Agriculture Field Days Effective Teaching Tools
PINE BLUFF, Arkansas -- Synonymous with summertime at land-grant institutions are agriculture field days. They have passed the test of time as effective teaching/learning tools to become traditions. Field days combine the experience and expertise of university researchers, scientists and sometimes early adopter farmers to demonstrate, showcase and update farmers, agriculture professionals, industry leaders and the public on agricultural management practices.
As a land-grant university, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) is no exception. UAPB hosts at least one major agriculture field day a year alternating between its 260-acre research farm in Pine Bluff and its 871-acre research farm in Lonoke. Some field days take on an almost festive atmosphere with good food, demonstrations, exhibits, displays and politicians.
“Learning takes place as participants and presenters interact, and researchers often come away with new ideas for research projects,” says Edmund Buckner, associate dean for 1890 programs, professor and 2013 field day coordinator.
Highlighted at UAPB’s agriculture field day held in June was the progress of leveling the playing field for Arkansas sweetpotato growers – the multiplication of virus-tested sweetpotatoes. Growers need virus-tested slips in time to allow for the 90 to 120 day growing season. For years, growers had to rely on neighboring states for slips.
Other highlights included the latest findings in multiple species (cattle and goats) stocking and grazing for optimum combinations for efficient use of scarce feed resources, the feeding of crop byproducts to goats and cattle, a display and samples of value-added products created in the UAPB value added laboratory, and the evaluation of ornamental, flowering and nursery plants for adaptation in the lower Mississippi Delta region.
Antique tractors belonging to members of the Central Arkansas Two Cylinder Club and the Central Arkansas Antique Machinery and Historical Society of Grant County were on display. Awards were presented in several categories to show participants.
Pine Bluff Mayor Debe Hollingsworth was the luncheon speaker. She discussed the importance of locally-grown foods.
The field day was dedicated to Mrs. Elnora L. Bradford, associate for administration, for her 49 years of service to the students, staff, faculty and clientele of UAPB and the School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences. Mrs. Jimmie Lee Edwards, retired Extension specialist – home improvement, was remembered at field day for her contributions to UAPB and the lives she touched.
The field day was sponsored by UAPB’s School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences and the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program.
Article contributed by University of Arkansas Pine Bluff. Carol Sanders is a writer/editor for the UAPB School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences. She can be reached at 870-5675-7238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.