Hearings are scheduled across North Carolina in December and January at which the public may comment on the management of North Carolina's agricultural research stations.

The hearings will be held at the following locations:

• Wednesday, Dec. 10, 6 p.m.
Tidewater Research Station 
207 Research Station Road, Plymouth, N.C.

• Tuesday, Dec. 16, 6 p.m.
Wake County Office Park, Commons Building
4001 Carya Drive, Raleigh, N.C.

• Wednesday, Jan. 14, 1 p.m.
Mountain Research Station 
264 Test Farm Road, Waynesville, N.C.

The North Carolina General Assembly earlier this year instructed North Carolina State University, North Carolina A&T State University and the state's Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to work together to develop a strategic plan for managing the state's 18 agricultural research stations and the North Carolina A&T Farm.

The legislative action followed a report by the legislature's Program Evaluation Division that suggested a strategic plan for research station system management is needed. At present, North Carolina State owns six of the research stations, while the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services owns the remaining 12, and North Carolina A&T owns its research farm.

The strategic plan will be designed to "enhance efficiency, improve effectiveness and modernize our facilities for agricultural research," says a letter announcing the public hearings. The letter is signed by Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler, Johnny C. Wynne, dean and executive director for agricultural programs, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, North Carolina State; and Donald R. McDowell, interim dean, School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, North Carolina A&T.

At the three meetings, the public is invited to offer suggestions on how North Carolina's agricultural research stations might be modernized and managed more efficiently and effectively.

e-mail: dave_caldwell@ncsu.edu