The Northern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center (NPAREC), located in Orange County, plays a significant role in the success of Virginia Tech’s research and Extension programs in forage, field crops, and soils. Research and Extension programs conducted on the center’s 50 acres of leased and owned land includes variety testing of field crops and studies relating to soil fertility and management.
An administrative alignment in the management of the NPAREC has been made to enhance its operational efficiency. The NPAREC recently became a departmental center within the Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences. This change is reflective of the center’s focus on crops and soils and the departmental affiliation of faculty currently conducting programs at the center.
Tom Thompson, head of crop and soil environmental sciences said, “We are excited about other opportunities this will open up for our department and our faculty.” He noted that the college will continue to make investments and improvements to the center.
Today, the center’s 50 acres provide a place to conduct field research that helps farmers select plant varieties and management practices that will be successful in the Northern Piedmont region. Current research includes variety testing of corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, sorghum, and canola; warm-season and cool-season perennial grass evaluation and maintenance; and soil fertility, soil erosion, and soil management studies.
Extension and outreach programs at the center will continue as before and include the 4-H Cloverbud Camp, held each summer for youth ages 5-8, and Ag Day for Third Graders — an annual event for all third-grade students in the county. Additionally, the center provides space for 4-H livestock meetings as well as for the Central Virginia Cattlemen Association meeting, held each September in conjunction with the center’s annual spring twilight meeting. The center will continue to play a vital role in support of the agricultural industry through its research, Extension, and outreach programs.