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NCDA&CS to showcase agriculture and bioenergy research, economic potential



Sam Brake, agricultural program specialist
Bioenergy Research Initiative

Hunter Barrier, research operations manager
New and Emerging Crops Program

NCDA&CS to showcase agriculture and bioenergy research, economic potential

RALEIGH – Two programs of the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services will host a day-long series of information sessions on April 13 to highlight recent investments in agricultural research.

Researchers will discuss some of the projects that have received grant money through the Bioenergy Research Initiative and the New and Emerging Crops Program. They will also share potential economic possibilities.

Funding for the grants is allocated by the N.C. General Assembly each year, and both programs award that money to research projects aimed at exploring and expanding possibilities for the state’s farmers and agribusinesses. The Bioenergy Research Initiative focuses on developing energy production from the state’s agricultural and forest-based products, while the New and Emerging Crops Program focuses on identifying potential new crops, value-added products and agricultural enterprises and making them commercially viable and profitable for the state’s growers and agribusinesses.

The schedule includes the following sessions:

  • Rice for N.C. FarmersCould there be a renaissance in growing rice in North Carolina? Researchers have been exploring the possibilities and hope to develop new guidance. [afternoon session]
  • Fiber Hemp – A panel discussion about fiber hemp will cover a broad range of research topics from agricultural production to agribusiness development and use as biofuel. [afternoon session]
  • Lemnaceae-Based Biogas and High-purity Bio-hydrogen – Researchers have studied the possibility of growing Lemnaceae, commonly called duckweed, in swine lagoon water and producing biogas from that growth. Also, one study is looking at the potential to use leftover plant material (e.g., hemp or corn biomass) to produce hydrogen fuel more economically and sustainably. [morning session]
  • Sycamore Research and interested industry partners – Growing sycamore trees to harvest as a crop may sound like an unusual idea, but one research project has revealed financial potential for farmers and interest from wood pellet production companies. [morning session]
  • Growing sesame in N.C. – Researchers have been working on the feasibility of growing sesame across the state’s regions, and the results have been promising. Research has expanded as interest grows from farmers, seed companies and processors. The research has led to commercial sesame acreage for 2023. [afternoon session]

The programs last hosted a research and industry meeting in 2019. There have been several exciting new findings since then, and updates would be of interest to anyone in related academic or industry fields, as well as anyone with interest in the agricultural and economic future of North Carolina.

This year’s event will be at the Steve Troxler Agricultural Science Center in Raleigh from 8:30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. on Thursday, April 13. Lunch will be served for registered guests. Registration and the agenda are available at or by contacting Allison Medlin via email at