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Project led by North Carolina A&T aims to connect underserved and small farms across the state

Two people in the field at a farm.
NC State University
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The CROPS Project, funded by the National Science Foundation, will build a 42-county ag tech corridor with the help of several universities across North Carolina.

North Carolina A&T State University will lead a project aimed at connecting rural underserved and small farms together across the state.

The CROPS (Climate, Responsive Opportunities in Plant Science) Project funded by a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Regional Innovation Engines program, an agency that provides funds for research in non-medical fields.

“So, specifically over the next two years, CROPS will engage stakeholders through convenings workshops, listening tours, and it's with the key stakeholders: farmers," said Gregory Goins, the project lead and N.C. A&T’s Associate Dean for Agriculture Research. “And, by doing this, we hope to tie together a 42-county ag tech corridor.”

Wilson, Nash, Edgecombe and Johnston, as well as Forsyth, Bertie, Wilson and Martin, are among the 42 counties taking part in the project. Goins said the goal is to share research-based techniques and technologies to the small farms that will be part of the 42-county ag tech corridor.

Ag Tech Corridor of the participating 42 counties
NC A&T State University
The CROPS project will involve building an ag tech corridor among 42 counties, including Wilson, Nash, Edgecombe, Martin, Bertie and Johnston.

“So, some of the examples could be situation analysis and risk analysis for new specialty crops,” he said. “We have collaborations with SAS here in RTP to help us do this analysis. And also the farmers will have access to the SAS data being supported by our North Carolina legislature.”

The CROPS project will also bring together researchers from East Carolina University, Duke, N.C. State, Wake Forest University and UNC.

Sharryse Piggott is WUNC’s PM Reporter.