From its inception, the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative (N.C. PSI) was a top priority for North Carolina Farm Bureau. In fact, Farm Bureau’s advocacy helped secure N.C. PSI’s inclusion in the Connect NC Bond Referendum and their financial support made possible the initiative’s Launch Director, and a world-class agricultural research and Extension education space.
Serving the farm community since 1936, Farm Bureau advocates for its more than 500,000 members at the local, state, national, and international levels – providing educational, economic, public affairs, marketing and various other services for farm and rural families.
We talked with Shawn Harding, president of the North Carolina Bureau, to learn more about the organization and why it chose to support N.C. PSI.
Farm Bureau has been with N.C. PSI from day 1 to make this initiative happen. Why is N.C. PSI a priority for the Farm Bureau?
Our farmers, our leaders, they understand that we have to invest in technology. They invest in technology on their farms and they understand if we’re going to be leaders in the ag world, we’ve got to continue to invest. That’s why they’re 100% behind this project.
For your members and leadership, what most excites you about being a part of N.C. PSI?
Solving problems. That’s what our farmers want, and I think that’s what our society needs. That’s what I love about NC State University and the Plant Sciences Building. It’s think and do. We’re going to figure out the problem and then we’re going to do something about it. And that’s what our people want to see.
What does joining N.C. PSI mean to you?
We know—when I say we, I mean farmers—we know that science and technology are what we do every day. But I don’t know that the average person realizes how much science and technology are involved in agriculture. So, I really hope that we bridge that gap and have an appreciation for agriculture and the science and technology that goes into it.
There’s pride and comradery in the ag community about being able to work together with the initiative to see what’s possible. That collaboration is really important. What was so great about this project, is that everybody came together for the good of feeding everyone. We want everyone to know that we’re all in with N.C. PSI.
What are you hoping comes out of N.C. PSI?
I want to be able to say 10 years from now that because of N.C. PSI and this building, we use less resources, we produce more and that’s better for all of society. I think that’s where we’re going.
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Senior Director of Development, Plant Sciences Initiative