Since 2008, the agricultural biotechnology sector of our regional life sciences cluster has expanded rapidly. Think microwave popcorn right when it gets going.

The growth exhibited by leading Ag Bio companies in Durham includes key international crop leaders such as BASF, Bayer Cropscience, Cheminova, L1 AgroSciences, Sipcam Agro, and Syngenta Biotechnology.

15 Locations, $310 Million Invested
Consider the 15 location or expansion announcements totaling more than $310 million in new investments and the employment of more than 1,075 workers.

Growth in this industry cluster has been driven by the need to feed a rapidly growing global population on a declining amount of arable land. In 2010, the world population was estimated at 6.9 billion and by 2030 the world population is projected to be 8.2 billion, an increase of nearly 19%.

Feeding the world population will be no small task. Durham and Research Triangle Park are very much at the center for developing the seeds that allow great crop yields and that are tailored to the unique growing conditions found around the world.

Bayer CropScience Expands and Hires
Continuing the growth trajectory of Ag Bio company growth, Bayer CropScience, which purchased an additional 69 acres of land adjacent to their current site in the Research Triangle Park announced in June the construction of a $30 million new building on the expanded campus. This expansion includes the construction of a 29,500-square-foot greenhouse as well as installation of necessary infrastructure and land to support potential future growth. The new facility will accommodate the company’s seed trait research, providing dedicated and isolated greenhouse space for insect testing, consolidated space for nematode trait research, and the capability for groundbreaking plant disease research.

Much of this growth has taken place under the leadership of Jim Blome, Chief Executive Officer, President and Head of North American Region of Bayer CropScience AG and Bayer CropScience, Inc. We can hope that Mr. Blome will continue to lead the company’s growth well into the future.