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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Welcome to the Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center

Welcome to the Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center, a part of the United States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service.  The laboratory, located near Beckley in southern West Virginia, serves the agricultural community of the Appalachian Region.  Our mission is to develop knowledge and technology to increase the profitability of small-farm agricultural enterprises in the Region while enhancing soil and water quality and environmental integrity.  We do this by identifying and targeting products to satisfy niche market demands and by developing practices that help farmers overcome the challenges presented by climate, steep terrain and eroded soil.  We hope you find the web site informative and useful and invite your comments and questions about our research program.

Introduction

The Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center (AFSRC) is located at the geographic center of the Appalachian Region where a wide array of plant species grow and persist in a patchwork of woodlands and pasture.  The climate and varied topography of the region create a range of conditions supporting a variety of renewable woody and herbaceous plant resources.   Our goal is to capitalize on the rich botanical diversity and favorable climate of the Region to create production systems for cattle, sheep and goats.  Research programs at AFSRC integrate soil-plant-animal resources to develop knowledge and technology that increases profitability of small-farm agricultural enterprises in the Region while enhancing soil and water quality and environmental integrity.
 
The AFSRC program is known worldwide for excellence in fundamental research on soil acidity and karst landscape water quality.  Exciting new efforts at the Center address forage requirements and animal health issues associated with meat goat production and silvopastoral systems for small-scale farms, and processes regulating nutrient flow at the soil-plant interface in grazed agricultural ecosystems.  A multi-institutional program for pasture-based beef production is a model example of how USDA-ARS laboratories and collaborating State institutions pool resources to solve problems and deliver results to producers and consumers alike.  The current research program at the Center is a product of stakeholder, producer and client-cooperator input, with strong links to Miami University - Ohio, West Virginia University, West Virginia State UniversityVirginia State University, Virginia Tech, University of Georgia, Mountain State University, Concord University, Langston University, the USDA-NRCS Plant Materials Center at Alderson, WV, and USDA-ARS facilities with complementary and related programs. 

AFSRC Picture Gallery- Updated May 4, 2011

Appalachian Agriculture – Historical Perspectives


Last Modified: 5/5/2011
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