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.
The Hampton Roads AREC focuses on ornamental horticulture, turf, water issues, and urban agriculture and outreach. The stop at this facility included presentations by Pete Schultz, director of the Hampton Roads AREC, Steve Rideout, director of the Eastern Shore AREC, and Mike Jahncke, director of Virginia Seafood AREC.
At another stop, Carol Wilkinson, director of the Southern Piedmont AREC, and the center faculty and staff, introduced the group to outreach and research projects involving tobacco, pasture, and livestock studies. The group had opportunities to visit tobacco-curing facilities, livestock facilities, stop at a location undergoing conversion from forest to silviculture, and to look at nematodes under a microscope.
The final stop was the Tidewater AREC where the group was hosted by Director David Langston. The tour included faculty presentations on field crop research including cotton and peanut trials, and a stop at the Tidewater AREC’s swine facility.
Tour highlights included a group dinner on the coast hosted by Pete Schultz, a tour of the facilities, and faculty-led presentations about the work being done at these important off-campus facilities.