenergy and (protecting natural resources).”

Craig Yencho, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and Program Leader, Sweetpotato and Potato Breeding and Genetics Programs: “We need to translate the tools of modern science into real-world products for our farmers and the Plant Sciences Initiative … I think … the way we’re built here at NC State and the way we Think and Do give us a unique opportunity to translate (our) science into tangible products for society’s benefit.”