Since the passage of the Connect NC bond referendum in March, stakeholders are moving full steam ahead on agricultural aspects of the referendum. President and CEO of the North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation, Larry Wooten was included in a group that traveled to Germany recently, on behalf of the NC State Plant Sciences Initiative:
“The Dean, the Chancellor of NC State, Randy Woodson, along with some other folks from the college, and the lieutenant governor of North Carolina, Dan Forrest, went with us to visit Bayer Crop, in particular, we had meetings with Bayer CropScience and BASF, concerning their agricultural research that they’re doing and to inform them, with the passage of the Connect NC bond, and the $85 million in there for the Plant Sciences Initiative, in the hopes that we’re going to get the rest of the money to finish it up. We wanted to talk to Bayer CropScience and BASF, inform that what was going on, and certainly invite them to look at that project to see if there are ways that they can engage with North Carolina agriculture and NC State University, in that facility.”
And that was part of the overall scheme when the Plant Sciences Initiative was born.
“Yes, we were hoping, with the vision of the Plant Sciences Initiative, in that facility, that there would be a number of public/private partnerships in that facility, to enhance agricultural research, both in a pure research standpoint and an applied projects out across the state for our farmers. And so, there was a lot of synergy, we knew there was a lot of synergy having worked with those agricultural research firms out at RTP, we knew that if we could engage them in some way in terms of programming, personnel, at the Plant Sciences facility on the Centennial Campus it would be good for North Carolina agriculture and American agriculture.”
What was your response in Germany?
“Very good trip, we were impressed with the quality of their research, the quality of their facilities there, the quality of their people, and certainly I was impressed with their knowledge of…with their presence already in North Carolina at RTP, both of those big, international firms, they knew about North Carolina, they’d been to the Raleigh area, they knew about NC State, they were very positive, basically, …”you get the building built, then we will begin to look at how we can become engaged.” Quite frankly, they told us straight up they’re not interested in putting any money into bricks and mortar, that’s the responsibility of the state, the people of North Carolina to build the facility, when it comes to programs, programming, when it comes to people, how we can help and engage, then we’d certainly be interested. It was very positive trip.
The chancellor, represented obviously, NC State University very well, and Dean Linton, and the lieutenant governor represented the state of North Carolina and what had gone on there, and did a very good job. And certainly, my role, as president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau was to represent agriculture and the farming sector in terms of the parties that would be interested in what would happen at the Plant Sciences facility.”
We’ll hear more from President & CEO of the North Carolina Farm Bureau, Larry Wooten on Monday on Today’s Topic.