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Robeson Farm Bureau contributes to UNCP’s Biotechnology Center

July 9, 2009

The Robeson County Farm Bureau has joined in support of the Biotechnology Business and Training Center at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.


Anthony Locklear, Robeson county Farm Bureau board member, Larry Wooten, state Farm Bureau president, former Chancellor Meadors, John Blackmon Bill Williford and Lycurous Lowry, all board members.

The Farm Bureau will contribute $50,000 over five years to the Biotech- nology Center.  The University dedicated the lobby of the center to the Robeson County Farm Bureau on June 11.

The Biotech- nology Center’s mission includes building partnerships and planting seeds in bio-agriculture research and training. The Farm Bureau’s gift will go to four projects:

  • a Farm Bureau scholarship
  • a bio-agriculture symposium (tentatively set for November)
  • research in bio-agriculture
  • operational costs of the center

State and county Farm Bureau officials turned out for the dedication.

Farm Bureau is a mutual insurance and financial services company founded in 1936. The Farm Bureau supports farm families, farm issues and education. Robeson County has 14 agents in its Lumberton and Pembroke offices, said Matthew Adams, a Lumberton agency manager and a 1989 UNCP graduate.

“We worked on this project for almost a year, and when we saw what was going on at the Biotechnology Center, we thought it was the best fit for us,” Adams said.  “This is our University, and we believe we can make an impact on our county with this investment.”

Adams cited the center partnerships with Robeson, Bladen and Brunswick community colleges to study agriculture-related projects as a plus.

“Every time I visited the center, there was a community college student working in the lab,” Adams continued. “It’s a good feeling to ride by this facility knowing something good is going on inside.”

Lycurous Lowry ’57, an agri-businessman and long-time member of the local Farm Bureau’s Board of Directors, thanked the University, the Robeson County Farm Bureau Board of Directors and the North Carolina Farm Bureau.

“I thought it was outstanding that we could be a part of something at the University that is farm-related,” Lowry said. “We promote education, and I think this will work out well.”

Dr. Holmes said the gift provides funding for research, equipment and operational costs, which may not be covered through the normal funding channels.

“I sincerely appreciate the Farm Bureau’s support of our mission,” Dr. Holmes said. “They have demonstrated an understanding that biotechnology is the future of farming.”

Chancellor Allen C. Meadors thanked the Farm Bureau on behalf of the University.

“Every gift in support of our students and our mission is a special gift,” Chancellor Meadors said. “A gift at this time is especially important.”

Dr. Charles Harrington, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs, said the support is an “important investment in biotechnology, and education is an investment in the future of southeastern North Carolina.” 

 “This gift will allow us to further strengthen our bio-agriculture research and training capacities,” Dr. Harrington said.  

Larry Wooten, president of the state Farm Bureau office, praised the Robeson County office.

“The Farm Bureau is in all 100 North Carolina counties, and I can tell you we don’t have one any better than right here in Robeson County,” Wooten said. “Our mission is to improve the quality of life and incomes of farmers and their families, and biotechnology is the hope for our future.”

Alisia Oxendine, director of Collegiate Development, said partnerships like this one will help improve the quality of life in the rural community.

“Partnering with regional stakeholders such as Farm Bureau affords the center an opportunity to fulfill its mission,” Oxendine said.
Oxendine introduced the first Farm Bureau Scholar, Brittany Locklear, a graduate of Robeson Community College’s Early College and a new junior at UNCP.

For more information about the Biotechnology Business and Training Center, please contact Dr. Holmes at 910.521.6650. For information about corporate or other giving to the University, please contact the Office for Advancement at 910.521.6252 or email