Agriculture helped build North Carolina and it continues to be our largest economic driver at $76 billion dollars annually, employing over 16% of our state. With our diversity in crop varieties, animal agriculture and global leadership in agricultural biotechnology, our agricultural roots continue to grow North Carolina’s economy and create jobs.
Connect NC recognizes the economic opportunities agriculture and agribusiness represent for our state and are making a historic $179 million investment to keep agribusiness and family farms growing. These investments include $85 million for the NC State Plant Sciences Initiative at NC State University, and $94 million for a new collocated laboratory facility for the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (NCDA&CS).
Video Credit: NC State University College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
NC State Plant Sciences Initiative
- Science and innovation from this investment will help increase agricultural yields on family farms, protect natural resources and provide safe, affordable foods for a growing North Carolina and global population.
- Over the next 25 years, 84 percent of U.S. agricultural jobs are projected to be in the plant sciences. This investment will help educate the next generation of plant scientists, and provide skilled employees for North Carolina’s 600+ life sciences companies.
- Every $1 spent on agricultural research in North Carolina returns $19.90 in economic benefit to the state.
NCDA&CS Collocated Labs
- This new collocated laboratory facility will replace the following five labs: Veterinary Diagnostic, Food and Drug Protection, Structural Pest Control and Pesticides, Standards, and Motor Fuels.
- The average age of these labs is more than 40 years, and they struggle with inadequate ventilation, climate control, the capacity to expand within limited space and the ability to utilize advanced testing equipment.
- The Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory provides tests required for international and domestic shipment of poultry and livestock. It also is the state’s first line of defense for identifying a foreign animal disease or bioterrorism agent.
- The Food and Drug Protection Laboratory is the sole food safety and defense testing lab in the state. It is one of only five labs in the country that are internationally accredited for chemical and biological testing. This benefits our residents because it allows federal partners like the FDA and USDA to accept our data, which can speed up decisions pertaining to the safety of food and animal feed.
- The other components of the new collocated lab would handle pesticide tests, motor fuels analysis and precision testing of many devices used in commerce.