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Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center

Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center

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Welcome to the Southern Piedmont AREC - Rooted in Service Since 1974.

Located in Blackstone, Virginia, 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 team is comprised of 6 resident faculty, 11 full-time staff, and additional seasonal employees. The resident faculty members conduct research and Extension programs on tobacco, forages, and small fruits crops, and collaborate 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
  • Specialty crop production


  • Tobacco curing, monitoring, and automation
  • Spore trapping and predictive model development
  • Drone technology to assess crop development and pest detection
  • 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
  • Multiple fully-equipped laboratory facilities, including the Cox Road Lab


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Mostly Cloudy Blackstone, VA: Mostly Cloudy. 82.2 F (27.9 C) 10:55 am EDT