Kannapolis Nutrition Center gets federal funds

The North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis will land one of eight Human Nutrition Centers to be set up by the U.S. Agriculture Department.

An agriculture appropriations bill passed by the U.S. Senate includes $1 million to establish the center, Hagan said in a statement. The NC Congressional delegation succeeded in landing the NCRC project, which is being built by billionaire David Murdock, the owner of Dole Food.

The center could eventually employ 150 people and could help the NCRC attract other jobs, according to Rep. Larry Kissell (D-NC), who has requested a $500,000 Congressional earmark for the project.

“This funding will help establish the first Agriculture Research Service center in the southeast,” US Senator Kay Hagan said. “The Human Nutrition Center is an investment in the health of our communities through research on nutrition. Obesity and its side effects, such as diabetes, are prevalent in our region of the country, and this center will research ways to combat this public health problem.”

Researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill and North Carolina State will be involved in work at the center, Hagan’s office said in the announcement. A focus of research efforts will be why individuals vary in their requirements for specific nutrients.

“North Carolina has always been home to leaders in cutting-edge research and technology,” Hagan said. “With health care costs exploding, this funding for our state could not come at a better time.”

The announcement is the first good news for the NCRC, which recently lost a commitment by Pharmaceutical Product Development to establish a presence there and create 300 jobs. PPD cited delays in securing construction funds by the NCRC’s developers as a reason for the decision.

Local governments also have had to step in to provide alternative means of funding NCRC projects after a planned bond offering failed due to the worsening economy.

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