Tag Archives: AREC

New director appointed at Tidewater AREC

I am pleased to announce that David Langston has accepted our offer to become the director of the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Langston’s appointment is effective Aug. 15, 2014. I would also like to thank Allen Harper for his outstanding leadership of the TAREC over the past several years. We wish Allen the best in his retirement.

Langston currently serves as the professor of plant pathology in College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia-Tifton. He joined University of Georgia as an assistant professor in 1998 after earning his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech. Langston received his bachelors and masters degrees from North Carolina State University. Langston has extensive experience in applied agricultural research and Extension in plant disease management, which is a field that is quite relevant to the mission of the TAREC. He also has a strong record of scholarship and graduate student mentoring. Langston has been quite successful in obtaining a high level of extramural funding from both industry and other competitive sources in support of his program.

He has served in several leadership roles including serving as the president of the southern division of the American Phytopathological Society and as the graduate coordinator for the master degree program in plant protection and pest management at University of Georgia. He is the recipient of several awards and recognitions. I am confident that he has the appropriate leadership qualities and experience to continue enhancing the research, Extension, and outreach programs at the Tidewater AREC.

I would like to thank everyone who participated in the search and interview process, especially the search committee. Many thanks to Pete Schultz (chair of the search committee) and the members of the committee (Ames Herbert, Jody Jellison, Hillary Mehl, Mark Estienne, Wade Thomason and Gail White).

Saied Mostaghimi

Director of Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station
and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies

 

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Inside the ARECs: Tidewater AREC

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 Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center is home to 336 acres in the coastal plains region of Southeast Virginia in Suffolk and is a major research and Extension center for the study of field crops and swine. Established in 1914, the center has been growing steadily over the years in response to the needs of area farmers. There are currently seven resident faculty stationed at the TAREC along with five nonresident faculty who utilize the TAREC as the site for their outreach and research programs.

Peanut field

Applied research and Extension education programming at the Tidewater AREC is focused on economically important field crops such as cotton, soybean, peanut, corn, small grains and alternative crops, and on swine nutrition and reproductive physiology.

Several research and Extension programs at the TAREC focus on efforts to improve disease management in row crops. For example, peanuts, a top agricultural export in the commonwealth in 2013, are susceptible to Sclerotinia blight, a common fungus that can be costly to control and devastating to peanut crops. Researchers at the TAREC are in the process of developing cultivars of peanuts that are genetically resistant to the blight, leaving more money in farmers’ pockets.

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From the Dean — July 2014

Alan Grant, dean

Alan Grant, dean

Dear Colleagues,

As we approach the halfway point of the summer, it’s a good time to highlight some of the great summer programs and activities involving many CALS faculty, staff, and students. Thirty-five CALS undergraduates are among the 356 students attending the second Virginia Tech Summer Academy. Some of the courses are taught by CALS instructors.

Transfer student orientation took place June 23-26 for the 136 transfer students joining the college this fall, and orientation for about 500 new first-year students starts July 7.

There have also been a number of opportunities for youth on campus this summer. More than 500 4-H members were on campus June 16-19 for State 4-H Congress. The 2014 theme was “Celebrating the Past, Making It Last.” Caleb Elder, a contestant on “The Voice,” performed at the 4-H Congress luncheon celebrating Extension’s centennial. The following week, almost 2,000 FFA members were here for the State FFA Convention. Beginning June 29 and lasting for about a month, an additional 100 high school students will be on campus for the Governor’s School for Agriculture.

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Inside the ARECs: Eastern Shore AREC

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.

Field Day at Eastern Shore AREC, Painter, Virginia.

Field Day at Eastern Shore AREC, Painter, Virginia.

Virginia Tech’s Eastern Shore AREC was born out of an association of vegetable growers and marketers from the Norfolk area who formed the Southern Produce Company in the late 1890s. In 1907, a vegetable research center was established in conjunction with the USDA. By 1912, the need for the same type of facility in the Eastern Shore was apparent, and in 1913 land was leased near Tasley, Virginia, for this purpose. On Jan. 1, 1956, the Eastern Shore research activities were moved to its current location in Painter, Virginia.

The research and Extension focus of the Eastern Shore AREC is to support major vegetable and crop production in the area. Research areas include soil fertility and plant nutrient management, horticulture, entomology, plant pathology, and weed science. Most recently the AREC has been instrumental in working to understand how salmonella, an important food borne illness, is transferred from crop to consumer.

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Inside the ARECs: Eastern Virginia AREC

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 Eastern Virginia AREC is located in the primarily grain-growing region of the state in the coastal plain near Warsaw. The research programs conducted at the center contribute to the development of new wheat, barley, and soybean varieties by providing major field support for Virginia Tech crop breeding programs. Other research projects at this center include disease, pest, and fertility management of these crops.

Eastern Virginia AREC field day tour

Eastern Virginia AREC field day tour.

Field days and tours at the Eastern Virginia AREC are a significant component of the center’s outreach efforts and are held each year to showcase the center’s research initiatives, to introduce new varieties that are nearing release, and to educate visitors about the production and management of wheat, barley, and soybeans in eastern Virginia. A field day focusing on the small grains program is scheduled for May 15. 

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Kim Williams – March Employee of the Month

Kim Williams, agricultural supervisor at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center, has been selected as the employee of the month for March.

Kim Williams, March Employee of the Month

 

Kim’s nominator praised her enthusiasm, positive attitude, and dedication, saying that she “is an outstanding employee at the Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Even on the busiest and most stressful days, Kim keeps a positive attitude that not only impacts her work, but it keeps everyone around her in good spirits, as well. Kim is nothing but professional, enthusiastic, helpful, studious, insightful, funny, and a true joy to work with.”

She approaches each conflict with a positive outlook and works hard to ensure daily tasks are completed. Kim is highly organized and a motivated individual who puts her job first.

Most notably, her nominator points out that she is “without a doubt, the most deserving candidate of this award”.

Congratulations Kim!

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Inside the ARECs: The Seafood AREC in Hampton, Va.

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.

Established in 1975, The Seafood AREC is housed in a two-story 9600-square-foot building located on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Hampton, Va.

Seafood Research and Extension Center

Core research and Extension programs at the center focus on food science research regarding safe food handling practices associated with seafood products, as well as post-harvest processing methods for molluscan shellfish, aquaculture thermal and freezing processes, energy audits, and waste management.

The Seafood AREC also currently serves as a regional Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points training center and is a hub for the region.

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Capacity building grants program

In order to stimulate translational research, foster agricultural outreach, and to enhance research and Extension activities at the Southwest Virginia, Shenandoah Valley, and Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Centers, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences awarded five capacity building grants which are intended to provide seed funding to improve competitiveness for extramural grants and to provide opportunities to the faculty to more fully utilize and support these AREC facilities.

The Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station and Virginia Cooperative Extension jointly funded five projects for a total of about $250,000. The funded projects are listed below.

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Students become certified master food volunteers in special topics class

Melissa Chase’s special topics class was offered through the Department of Food Science and Technology and provided students access to faculty expertise, food preparation techniques, and served as an educational resource for the community. It was also designed to cultivate future Master Food Volunteers and introduce students to career options within the food science and technology field and Virginia Cooperative Extension.

Master Food Volunteers are an important resource for disseminating information about food preparation, nutrition, and food safety. The volunteers operate under the umbrella of Virginia Cooperative Extension and in partnership with the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station, an entity that provides a research resource for the program. In the class, students developed educational tools that promoted healthy eating habits and safe food handling tips as if they were actual volunteers.

“We certified students at the end of the class to become Master Food Volunteers who are ready to work in the community educating the public about healthy food options and safe food preparation,” said Chase, state coordinator of the Master Food Volunteer Program.

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Inside the ARECs: Hair Sheep research in Glade Spring, Va.

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 Southwest Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center located in Glade Spring, Va., performs research  and outreach in areas as diverse as food-animal production, tobacco management, biofuel production on pasturelands, and Christmas tree production.

Hair Sheep from research center in Glade Spring, Va.

The center operated on leased land until 1947. In 1952 funds appropriated by the General Assembly with support of the Southwest Virginia Agricultural Association, the Virginia Farm Bureau, and the Burley Tobacco Association allowed for the purchase of a 208-acre tract of land in Glade Spring that would become the AREC.

In recent years, the center has recently become one of the primary sites for conducting hair sheep research at Virginia Tech. Hair sheep have emerged as a significant area of interest to researchers and farmers alike because they have proven to thrive on marginal pasturelands, which means farming hair sheep could allow farmers to further maximize profits by utilizing land previously thought to be unproductive. The university has already had successful sales of breeding rams at the center also, and plans to incorporate a pasture-based hair sheep ram testing facility at the AREC are underway.

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