Georgia Institute of Technology: Agribusiness and Forest Product Innovations Among Projects Emphasized In NIFA Director Tour of Georgia Tech

In January, Georgia Tech hosted Carrie Castille, director of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), on campus to show Georgia Tech’s impact on food processing, agricultural, and forestry research.

NIFA, which operates within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was created in 2008 to further enhance the nation’s agricultural research and education. The agency works to address the agricultural issues affecting people’s daily lives and the nation’s future by partnering with other federal agencies, universities, and nonprofits. NIFA funds research and educational initiatives in order ensure the long-term viability of agriculture in the United States.

Agriculture and forestry are serious business here in the state of Georgia. According to the University of Georgia’s Center for Agribusiness and Economic Development, Georgia’s forest industry accounts for a total economic contribution to the state of $17.7 billion and supports more than 73,300 jobs in Georgia. Agriculture contributes approximately $73.3 billion annually to Georgia’s economy and ranks No. 1 in the U.S. for broilers, hatching eggs, and peanuts. One in seven Georgians works in agriculture, forestry, or related fields. While Georgia Tech is not a land-grant university, Georgia Tech researchers work alongside university partners across the state, merging engineering and technology expertise with partners in traditional agricultural sciences.

Castille and her staff met with researchers at Georgia Tech’s Renewable Bioproducts Institute (RBI) along with GTRI’s Agricultural Technology Research Program (ATRP). RBI creates a competitive edge and insight into the future of forest products. Their professional scientists and engineers work together to provide information and offer solutions required by a rapidly changing market. GTRI’s ATRP is a state-funded research program meant to help Georgia’s agriculture economy and poultry industry. ATRP drives transformational innovation, developing new methods and systems specifically designed for poultry, agribusiness, and food manufacturing applications. These innovations are created to maximize productivity and efficiency, advance safety and health, and minimize environmental impacts. Their goal is to transition technologies from concept to commercialization, as quickly and economically as possible.