“By 2050 … our populations is going to grow to 9 billion people,” says NC State University Randy Woodson.
“To feed 9 billion people, even at the current rate of food distribution, requires a 70% increase in food productivity worldwide – and this is on a land base that’s shrinking,” Woodson says in the accompanying video. “So we have a challenge, and NC State wants to be a part of that solution.”
Dean Richard Linton of NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences says officials want North Carolina to become a “breadbasket” for the nation and the world.
The state has great diversity in its soils, climate and crops, Linton says. “North Carolina’s a really good place in trying to understand how we can create crops that are resilient to disease, resilient to drought and resilient to conditions where we get a lot of rainfall in a very short period of time,” he says.
The aim of NC State’s $180 million Plant Sciences Initiative is to develop new plant varieties and take them from the lab to research stations to the Cooperative Extension Service to farmers who can put those varieties to work feeding the world.
New NC State plant varieties … global impact
RALEIGH – NC State University is a global leader in plant breeding, and university leaders hope their Plant Sciences Initiative can help meet the world’s food challenges.
“It’s the creation of these new varieties that not only helps North Carolina – it helps the region, the nation and hopefully has a global impact,” Dean Richard Linton of NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences says in the accompanying video.
As an example, Linton outlines how NC State plant scientists developed the Covington sweet potato variety 10 years ago that has taken over the industry and made North Carolina the leading producer of sweet potatoes in the country. They also developed ways to use sweet potatoes in baby food, fries and even vodka.
NC State scientists then used their research to introduce sweet potatoes in sub-Saharan Africa and, with their rich supply of beta-carotene and other nutrients, help nourish and prevent blindness in millions of children.
World-class research at NC State
RALEIGH – NC State University’s new Plant Sciences Building will be much more than the biggest building on campus.
“We’re looking at creating the best facility in the world,” Dean Richard Linton of NC State’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences says in the accompanying video.
“We want to create the best facility in the world to attract the best students, the best faculty and scientists and more industry to the state of North Carolina.”
Linton discusses plans for the 200,000 square-foot structure, drawing attention to a 25,000 square-foot rooftop greenhouse that will be the largest university plant-sciences greenhouse in the world. Scientists will be able to use the greenhouse to create as many as 10 microclimates to test plant varieties in different growing conditions.
There will also be room for corporate partners – Linton says he hopes to see 15 to 20 partner companies share space in the building on NC State’s Centennial Campus.
“That’s the end-goal vision 10 years from now – that this will be a hub of activity for entrepreneurism and start-up companies,” he says.