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.
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.