From the Dean
Perspectives On Line: The Magazine of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

NC State University

Winter 2004 Home
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From the Dean

The October N.C. State Fair was a fitting setting as interim College Dean Johnny Wynne (left) and current state Agriculture Commissioner Britt Cobb (right) presented former state Agriculture Commissioner Jim Graham with the Dean's Distinguished Service to Agriculture Award. Before his death the following November, Graham had offered special insights about the future of agriculture in the state. (Related story, "The State of Agriculture")  (Photo by Sheri D. Thomas.)

Revitalizing North Carolina Agriculture

n recent months, agricultural
forums and gatherings in North
Carolina have been focused on how agriculture is going to survive in the face of declining prices, changing consumer demand for farm products and global competition. What has been cited as North Carolina’s strength and advantage is the agricultural research system in the state, specifically the state’s 18 research stations. It is through research discoveries that the development of new farming opportunities and products is achieved.

At this time agriculture is emerging in two distinct areas: the traditional commodity production and the new opportunities in value-added, product-based agriculture. The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences wants to make sure it continues to serve the needs of agriculture and agribusiness in the state through its research, extension and teaching endeavors.

Product-based, biobased, value-added — it’s the future of North Carolina, and we have to be there with the research and the outreach to keep the state’s agriculture vital.

This issue of Perspectives highlights the diversity, depth and extent of the College’s activities in revitalizing the state’s agriculture, in assisting the transition from a commodity-based to a more product-based system — a system that focuses on the markets, consumer needs and the resulting agricultural opportunities.

The College is helping producers and entrepreneurs grow alternative crops, find alternatives for existing crops and supplement their income by adding value to their products or launching new farm-based enterprises.

Through College research and Cooperative Extension programs, producers can increase the profitability of their operations by changing marketing techniques, producing for niche markets with specialty crops, developing biobased products or diversifying to an entrepreneurial enterprise, such as agritourism.

In this issue, we invite you to learn just what value-added, product-based and biobased agriculture means.

The critical roles academia, government and industry play in the future of the state’s agriculture are illustrated here through interviews with state agribusiness leaders, through success stories about producers who have added value to their enterprises, and through in-depth articles about the College’s specific value-added programs.

We also report on academic programs that are preparing the future leadership and workforce for a new agriculture and for the biomanufacturing industry.

It is the role of the land-grant institution to develop new technologies and practices that will provide the state with tomorrow’s science today.

Here you’ll see the College’s programs that will be essential to the viability of the state’s primary economic engine — agriculture and agribusiness.


Johnny Wynne
Interim Dean, College of
Agriculture and Life Sciences
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