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Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center

Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center

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Welcome to Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center located near the town of Blackstone, Va.

The center is dedicated to research and Extension programs for sustainable production of tobacco, forage crops, beef cattle, small fruits, and grains.    

The Southern Piedmont AREC has 6 resident faculty, 11 full-time staff, and employs additional hourly people at various times of the year. The resident faculty members conduct research and Extension programs on tobacco, forages, and small fruits crops, and they cooperate with other faculty (from Virginia Tech and other institutions) to study alternative crops for Southside Virginia. Crops grown at the center include tobacco, Bermudagrass, crabgrass, annual ryegrass, corn, wheat, barley, soybeans, strawberries, and mung beans. Faculty expertise includes agronomy, plant pathology, forages, entomology, and animal science.


  • Tobacco agronomy
  • Tobacco curing technology and efficiency
  • Tobacco disease management
  • Ruminant livestock
  • Forage production and management
  • Small fruit disease management


  • Tobacco curing, monitoring, and automation
  • Sucker control application technologies
  • Drones to assess crop development
  • Silvopasture


  • 1,180-acre farm with 130 acres of crop research plots, 120 acres of research grazing, and a 40-acre silvopasture area
  • Specialized tobacco curing facilities
  • Extensive greenhouse facilities and high tunnels
  • 150-person auditorium
  • Cox Road Lab


  • Tobacco industry and growers
  • Agrichemical industry
  • Forage and livestock industry
  • Virginia Farm Bureau, SWCD, NRCS, VDACS

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Overcast Blackstone, VA: Overcast. 51.0 F (10.8 C) 2:15 pm EST