Growing NC’s AgBio Industry

Posted By Frank Vinluan


Agriculture is a multi-billion dollar industry in North Carolina. Norris Tolson believes that agricultural biotechnology work being done now could make the state a global leader in food and food research in the future. Norris, former chief executive of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and now a senior advisor in economic development for Williams Mullen, spoke at the RTP Rotary Club’s lunch and learn event about the state’s food industry.

North Carolina is a diverse agricultural state, boasting 78 different crops. The state also currently has more than 80 companies focused on agriculture, Norris said. An additional 70 agriculture-related startups have established roots in the state. Key to future growth of the state’s agbio industry is the research in the region’s universities. Norris referenced the Plant Sciences Initiative, which North Carolina State University’s Deborah Thompson explained when she spoke to the RTP Rotary Club in August. The initiative aims to establish a state-of-the-art research facility that will bring university researchers and industry scientists together. The research and industry collaboration could put the region head and shoulders above the crowd in agricultural biotechnology, he said.

Photo of North Carolina tobacco field courtesy of Flickr user perrykm5 under a Creative Commons license.