President Ralph Carter Jr., Secretary-Treasurer Willie Moore and Dean Oblinger

New endowment will fund College programs assisting blueberry industry

In February, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Dean James L. Oblinger hosted ceremonies for the creation of the North Carolina Blueberry Council Research and Extension Endowment in the North Carolina Agricultural Foundation Inc. The N.C. Blueberry Council Inc. is establishing the endowment in the College to provide ongoing support of research and extension programs at N.C. State University that provide assistance to the state’s blueberry industry.

“With the signing of this agreement, the Blueberry Council is creating something that will forever benefit the blueberry industry as it stimulates programmatic growth in the College,” said Oblinger. “Building and fully funding the endowment will mean continued support for the research and extension functions of the College as they relate to the blueberry industry. “I want to thank the Blueberry Council for taking a visionary approach to helping us and yourselves at the same time.” Dr. Ed Jones, Dr. Steven Leath, and Dr. Ken Esbenshade thanked the council on behalf of extension, research and academic programs in the College.

Jones, associate state program leader with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, said the endowment would enhance the already strong relationship between the blueberry industry and Cooperative Extension, while Leath, assistant director of N.C. Agricultural Research Service, said, “As you know, we are committed to commodity-based research. This type of partnership ensures that commitment and work can continue forward.”

Esbenshade, director of academic programs in the College, added that as the endowment supports research and extension projects in the College, it will benefit students involved in those projects.

Dr. Tom Monaco, head of the Department of Horticultural Science, reminded those present that the new endowment is an extension of the generosity the Council has consistently shown his department. “Every year the Blueberry Council provides research and extension programs in the College financial support ranging from $25 to $30 thousand,” he said. “This represents almost their entire assessment collected from the blueberry growers annually. This endowment now adds to what they have done for us over the years.”

Appearing on behalf of the Blueberry Council were Ralph Carter Jr., president, and Willie Moore, secretary-treasurer. Moore said that the Council’s investment in research and extension “has yielded tenfold benefits to the industry,” while Carter praised the efforts of the College in support of blueberry growers and its role in the success of the commodity in the state. “The farmers are the reason we’re where we are today,” Carter said, “and we appreciate all that you have done for them.”
-- Terri Leith