Tag Archives: Inside the ARECs

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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Inside the ARECs: Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension 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.

An equine enthusiast and owner and breeder of racehorses, American philanthropist Paul Mellon established the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension (MARE) Center in 1949 through a generous donation of land and facilities.

MARE Center Interns

The center is located on a farm that covers 420 acres in the heart of Northern Virginia’s hunt country, and is home to Virginia Tech’s world-renowned sporthorse breeding program.

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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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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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Inside the ARECs: The Alson H. Smith Jr. 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.

Located in Winchester, Va., the Alson H. Smith Jr. Agricultural Research and Extension Center serves Virginia’s commercial fruit and value-added horticultural food crops industries through research, educational programs, development of sustainable production systems and technologies, and increased public knowledge of horticultural opportunities and benefits.

The Winchester Research Laboratory grew out of an earlier project in which five experimental orchards were established in the Shenandoah Valley between 1912 and 1920 to study fertilizers, cultivation, and spraying. The laboratory was established in 1921 when entomologist W. S. Hough was employed by the Crop Pest Commission. A 5-foot-by-7-foot building was built on runners to serve as a lab and was located in an orchard behind his barn. The pest problems of that day were codling moths and leafrollers, pests which Hough studied through his 42-year career and which continue to be serious pests in the 21st century.

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Inside the ARECs: Southern Piedmont AREC celebrates Family and Farm Day 2013

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.

Family and Farm Day was held at the Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Blackstone, Va., on Sept. 14, 2013.

Visitors to the event participated in a wide array of activities. An appearance by the PET dairy cow was a highlight of the event for children, while adults were able to have Extension agents test canner pressure gauges and view a canning demonstration. The event included 70 exhibitors and attracted over 900 participants from the local community. Traditional farm animals like chicks, cattle, sheep, pigs, and goats were on view, as well as information about the importance of bees in agriculture, and a worm farm that demonstrated how they enrich soil. Kids had the opportunity to make pinecone bird feeders using peanut butter and bird seed, and families tested their navigation skills by making their way through a corn maze.

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Family and Farm Day is an opportunity to engage the local community and involve members of the community in Virginia’s oldest industry: agriculture. The event is held each year in mid-September and is part of the Southern Piedmont AREC’s mission to educate members of the community about agricultural endeavors in the region.

The Southern Piedmont AREC has five resident faculty, 15 full-time staff, and employs additional hourly people at various times of the year. The resident faculty members conduct research and Extension programs on tobacco, forages, and beef cattle, and they cooperate with other faculty (from Virginia Tech and other institutions) to study alternative crops for Southside Virginia. Crops grown at the center include tobacco, Bermudagrass, crabgrass, annual ryegrass, corn, wheat, barley, soybeans, strawberries, and wine grapes. Faculty expertise includes agronomy, plant pathology, and animal science.  Research and Extension projects also focus on beef cattle management and production including pasture management and rotational grazing.

The need for agricultural research in the Southern Piedmont region of Virginia was first recognized in 1906 when an appropriation of $2,500 was made from the General Fund to finance research at the region’s first off-campus field stations, one at Appomattox and the other at Chatham. The necessity of field stations operated as a complement to the work on the main campus in Blacksburg was recognized more than 90 years ago. Agricultural Research and Extension Centers throughout the state Extension field offices continue to remain significant sources of knowledge for local farming communities.

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Inside the ARECs: Shenandoah Valley AREC Field Day

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. Starting this month, a new feature called “Inside the ARECs”that highlights the work and accomplishments of these 11 centers will appear in every Insights.

Shenandoah Valley AREC

More than 100 people attended the recent Shenandoah Valley AREC field day.

This month we are featuring the Shenandoah Valley AREC, located in Steeles Tavern. SVAREC performs research and Extension on forage, beef, and sheep production and many other topics.

The Center was established in 1954 through a gift by the McCormick family and a National Historic Landmark at the site plays tribute to Cyrus McCormick. Born on this farm in 1809, Cyrus Hall McCormick is famous for building the first practical grain reaper, which was successfully demonstrated in a field of oats owned by John Steele in nearby Steeles Tavern in 1831.  Patented in 1834, the reaper is credited for starting the mechanical revolution in agriculture that would forever change agricultural production worldwide.

SVAREC held its annual field day on Aug. 7. Almost 100 farmers, researchers, and stakeholders attended the event, where they learned about everything for silvo-pasture techniques to how to conduct ultrasounds on beef cattle to determine intramuscular fat. As with most field days, a delicious barbeque dinner was served to everyone who attended the event. A slideshow of the many demonstrations of at the event can be found here.

Matt Lohr, a CALS alumnus and commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, gave a speech at the event where he spoke of the value and importance of agriculture in the state.

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