RALEIGH – Looking to capture the growth of agricultural innovation in the Triangle, the Research Triangle Regional Partnership is hosting its 23rd annual State of the Region conference centered around the AgTech industry.

The event comes as the Triangle competes as one of three finalists for a project that would move 700 jobs within the US Department of Agriculture from the Washington, D.C. area.

According to RTRP’s market research, the Triangle’s agribusiness sector is expected to grow 17.2 percent in the next five years. With a boost from big employers like BASF and Syngenta, Triangle firms make up 74 percent of North Carolina’s overall AgTech workforce.

RTRP plans to highlight this growth at this week’s AgTech-themed conference, held May 23 at Duke Energy Center for Performing Arts.

The program features keynotes from Adrian Percy, CTO of California-based AgTech VC firm Finistere Ventures, and Diane Leopold, EVP and president/CEO of Dominion Energy Gas Infrastructure Group.

An industry panel will discuss AgTech’s impact on the region’s economic development, with NC State College of Ag and Life Sciences Dean Richard Linton, Syngenta RTP Site Head and Head of Trait Research and Developmental Biology Ian Jepson, and Geoffrey Duyk of Florida investment firm Circularis Partners.

Another panel discussion will center around the AgTech workforce, featuring a selection of community college leaders in North Carolina: NC Community College System President Peter Hans, Wake Tech Community College President Scott Ralls and Piedmont Community College President Pamela Senegal.

Ryan Combs, executive director of the RTRP, says the Triangle’s AgTech growth is tied to the convergence of agriculture innovation coming from Research Triangle Park and the universities surrounding it.

“We chose to focus the State of the Region on AgTech because the Research Triangle region is well positioned to become the epicenter of the emerging global AgTech industry thanks to our existing and emerging resources, companies and partnerships,” Combs added.

This will be the 23rd installment of RTRP’s annual State of the Region program. Last year’s event focused more broadly on the future of innovation in the Triangle, with the theme “Ready the Region.”

RTRP is expecting more than 1,000 attendees. Tickets, available on Eventbrite, are priced at $125.