North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative holds second annual Backroad Tour

North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative holds second annual Backroad Tour

November 23, 2023

On November 2, Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer Scott T. Hamilton and Senior Vice President/General Counsel Ted Lord attended the Plant Sciences Initiative (PSI) Backroad Tour hosted by leadership from N.C. State University.

The Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded a total of $48.5 million to support the PSI, which is creating opportunities to grow the state’s thriving agricultural industry into a global leader – by developing new products, conducting research, and educating our next generations of agriculture industry employees for the jobs of the future.

The second annual PSI Backroad Tour is building upon its four goals from the inaugural tour:

  • Provide an opportunity for N.C. PSI researchers to engage with growers, listen to their challenges and encounter them firsthand in the field
  • Expand agricultural networks with commodity board and other agricultural leaders across NC
  • Gain an understanding of the function of NC Extension at the local level
  • Build internal N.C. PSI culture

The first stop on the tour was Hendrix Farm in Raeford. Sarah Grace Stone of the NC Chamber and Gary Hendrix producer and President of the NC Soybean Producers Association spoke with tour participants about some of the challenges North Carolina agriculture is facing, including labor and technology.

The tour group then stopped at Locklear Brothers Farm in Red Springs, where producer Adrian Locklear of the NC Soybean Producers Association told the group about why he uses cover crops to benefit his production, including recycling soil nutrients and preventing nematodes.

Mountaire Farms in Lumber Bridge was the third stop of the day. The group learned about chicken processing facilities, including challenges chicken processors are facing.

The final stop of the Backroad Tour was at the Central Crops Research Station in Clayton. The group heard from PSI graduate student Danny Krafft about how research stations play a critical role in facilitating agriculture research. Krafft also shared his research, which uses hyperspectral imaging to perform high-throughput phenotyping.

Learn more about the PSI by visiting

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