New NC State plant science facility looks to impact world of agriculture

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Work is underway on a new plant sciences building on N.C. State’s Centennial Campus that aims to have a direct impact on the agriculture industry.

The North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative looks to help take on challenges facing agriculture like disease, climate shifts and the Earth’s exploding population.

“No other place in the world will have what we have right here in North Carolina and at N.C. State,” said College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean Richard Linton.

The university’s new plant sciences building will bring together engineers, economists, microbiologists, and local industry to tackle complex problems of a global scale.

“The most unique feature of this building is that it’s all based interdisciplinary sciences. So, the idea is that we can bring teams in and remove teams when there are projects of interest that need to be done. Maybe it’s a project around food safety, or food security, or water use and water management.

“You need to bring economists, and engineer,s and plant scientists, and soil scientists, and microbiologists together in a different kind of environment in order to do this interdisciplinary science. That’s the way in which we solve complex problem.

“Things like how are we going to feed a growing population? How are we going to double the food supply in the next 31 growing seasons? Those are the challenges that we have that we’re trying to solve with this initiative, and this building will attract great people and allow us to do that research and innovation.”

N.C. State College of Architecture Dean Richard Linton.

Linton showed CBS 17 the design of the facility. He pointed out the greenhouse will be on the roof. He explained that North Carolina is uniquely able to lead agricultural research.

“We have very diverse climates, very diverse soils. So, we can do all sorts of research here in North Carolina that can mimic locations in the US and around the world,” Linton explained. “As an example, if we wanted to look at a variety of corn, we could grow it at five different research farms in North Carolina and mimic Nebraska, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. We have something in North Carolina that’s really special and we’re trying to take advantage of all the assets.”

And while most states have only a handful of crops to their name, North Carolina has 92 that make it a leader in American agriculture.

An official groundbreaking of the $160 million building is Sept. 6, which is the same weekend as the Ag Day football game. Construction is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2021.

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