NC Food Processing Innovation Center

This is kind of the culmination of the
process that NC State and the Department with a lot of partners have gone through
to do what we think can transform North Carolina’s economy into a food
manufacturing economy. We’ve been searching for years for processing. Our
farmers only make a 10% of the item by the time it’s at market and the other
part is processing. We can do more around food processing. We haven’t even
scratched the surface in terms of the economic development that can occur
there. I mean, what we’re doing here at the North Carolina Research Campus can
absolutely take our largest industry in North Carolina to a whole new level
and that is going to directly help rural North Carolina cause that’s where we grow
the food. Oh this is going to create jobs which is in turn going to create revenue not
only for the State, but for the municipalities and counties in which
these plants are located. A pilot plant facility such as the one we’re
envisioning would provide flexibility to actually scale up commercialized ideas,
number one, for small entrepreneurs who are looking for facilities that are able
to bring them market ready crops. So they have ideas, they have a path, they need guidance, they need expertise and the ability to make something. That’s one component to this.
The second component is the research and development piece that engages the
university researchers and allows us to think about how we can translate our
technology at North Carolina State and even our partners here in Research Campus into something that is commercializable and that’s the third
the multinationals the large national international firms that food industry
itself and equipment manufacturing industry, ingredient manufacturing industry that’s not just looking for new ideas but is looking for centralized
areas where they could actually innovate collaboratively both with faculty as
well as the new entrepreneurs. Knowing that we already produce majority of the
fruits and vegetables on the East coast here in North Carolina and we’re the third most diversified state when it comes to growing crops in North Carolina and also
knowing that we ship out over 80% somewhere else to be processed this is a
win-win situation. So we think this is the defining moment for the
future of North Carolina.

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