Tag Archives: Virginia-Tech

Research aids in the fight against invasive species

From soybean fields to hemlocks forests, experts from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Virginia Cooperative Extension are developing ways to deal with and control the hitchhikers, interlopers, and otherwise nasty pests known as invasive species.

Jacob Barney, assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, is just one of a team of faculty members studying invasive species and protecting Virginia producers from their destruction.

Jacob Barney, assistant professor in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, is just one of a team of faculty members studying invasive species and protecting Virginia producers from their destruction.

“The top 10 pests that we deal with now are non-native, and we spend lots of money to control them,” said Eric Day, an entomologist with Virginia Cooperative Extension and manager of the Insect Identification Lab in the Department of Entomology.

Meanwhile Assistant Professor Jacob Barney in the Department of Plant Pathology, Physiology, and Weed Science, collaboratively studies another invasive species — Johnsongrass — a weed that chokes out crops on farmland because of its fast-growing and extensive root structure.

Barney will study what makes Johnsongrass a globally successful weed and use the research to establish a model for studying other weeds and how to predict invasiveness.

Another most-wanted intruder, the brown marmorated stink bug, is an annoyance to homeowners, but the real problem is the millions of dollars in damage it causes to crops across the Mid-Atlantic region.

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Exploring how industrial hemp can benefit the commonwealth

U.S. retail sales of hemp-based products could exceed $300 million annually, according to industry reports.

Starting in the 2016 growing season, Virginia Tech will begin conducting research on a crop that was part of the very fabric of the Jamestown settlement and may once again become a part of the commonwealth’s agricultural portfolio: hemp.

Following a 2015 state law that allows institutions of higher education to grow industrial hemp for research purposes, the university began researching the manner in which the crop can be grown and assessing the economic impact it could have on the commonwealth.

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Virginia Tech goes full steam ahead with hops research

With more than 100 craft breweries, Virginia is quickly emerging as a significant player in the East Coast beer scene. Membership in the Old Dominion Hops Cooperative has grown from about 20 members to more than 80 over the past two years.

The burgeoning craft beer industry supports more than 8,000 jobs in the commonwealth and has a $623 million economic impact on the state, according to the Virginia Craft Brewers Guild.

And Virginia Tech is helping the commonwealth dive into the suds business. The university is currently conducting two studies — one examines the fermentation of hops, and the other studies the crop itself.

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Virginia Tech contributes to record agricultural export number

Agricultural and forestry exports have been on the rise in the commonwealth for the last three years and most recently topped out at more than $3.35 billion.

Soybeans, lumber, tobacco, wheat, and pork — all commodities for which Virginia Tech provides crucial research and Extension services — are among the state’s top exports year after year.

That record-breaking dollar figure is built on staples of the export market, but it has also continued to climb because of breakthroughs into prestigious luxury markets, like wine. In a cultural coup, Virginia wine was exported to the United Kingdom for the first time two years ago, a feather in the cap of the state’s winemakers and a testament to the craftsmanship and quality of the commonwealth’s wine industry that is flourishing with the help of research and Extension.

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New dairy complex boosts industry

Virginia’s dairy industry is valued at more than $480 million and is the state’s third most valuable agricultural commodity.

To serve this industry, Virginia Tech researchers and Virginia Cooperative Extension agents and specialists work in concert to provide the most current and relevant knowledge to producers around the state.

Now, they have a new state-of-the-art dairy facility where they can help the industry grow
even more.

This summer, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences completed construction of the $14 million Dairy Science Complex – Kentland Farm.

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