Plant Sciences Initiative growing team to build state’s agriculture economy

Plant Sciences Initiative growing team to build state’s agriculture economy

July 21, 2022

The N.C. Plant Sciences Initiative (PSI) building dedication was held April 12, 2022. Since then, the PSI has added key personnel to help build the state’s agriculture economy.

At the PSI dedication ceremony, Golden LEAF’s longest serving Board member and farmer Lawrence Davenport talked about why the Golden LEAF Board of Directors awarded $48.5 million to support the statewide initiative. 

Mr. Davenport talks below about why Golden LEAF funded the N.C. PSI.

On November 1, 2021, Dr. Adrian Percy became the first executive director of the N.C. PSI. Percy is using his industry experience and N.C. PSI’s unique combination of resources to forge innovative new partnerships and build the team at PSI. 

In May, the PSI announced that Rachel Vann will serve as the platform director for Extension Outreach and Engagement. A key piece to Golden LEAF’s funding is the focus on applied agriculture. The connection between the PSI and the N.C. State Extension Office will be key in relaying information between researchers and farmers. 

Golden LEAF funded the PSI to help increase the number of new plant varieties developed and commercialization, increase the economic value of plant varieties, and increase the yield value of crops, among other tangible outcomes.

Scott T. Hamilton, Golden LEAF President, Chief Executive Officer, speaks about the role of agriculture in North Carolina below.

Golden LEAF is interested in the PSI increasing the number undergraduate, graduate and Agricultural Institute students majoring in plant science fields and in related fields, such as agricultural and resource economics, biological and agricultural engineering, and entomology and plant pathology. The Foundation also wants to see more graduates choosing to live and work in North Carolina in these fields.

The future of our state’s agriculture is dependent on the future of our agriculture workforce. In June, N.C. PSI announced that Terri Long will be the platform director for Education and Workforce Development

Hamilton says the mission of Golden LEAF and the N.C. PSI are aligned for the future of agriculture.

For more information about Golden LEAF and the PSI, visit

Stay Connected

Stay connected with Golden LEAF by signing up for our e-newsletter. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.