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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

UNCP names its first Farm Bureau Scholar

The first Farm Bureau Scholar at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke is a devoted vegetable, flower and fruit gardener.

Brittany Locklear

Brittany Locklear

Black Line

Working this summer at UNCP’s Biotechnology Business and Training Laboratory, Brittany Locklear showed off samples of roses, ferns and lilies that she is micro-propagating under grow lights.

“This agar solution contains everything the plants need to grow, just like soil,” Locklear said. “I’ve been making more solution today.”

Locklear is interning in a National Institute of Health-funded program between UNCP and Robeson Community College (RCC). Besides plant propagation, she is working on bacterial transference using streptococcus epidermidis.

“I’m learning a lot about lab work,” she said. “But I enjoy gardening, and I really like being outdoors.”

Some of Locklear’s earliest childhood recollections are in the garden.

“When I was little, I used to eat peas out of the garden,” she said. “My family always had a garden.”

Her early interest took root in a high school classroom.

“I took a horticulture class at Purnell Swett High School, and learned a lot about soil types and what will grow under different conditions,” she said. “My goal is to have my own greenhouse to propagate my plants.”

From the Union Chapel community, Locklear graduated from the first class of RCC’s Early College while majoring in biotechnology. She will attend UNCP in the fall to study biochemistry. Meanwhile, she is making the most of her summer.

This spring the Robeson County Farm Bureau committed $50,000 to supporting bio-agriculture programs at the Biotechnology Center over five years.

A mutual insurance and financial services company founded in 1936, the Farm Bureau supports farm families, issues and education. The county agency has 14 agents in its Lumberton and Pembroke offices.

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