Tag Archives: AREC

Ames Herbert wins Insect Research and Control Conference award

Ames Herbert was named as the 2016 recipient of the Insect Research and Control Conference Award for Excellence in Cotton Integrated Pest Management. This is a very prestigious national award, presented at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences. The award recognizes the outstanding career contributions of an individual to applied arthropod integrated pest management across the U.S. Cotton Belt. Herbert was recognized for excelling in industry, research, extension, or educational programs that have benefited the cotton industry. The annual recognition is sponsored by Dow AgroSciences and consists of an inscribed trophy and a monetary reward. The award was presented to Herbert at the Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans, Louisiana on Jan. 6.

Herbert is a professor of entomology at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and  Extension Center. He has an extensive program that emphasizes profitable yet environmentally sound methods to manage pests in the wide variety of row crops grown in Virginia. As a testament to his excellence, he was selected for this national award even  though cotton is not as significant a commodity in Virginia relative to the southern states. Herbert is highly respected and works collaboratively with grower and industry groups, Extension agents and university researchers. Herbert serves both as Extension project leader for the Department of Entomology and the state IPM coordinator.

Congratulations!

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Inside the ARECS: Reynolds Homestead Forest Research Center

The Agricultural Research and Extension Centers are a network of 11 research centers located throughout the state that emphasize the close working relationship between the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Virginia Cooperative Extension. “Inside the ARECs” highlights the work and accomplishments of these 11 centers and will appear in every Insights.

The Reynolds Homestead was built in 1843 as the Rock Spring Plantation by Hardin Reynolds, a successful farmer, merchant, banker, and tobacco manufacturer. The site is designated a State and National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Registry of American Homes. The more than 800-acre property is comprised of the Forestry Resources Research Center, and also the restored historic home and a Community Enrichment Center, both of which are part of Virginia Tech’s Office of Outreach and International Affairs.

The Reynolds Homestead Forest Resources Research Center (FRRC) in Critz, Virginia was created in 1969 to study forest biology including genetics, physiology and soils. Specific projects include harvesting to increase forest health and productivity, site preparation, forest fertilization, loblolly pine physiology and forest herbicide testing. The Center integrates Extension, research, and outreach programs that impact many of the surrounding communities and the region.

Facilities include 780 acres, two-acre pond, house, apartment, laboratory and office space, greenhouse, field equipment, and an additional seven acres dedicated to the continuing education center and the Reynolds family museum house and cemetery.

Kyle Peer, superintendent of the Reynolds Homestead Forest Resources Research Center, is shown with the LEAF Trail kiosk he constructed. The kiosk is used by hundreds of visitors, students, and hikers each year who can learn about the site’s forestry research as well as the history of the Reynolds Homestead.

Kyle Peer, superintendent of the Reynolds Homestead Forest Resources Research Center, is shown with the LEAF Trail kiosk he constructed. The kiosk is used by hundreds of visitors, students, and hikers each year who can learn about the site’s forestry research as well as the history of the Reynolds Homestead.

Superintendent of the AREC, Kyle Peer, and Lisa Martin, senior program manager at the historic property, collaborate extensively on educational programming offered at the Reynolds Homestead.

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Inside the ARECs: New tractor yields economic and educational benefits for Kentland Farm

The Agricultural Research and Extension Centers are a network of 11 research centers located throughout the state that emphasize the close working relationship between the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Virginia Cooperative Extension. “Inside the ARECs” highlights the work and accomplishments of these 11 centers and will appear in every Insights.

Industry partnerships are becoming more prevalent in higher education, and agricultural technology students at the College of Agriculture and Life Science’s Kentland Farm are experiencing the value of industry partnerships in a big way.

One of the more recent industry collaborations in the college occurred between the college and Hoober Inc., a farming equipment supplier based in Ashland, Virginia. On Oct.13 the company donated a tractor to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences to support the college cropping operation at Kentland Farm and learning initiatives in the Agricultural Technology Program.

Ag Tech tractor at Kentland Farm

Pavli Mykerezi, director of Agricultural Technology Program, left, and Saied Mostaghimi, associate dean and director of Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, look over the new tractor that Hoober Inc. is lending to the college.

The relationship came about because of Ian Watkins, an alumnus of the agricultural technology program, and employee of Hoober Inc. For several years Watkins has been bringing equipment from Ashland and exposing students in the program to precision farming expertise.

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John Mason – October employee of the month

Congratulations to the October employee of the month, John Mason! Mason is a research specialist from the Eastern Shore Agriculture Research and Extension Center.

John Mason receiving his award alongside Mark Reiter (left) and Steve Rideout (right).

John Mason receiving his award alongside Mark Reiter (left) and Steve Rideout (right).

Mason’s nominator explained that he “is always willing to assist with any protocol or task necessary in the Soils and Nutrient Management Program.” He manages to complete all tasks accurately, professionally, and with a smile. Since being hired into the program, he has learned and now leads plot implementation that covers all aspects from tillage, pesticide applications, treatment application, harvest, and quality measurements.

He also manages, educates, and assists graduate students, undergraduate interns, and hourly wage employees to make sure all tasks are done correctly and timely. Mason’s “professional attitude, happy go lucky outlook, and helpful manner makes him a pleasure to deal with on a daily basis. Mason works diligently and jokingly to suppress otherwise tense and high pressure moments.” His nominator also mentioned that Mason is one of the hardest working, supportive, and caring employees at the Easter Shore AREC.

As the October employee of the month, he will receive a plaque, gifts from the college, have his photo displayed in the case in Hutcheson Hall, and will be eligible to be considered for the 2015-16 Employee of the Year award.

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Inside the ARECS: Southwest sheep sale

The Agricultural Research and Extension Centers are a network of 11 research centers located throughout the state that emphasize the close working relationship between the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Virginia Cooperative Extension. “Inside the ARECs” highlights the work and accomplishments of these 11 centers and will appear in every Insights.

Virginia Tech’s Southwest Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Glade Spring recently completed a record-breaking ram sale.

sheep

The sale was the culmination of four years of a forage-based ram lamb evaluation. The program had seen continuing growth with an inaugural year in 2012 yielding strong participation from breeders around the region who consigned more than 60 rams. In 2015, the program grew to 21 producers from eight states participating, consigning 110 rams to the test. Thirty-six of the high performing rams on test were sold at the annual educational field day on Sept. 26. The sale average was $1,222 per head. The high selling ram brought $2,600, and was consigned by Roxanne Newton of Hahira, Georgia. This was the highest sale average to date, topping last year’s record breaking sale average of $875 per head.

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Inside the ARECs: Eastern Shore

The Agricultural Research and Extension Centers are a network of 11 research centers located throughout the state that emphasize the close working relationship between the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Virginia Cooperative Extension. “Inside the ARECs” highlights the work and accomplishments of these 11 centers and will appear in every Insights.

Assistant Professor of Food Science and Technology and Extension Specialist Laura Strawn is located at the Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Painter, Virginia, where she focuses on enhanced microbial safety of fruit and vegetable production at both the pre- and post-harvest level.

Laura Strawn explains her research to Virginia Tech President Tim Sands (center) and Associated Dean of Research Saied Mostaghimi (left)

Laura Strawn explains her research to Virginia Tech President Tim Sands (center) and Associate Dean of Research Saied Mostaghimi (left).

A typical day for Strawn includes a wide variety of research-related and outreach and Extension responsibilities. Grant writing and catching up with progress reports are tempered with traveling to interact with stakeholders, or providing safety trainings.

In November 2015, the Fresh Produce Food Safety Team with whom Strawn collaborates, is offering a workshop entitled,Packinghouse Best Practices: A Hands-on Workshop Using a Risk-based Framework to Increase Fresh Produce Food Safety.” Topics will include the difference between cleaning and sanitizing; most commonly used sanitizing agents; how to calculate a target ppm for sanitizing agents; factors that impact sanitizing effectiveness; monitoring a sanitizer within the line or other application (i.e. wash basin); keeping track of monitoring steps; and what is meant by a clean break in a packinghouse.

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Inside the ARECS: Kentland Farm

The Agricultural Research and Extension Centers are a network of 11 research centers located throughout the state that emphasize the close working relationship between the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Virginia Cooperative Extension. “Inside the ARECs” highlights the work and accomplishments of these 11 centers and will appear in every Insights.

Kentland Farm’s diverse research initiatives were on display during the New River Valley Agriculture Field Day on Aug. 13. Current research projects showcased at the farm included programs that focus on pest and weed management, fescue seed head suppression, and the use of unmanned aircraft in agricultural applications.

Kentland Farm Field Day

The day consisted of a number of stops including the Dining Services Gardens, the new Dairy Science Complex, and a tour of the area’s manor house and other early farm buildings which was led by Sam Cook, the director of American Indian Studies, and Tom Klatka, an archaeologist from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

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Mark Reiter receives SSSA Early Career Professional Award

Mark S. Reiter, of Painter, Virginia, will receive the SSSA Early Career Professional Award in November at The Soil Science Society of America’s annual meeting in November 2015. Reiter is associate professor and Extension specialist of soils and nutrient management at the Virginia Tech Eastern Shore Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Reiter received a B.S. from Virginia Tech, an M.S. from Auburn University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Arkansas. He strives to increase grain, oilseed, fiber, and vegetable productivity by increasing efficiency to reduce the overall environmental footprint of production.

Reiter has authored 15 peer-reviewed publications, more than 150 Extension publications, abstracts, and other reports, and holds one U.S. Patent. He has presented locally, nationally, and internationally and has presented over 175 presentations and workshops to Extension clientele. In addition to serving on many committees at Virginia Tech, he is active in the Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, and currently serves as President of the Southern Regional Branch of ASA.

The SSSA Early Career Professional Award recognizes professionals who have made an outstanding contribution in Soil Science within seven years of completing their final degree (B.S., M.S., Ph.D.). The award consists of a certificate and $1,000 honorarium.

Congratulations, Mark!

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Inside the ARECS — Summer AREC tour

The Agricultural Research and Extension Centers are a network of 11 research centers located throughout the state that emphasize the close working relationship between the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Virginia Cooperative Extension. “Inside the ARECs” highlights the work and accomplishments of these 11 centers and will appear in every Insights.

Each year new faculty and others members of the university community are invited to participate in a two-day tour of selected Agricultural Research and Extension Centers.

This year the tour featured stops at the Southern Piedmont AREC in Blackstone, the Hampton Roads AREC in Virginia Beach, and the Tidewater AREC in Suffolk. Participants included new faculty, CALS administrative personnel, library and facilities representatives, and a guest from the Farm Bureau. The tour was intended to introduce the AREC system to individuals both inside Virginia Tech and external to the university, help new faculty to learn about off-campus facilities and resources available to them, and meet potential collaborators among AREC faculty and staff. Continue reading

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MARE Center and National Sporting Library & Museum team up on land stewardship symposium

Water quality expert teaches symposium participants.

Participants learned about water quality best management practices in a hands-on workshop at the MARE. Center.

Bridgett McIntosh

Bridgett McIntosh was the 2015 recipient of the Equine Science Society’s Outstanding Young Professional Award. This award recognizes an individual under 40 with less than 10 years of service in academia or industry, who has made meritorious contributions to equine science, teaching, research, public service, or industry. Bridgett is the Virginia Cooperative Extension Equine Extension specialist in the Department of Animal and Poultry Sciences housed at the MARE Center in Middleburg, Virginia.

The horse industry plays an important role in Virginia’s agricultural and economic landscape with some 41,000 horse farms and a $1.2 billion impact on the state’s economy overall. While the industry has continued to grow despite a rise in land costs and diminishing acreage, horse owners and farm managers need innovative solutions to maximize the health and well-being of their horses and the land. To address these needs, The Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension Center and the National Sporting Library & Museum teamed up to present a new program “Spotlight on Stewardship: Equine Land Management Symposium” on June 26 – 27. The event combined the latest in scientific research with hands-on learning experiences and the inimitable richness of Middleburg’s equestrian culture. About 75 equine enthusiasts from the mid-Atlantic region enjoyed participating in the dynamic symposium on land stewardship that spanned two days and included sessions at both locations. “Judging from the enthusiasm surrounding the symposium and the popular feedback we are continuing to receive, we are confident that this will become an annual event,” said Bridgett McIntosh, Extension equine specialist at the MARE Center, who was responsible for organizing the event. The MARE Center’s mission, as part of the state’s land grant Cooperative Extension research farms, is to improve equine management while enhancing land stewardship. Given the MARE Center’s scenic location in the heart of Virginia’s horse country, an event combining cutting-edge scientific knowledge with the richness of local equestrian and rural culture was a natural fit. The symposium covered a host of topics centered on equine and environmental health. The first day laid the groundwork with talks about preserving open space and managing equine farms for soil and water conservation. The next day, speakers delved into the history of pasture management in the region, using pasture-based nutrition in breeding operations, and situations in which pasture alone isn’t enough for horses.

John Galbraith teaches symposium participants about soil quality.

An in-depth workshop on soil health at the MARE Center was a favorite among participants.

Fittingly, among invited guest speakers were alumni of the Virginia Tech MARE Center including Amy Burk, associate professor and Extension specialist, University of Maryland; Kathleen Crandell, equine nutritionist, Kentucky Equine Research; Burt Staniar, associate professor of equine science, Pennsylvania State University; Carey Williams, associate Extension specialist and associate professor, Rutgers University; and Tania Cubitt, equine nutritionist, performance horse nutrition. Following lectures both mornings at the National Sporting Library & Museum, hands-on workshops were held at the MARE Center each afternoon led by natural resource and forage professionals from Virginia Cooperative Extension and other state organizations. Participants learned about a diverse array of equine land management issues including soil health, water quality, and pasture management in an applicable field setting. Tours of both sites, optional trips to wine tasting at Boxwood Winery via a hayride and an “Open Late” Virginia Tech Alumni Night at the National Sporting Library with the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra were also part of the event. A planned outing to a polo match has been rescheduled for Aug. 8 due to rain, but the wet weather did nothing to dampen participants’ spirits: “I would deem every speaker, topic, and all materials absolutely first rate!” one participant concluded.

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