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NC State Research and Extension impact N.C. Sweet Potato Industry

Tangible Impact

Agriculture and the life sciences built North Carolina. We keep them growing.

Results Matter

When stakeholders need solutions for emerging issues or to identify new opportunities, they come to NC State. And our agricultural research and Extension deliver – roughly a 27-to-1 return on investment.

The North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative (N.C. PSI) is helping to deliver even greater outcomes in the years to come.

Local Impact. Global Reach.

$2.1 Billion

Extensions annual economic impact on North Carolina

4,000+

Research-based Extension publications

17,000

Educational activities offered by Extension each year

As one of the nation’s leading land-grant universities, NC State is dedicated to lifelong learning, the sharing of knowledge and the constant pursuit of society’s grand challenges. We strive to bring the fruits of our teaching, research and extension efforts to North Carolina and the world.

Discover more about NC State’s and Extension’s impact.

No Small Potatoes

Thanks to NC State research and Extension, North Carolina farmers produced 1.7 billion pounds of sweetpotatoes in 2017, nearly double the 5.9 million grown in the state in 2005 (the year NC State’s Covington variety was introduced). That’s good business. More than $350 million in sales to be exact, with an additional $170 million indirect economic impact. North Carolina farmers supply 60 percent of the nation’s total production and account for 70 percent of all sweetpotato exports. They create jobs and are helping feed the world.

CALS student and sweet potatoes.
CALS student and sweet potatoes.

Propagating Grower Success

The success of the $2.3 billion strawberry farming industry depends on the ability to produce millions of pounds of healthy plants in a timely manner. However, current strawberry propagation practices can lead to infection with one or more potentially devastating diseases. Which is why N.C. PSI researchers are collaborating with other institutions and nurseries to develop new technologies for America’s strawberry industry.

Fresh NC strawberries for sale at the State Farmers’ Market.

STEPping Up Phosphorus Research

Phosphorus is an essential nutrient for plants. And by some estimates, the world’s supply of mined phosphorus will tighten considerably in the next century, leading to eventual price increases for a resource depended on by most of the world’s farmers. The Science and Technologies for Phosphorus Sustainability (STEPS) Center is working to address this issue through interdisciplinary collaborations, which have taken soil fertility research at NC State to the next level.

Luke Gatiboni at the Tidewater Research Station

Outcome Metrics

Through N.C. PSI, NC State addresses some of our state’s and world’s grand challenges – from supporting our food systems and promoting public health to protecting our natural resources and helping farmers feed, clothe, heal and fuel a growing population.

Moving forward, the success of N.C. PSI will be measured by the success of farmers, families, businesses and communities across North Carolina, the nation and the world. Watch us grow.

Agriculture

  • Number of new plant varieties developed and disclosed for commercialization, and breeding lines disclosed for breeding use by NC State, public, and private breeders
  • The economic value of N.C. PSI-developed plant varieties and breeding lines
  • The number of county-level research demonstrations containing N.C. PSI-developed varieties in rural communities
  • The number of novel technologies developed by N.C. PSI
  • Licensed patented technologies and any associated startups

Economic Development

  • Number of new regional plant sciences positions employed in North Carolina – both in private and public sectors
  • Growth in North Carolina employment and wage changes in the state’s plant sciences sector in comparison to the U.S.
  • Track changes in yield values for key North Carolina crops
  • Increased number and dollar value of sponsored research programs (commodity organizations, industry, government agencies) that engage CALS faculty in N.C PSI-relevant research and development
  • N.C. PSI financial gifts and support

Workforce Preparedness and Education

  • Increases in the number and career readiness of undergraduate, graduate and Agricultural Institute students focusing in plant science fields
  • Number of plant sciences-related credentials or certifications earned through NC State Extension programs
  • Number of NC State Extension-based plant sciences programs across the state