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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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AFSRC Picture of the Week, 2006
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 Thumbnail of employee scratching goat's nose

December 25, 2006

Small ruminants, such as these goats, offer the opportunity to efficiently graze Appalachian hillside pastures. AFSRC scientists are researching goat production in order to help farmers provide a quality goat meat product to underserved eastern U. S. markets. Jeffrey Ellison (Biological Science Technician) scratches the face of a goat while surveying the rest of the herd.

 Thumbnail of employee using infoltrometer

December 18, 2006

An understanding of soil water relationships is important for development of forage and turf grass management systems. Edward Lester (Agricultural Science Research Technician) uses an infiltrometer to measure infiltration rates in a pasture soil.

 Thumbnail of Hispanic items on display

December 11, 2006

AFSRC proudly embraces cultural diversity. Celebration of Hispanic Culture Month included a display of items from Hispanic cultures.

 Thumbnail of employees feeding goats

December 4, 2006

AFSRC research on small ruminants requires a dedicated staff of seasonal employees to manage the herds, move animals between multitudes of research paddocks, and provide proper feed and water. Seasonal workers are feeding and watering these goats after moving them to a new paddock.

 Thumbnail of pumpkins at a market

November 27, 2006

AFSRC research helps small family farms find ways to compete in the modern marketplace. Local farmers’ markets such as this one in Charleston, West Virginia offer attractive venues for small farm owners to sell their products.

 Thumbnail of tractors plowing field plot

November 20, 2006

AFSRC scientists study alternative forage crops in order to help Appalachian Region farmers meet production goals. Establishment and management of those crops often requires extensive seedbed preparation as is being accomplished here cooperatively with West Virginia University.

 Thumbnail of employee walking in field scouting crop

November 13, 2006

Crop scouting is an important part of pasture and forage management. John Snuffer (Agricultural Science Research Technician) inspects one of the AFSRC research pastures.

 Thumbnail of teacups and autumn leaves

November 6, 2006

Autumn in central Appalachia is often colorful, but subject to large fluctuations in weather. AFSRC scientists are researching ways for central Appalachian livestock producers to best manage their farms to reduce impacts of weather extremes.

 Thumbnail of NRCS employees taking tour of silvopasture site

October 30, 2006

The silvopastoral research program at AFSRC receives a great deal of interest from producers and other governmental and institutional personnel. Dr. James Neel, Research Animal Scientist, accompanies a group of visiting USDA-NRCS technical specialists during a recent autumn tour of one of the AFSRC research farms.

 Thumbnail of employee collecting soil sample

October 23, 2006

Soil characterization is an important component of AFSRC research. Edward Lester (Agricultural Science Research Technician) uses a sampler to collect soil samples for bulk density determinations.

 Thumbnail of employees harvesting alternative forage

October 16, 2006

Alternative forages are studied at AFSRC for possible use in forage-livestock systems. Jared Robertson (Chemist) and Hannah Radford (formerly, AFSRC) are harvesting forage chicory (Cichorium intybu L.), from small plots, to be analyzed in the laboratory.

 Thumbnail of employee tilling field for Medicinal Botanical Program

October 9, 2006

Research collaboration at AFSRC enriches the research program at AFSRC as well as at the collaborating institution. Dean Myles (Collaborator, Mountain State University) tills a small plot for a research project in the Medicinal Botanical Program.

 Thumbnail of Dr. Foster freezing plant samples with liquid nitrogen

October 2, 2006

An understanding of environmental and management effects of plant characteristics requires quick suspension of biochemical processes in the plants. Dr. Joyce Foster, Research Chemist, immediately freezes plant samples in liquid nitrogen as they are harvested.

 Thumbnail of employee oreoaring soil coulumns

September 25, 2006

Agricultural Science Research Technician Edward Lester prepares a series of plastic pipes filled with soil for experimentation. Basic fundamentals learned through laboratory experimentation will later be tested under field conditions.

 Employee speaks at Master Gardener exhibit at State Fair

September 18, 2006

AFSRC’s outreach efforts include participation in the West Virginia State Fair. Harry Godwin, Biologist, speaks to a group of patrons at the West Virginia Master Gardner exhibit.

 Thumbnail of fishermen standing by Bluestone National River

September 11, 2006

AFSRC Ecologist Jim Fedders and Technicians Wade Snyder and Chris Ellison recently used some vacation time to experience the clean water and excellent fishing in the Bluestone National Scenic River.  AFSRC scientists are researching and developing farming practices that will help maintain the good water quality of the Region.


 Thumbnail of scientists surveying landfill golf course site

September 4, 2006

The new research program in constructed soils for turf applications is off to a fast start with discussion about construction of a PAR 3 Golf course at the Raleigh County, WV Landfill. Shown here, From left, Kathy O'Neill, Lead Scientist/ecologist; Charley Feldhake, soil Scientist; Amir Hass, Post Doc/Soil Scientist; (not seen - James Allen Director of Operations of RCSWA); Naraine Persaud, Prof. Soils Virginia Tech - Cooperator; and Rich Zobel, Plant Physiologist.  They are viewing the land area proposed or a Par 3 golf course, and discussing the possible methods to change gravel fill into fairway quality turf. 

 Thumbnail of researchers discussing progress

August 28, 2006

Researchers Jim Fedders (Ecologist, AFSRC) and Ozzie Abaye (Associate Professor, Alternative Crops, Dept. of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, Virginia Tech) evaluate progress for test plots of Teff grass (Eragrostis tef). Cooperative interests in this grass as potential forage for Appalachia are being investigated at various test sites. These plots are currently planted in eastern Raleigh County, West Virginia.

 Thumbnail of crew planting Artemisia

August 21, 2006

Agricultural research often involves the teamwork of several people. Robert Arnold, Biological Science Laboratory Technician, supervises planting of Artemisia by seasonal workers at one of the AFSRC research farms.

 Thumbnail of Dr. Staley talking to State Fair participant

August 14, 2006

Each year AFSRC proudly shares space in the West Virginia University tent at the West Virginia State Fair. The State Fair gives AFSRC staff the opportunity to make people aware of the research programs at AFSRC and ARS. Dr. Tom Staley (Research Microbiologist, retired) discusses soil microbiology with an interested fair attendee during the 2005 WV State Fair.

 Thumbnail of forage closeup

August 7, 2006

High quality forage is important for providing the nutrition and energy needed by healthy and productive livestock. AFSRC scientists are studying mixtures of forages that maximize the health and productivity of grazing livestock. The clover, which is a legume, pictured here with grass provides an added benefit by fixing soil nitrogen that can be used by the grass.

 Thumbnail of sheep standing in shade on hillside

July 31, 2006

During hot sunny days silvopastures contribute to animal comfort so they graze and gain weight when they would otherwise stand around and pant.  These trees are part of a paddock with black walnut rows oriented north-south so the shade moves across alleys during the day.  The picture was taken at VA Tech and is of a joint project between AFSRC and VA Tech.

 Thumbnail of penned goat

July 24, 2006

Goats are kept at one of the AFSRC research farms for production of parasitic nematodes to be used in anthelmintic bioassays of novel forages and for feeding trials with these forages. This goat is temporarily penned for collection of egg-laden feces.

 Scanners set up to scan plant roots

July 17, 2006

Voyeurism in the Greenhouse
We are getting down to the grass-roots with Aeroponic Scanning Meso-rhizotrons (ASM).  An ASM is an inexpensive scanner modified to accept a 8.5 inch by 11 inch by 1/2 inch deep chamber that is filled with a nutrient fog.  The whole system is controlled by a small computer that activates the scanner once every two hours.  This then takes a sequence of images which we can use to determine root growth patterns and root responses to nutrients in the nutrient fog.  The image shows two ASMs with six perennial rye plants in each. The movie shows their root growth over the last two weeks.

 Thumbnail of Dr. Ferreira working with Envirothon Team

July 10, 2006

The local Shady Spring High School Envirothon Team has had a great deal of success in state competitions with the assistance of AFSRC personnel. Dr. Jorge Ferreira, Horticulturist, discusses a local tree with some of the Team members who will be representing West Virginia at the North American competition in Manitoba, Canada.

 Thumbnail of NRCS employee talking to school group

July 3, 2006

Collaborative work and education are two important focal points at AFSRC. Randall Lester, USDA-NRCS, speaks with a teacher and students from Coal City, WV Independence High School about his agency’s collaborative work with AFSRC.

 Thumbnail of scientist working in laboratory

June 26, 2006

Detailed notes and recording of research data is important to any successful research project. Dr. Thomas Staley (Microbiologist, retired) is recording research data in the AFSRC soil microbiology laboratory.

 Thumbnail of employee haying

June 19, 2006

The cold winters experienced in the central Appalachian region require livestock producers to provide feed during the winter months. Hay production is important for maintaining winter herds. AFSRC scientist are researching ways to produce winter feed in an economical and efficient manner.

 Thumbnail of employee discussing barberpole worms to students

June 12, 2006

Control of gastrointestinal (GI) parasites in small ruminants is a problem for most Appalachian farmers.  Jeff Ellison, Biological Science Technician, talks with Independence High School students on the barberpole worm (Haemonchus contortus) life cycle in meat goats.  The Meat Goat Management research team located at AFSRC is evaluating forage resource, grazing management, and chemical dewormer options for controlling GI parasites in meat goats, hair sheep, and wool sheep.

 Thumbnail of a misty Appalachian morning

June 5, 2006

The central Appalachian region is also known as the ‘Birthplace of Rivers.’ Source waters of those rivers provide habitat for a multitude of plant and animal species. AFSRC scientists are committed to developing and adapting agricultural practices that protect and maintain good water quality.

 Thumbnail of employees mowing and collecting samples

May 29, 2006

Small research plots are important for studying plant and soil interactions. Gary Lambert (Agricultural Science Research Technician) harvests forage chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) for a phosphorus study while Dr. David Bligh (Chemist) labels and stores samples for transport back to AFSRC.

 Thumbnail of students operating lab equipment

May 22, 2006

AFSRC enthusiastically interacts with local schools through mentoring, school visits, seasonal employment, and school visits. During a May 2006 tour of AFSRC an Independence High School student gets some hands-on experience while two fellow students watch.

 Thumbnail of employee sampling soil

May 15, 2006

An understanding of soil chemical and physical properties is important to develop efficient crop production systems in Appalachia. Mike Lambert (former Summer Aide) uses a hydraulic soil sampling device to obtain soil samples in an Appalachian experimental corn field.

 Thumbnail of covered bales

May 8, 2006

Production and storage of good quality forage for over-wintering livestock is important for Appalachian livestock producers. AFSRC scientists study forage characteristics and storage methods to assure high-quality feed for livestock during the non-grazing season.

 Thumbnail of Winter morning in Appalachia

May 1, 2006

Topography and climate extremes combine to make farming challenging in the Appalachian region. Late spring frosts can inhibit forage growth and delay the start of grazing season. AFSRC scientists are studying ways to extend the ends of the Appalachian grazing season.

 Thumbnail of employees using capacitance probe

April 24, 2006

Soil amendments are important for improving and maintaining soil productivity. AFSRC has a long history of studying soil amendments to overcome soil acidity problems. Mojtaba Zaifnejad (formerly, collaborator with Virginia Polytechnic and State University) and Barry Harter (Biological Science Technician) use a capacitance probe to measure soil water levels in a study of coal combustion byproducts as a soil amendment.

 Thumbnail of goats resting on grazed hillside

April 17, 2006

In the Appalachian Region, many pastures have a steep topography which limits accessiblity with machinery.  Management practices in sustainable agricultural systems become strategically important in hilly and mountainous regions where goats, as pictured here, can be used to effectively control brush in place of chemicals.  Using goats to control weeds, vines, and brush also works well in pasture-based organic agricultural systems.

 Thumbnail of employees collecting soil samples

April 10, 2006

Phosphorus availability is limited for plant growth in the Appalachian region because of the inherent soil characteristics. Research is being conducted at AFSRC to investigate the availability and dynamics of soil P in pasture and forage lands. Here, Kate Hatfield (Physical Science Technician) and Eddy Lester (Agricultural Science Research Technician) are soil sampling in early spring to estimate phosphorus availability in a Chicory (Cichorium intybus L.) plot.

 Thumbnail of fertility study plots

April 3, 2006

Low fertility, acid soils are found throughout Appalachia, as well as many other places in the world. Corn growth in this research plot was very poor where lime and fertilizer were not added to the soil. AFSRC is internationally known for research on soil management issues.

 Thumbnail of meat

March 27, 2006

The meat goat industry is becoming a popular enterprise on Appalachian small farms.  AFSRC researchers are helping farmers raise meat goats on high quality pastures without grain supplementation resulting in lean meat. Chevon (goat meat) is consumed by many ethnic populations in the U.S., and is becoming an alternative low fat, red meat option for health-conscious American consumers.

 Thumbnail of NRCS staff using greenhouse

March 20, 2006

AFSRC has strong cooperative ties with USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center located at Alderson, West Virginia. NRCS staff are shown using AFSRC greenhouse facilities to propagate about 150,000 Spartina alternifolia, smooth cordgrass, plants for use in a US Army Corps of Engineers marshland restoration project at Jamaica Bay, New York.

 Thumbnail of common pseudoscorpion

March 13, 2006

AFSRC scientists are studying ecological relationships in Appalachian pastures in order to better understand management impacts on local environments. This photo depicts a common pseudoscorpion, Microbisium parvulum (smaller, lower species) encountering a "new species," the massive (about 800 microns) Apochthonius sp., as yet unnamed. 

Thumbnail of cattle in yoke

March 6, 2006

Tom and Curley ready to go for a sled load of coal.

 Thumbnail of children on nature walk

February 27, 2006

Groups of local school children often visit AFSRC where AFSRC staff enthusiastically provide educational tours and attempt to interest the visitors in science. Elsa Cook (retired, formerly Biological Science Technician) interacts with a group of children along the nature trail on the grounds of AFSRC.

 Thumbnail of Ken Harless seeding pasture

February 20, 2006

Maintaining high quality forage for livestock production is important for success of pasture-based livestock operations.  Overseeding legumes into grass pastures improves overall forage quality with the added benefit of the legume plants fixing atmospheric nitrogen into the soil, thereby reducing the need for purchased nitrogen fertilizer. Here Ken Harless, Biological Science Technician, is hand-seeding red clover into research paddocks that are used for grazing meat goat research at the Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center.

 Thumbnail of sttep wooded hillsode

February 13, 2006

Silvopastoral systems provide production, economic, and environmental advantages to central Appalachian farmers, especially when used in combination with conventional pastures. AFSRC scientists are studying the interactions between forage, trees, landscape, hydrology, and biophysical factors in order to develop a suite of silvopastoral management tools that help landowners meet individual goals.

 Thumbnail fo goats resing in pasture

February 6, 2006

Small ruminant research is an important part of the AFSRC mission. These goats, which appear to be overwhelmed by forage, can be an important tool for pasture renovation in the Appalachian Region. AFSRC researchers are studying ways to use small ruminants to capitalize on the dynamics of herbage growth in complex terrain.

 Thumbnail of employees working with percolation tubes.

January 30, 2006

Acidic soils of the Appalachian Region continue to pose management challenges to the Region’s farmers. As part of a former AFSRC research program Charles Lynch (Biological Science Technician) and Sheila Zeto (formerly, AFSRC Microbiologist) collect samples from percolation tubes used to study the efficacy of coal-combustion byproducts for alleviating soil acidity.

 Thumbnail of tractor moving log

January 23, 2006

Forest products provide farmers with additional income from farm woodlots and silvopastures. Keith Galford (Biological Science Technician) watches Danny Carter (Biological Science Lab Technician) move a high-grade yellow poplar log out of a silvopastoral research area on an AFSRC research farm.

 Thumbnail of the New River Bridge

January 16, 2006

The rough topography and challenging transportation options of central Appalachia have traditionally isolated farmers from outside markets. A modern highway system and bridges such as the New River Gorge Bridge in southern West Virginia have made it possible for agricultural commodities to be transported efficiently to markets outside the region. AFSRC scientists are working to help farmers take advantage of potential new market options.

 Thumnail of employee with boy at St. Fair

January 9, 2006

AFSRC has a proud outreach program with the youth of the central Appalachian region. Laura Cooper, Biological Science Technician, interacts with one participant at a table sponsored with the West Virginia Master Gardener program. Participants had the opportunity to ‘paint’ with seeds at the 2005 West Virginia State Fair.

 Thumbnail of wooly sheep

January 2, 2006

Small ruminant research is an important part of the AFSRC mission. These sheep, which are ready for shearing, are part of the Hill Land Grazing Management research program. AFSRC researchers are working to define the relationship of grazing management and behavior with landscape features with the goal of designing environmentally benign grazing management practices, which capitalize on the dynamics of herbage growth in complex terrain.

AFSRC Picture Gallery, 2011

AFSRC Picture Gallery, 2010

AFSRC Picture of the Week, 2009

AFSRC Picture of the Week, 2008

AFSRC Picture of the Week, 2007

AFSRC Picture of the Week, 2005

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Last Modified: 5/5/2011
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