Food security and prosperity are what drives the North Carolina Tomato Growers Association (NCTGA). For 50 years, NCTGA has promoted and developed the tomato industry and general agricultural interests by funding research for breeding, growing and disease control. It facilitates practical application of that research to agricultural practices and supports education through scholarships for students in horticultural and agribusiness-related fields. The association was an early financial supporter of the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative (N.C. PSI) with the goal of making North Carolina the global hub in plant sciences research.
“N.C. PSI is a world-class interdisciplinary research complex which will include the best minds from academia, industry and others,” said Randall Patterson, president of the NCTGA. “We’re excited for the initiative to produce advancements in food security, production practices, water resources, nutrition and environmental sustainability.”
Though the mission of NCTGA is to encourage, promote and develop all phases of the tomato industry, its agricultural interests are far-reaching. NCTGA provides current and relevant education on tomato and vegetable production, including pest management, tomato breeding and food safety issues such as sanitation associated with vegetables. In addition, the association organizes and promotes shows, sales, exhibitions and contests for the betterment of all agriculture in North Carolina.
Patterson views the partnership as a critical investment in the ag industry that will lay the groundwork for increased food security and prosperity.
“The initiative should help the world increase food production,” said Patterson. “Every dollar spent on agricultural research in North Carolina returns much more in economic benefits. A large percentage of United States agricultural jobs are projected to be in plant sciences, so this initiative will lead the way for future agricultural leaders and the future ag workforce.”
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Senior Director of Development, Plant Sciences Initiative