Golden LEAF investments
LEAF Inc. was created in 1999 to invest
Since then, the foundation has been investing in North Carolina and North Carolinians. This often means providing the funding needed to make the most of a good idea. Certainly, that seems to be the case with Golden LEAF funding that is making it possible to market natto soybeans.
While the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the North Carolina Soybean Producers Association funded efforts to breed small-seeded soybean varieties suitable for making natto, Golden LEAF provided the funding needed to create a marketing position and supported efforts to market soybeans in Japan.
Since 1999, Golden LEAF has awarded $550,000 to the N.C. Agricultural Foundation Inc. for the N.C. Agricultural Research Service (NCARS) and Grain Growers Cooperative projects and $264,250 to North Carolina Foundation Seed Producers Inc. The NCARS and Grain Growers funding was used to create a marketing position and support natto marketing and other efforts, while the Seed Producers funding was used to purchase equipment needed to prepare natto soybeans for shipment to Japan.
A number of other efforts within the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences have been supported from Golden LEAF funding. Efforts to develop aquaculture and the meat goat industry in the state and to better understand the sweet potato genome have benefited, as has the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro.
Among the major Golden LEAF beneficiaries in the College has been the North Carolina Specialty Crops Program. Golden LEAF funding has allowed this program to expand from a regional effort centered in the Kinston area to a statewide effort. Expansion of the Specialty Crops Program is but one example of how Golden LEAF investments in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are paying dividends throughout North Carolina.