The University Farm at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University will officially open the doors of its new Extension and Research Farm Pavilion, part of the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES), with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Sept. 21.
A ceremony will feature remarks from N.C. A&T Chancellor Harold Martin Sr.; CAES Dean Mohamed Ahmedna, Ph.D.; representatives from the U.S. and N.C. Departments of Agriculture; and local government.
“The Pavilion will be an asset for teachers, students and researchers, and will expand the abilities of Extension staff to connect with small-scale farmers, individuals and youth,” said Rosalind Dale, Ed.D., associate CAES dean and Extension administrator. “For Cooperative Extension at A&T, it means a state-of-the-art facility for educational programming and events such as Small Farms Week, our annual Grassroots Leadership Conference, and 4-H programs.”
Jewel Bronaugh, Ph.D., USDA deputy secretary of agriculture, will provide recorded remarks at the ribbon cutting ceremony. Bronaugh, the first woman of color to serve as deputy director, is the former commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. She also previously served as director for the USDA Farm Service Agency in Virginia and as dean of the college of agriculture at Virginia State University.
Also speaking at the ribbon cutting ceremony will be Archie Hart, director of the Small and Minority Farms Program at the NC Department of Agriculture and an N.C. A&T alumnus; Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan; and City Councilwoman Sharon Hightower.
The Farm Pavilion is part of the college’s Extension and Research’s multiyear plan to expand and improve the facilities and resources at the University Farm, which was created in 1904 to provide food and milk to the N.C. A&T cafeteria. The 492-acre farm is a working, producing farm that raises crops and livestock, and also serves as the university’s largest classroom and largest laboratory. CAES students and faculty use it for research and education; staff with Extension at A&T demonstrate new crops and farming practices before introducing them to the state’s farmers.
Future plans for the farm include an amphitheater and a community and urban food complex that will feature a dairy, research labs, classrooms, and a small business incubator.
“The Pavilion will be a tremendous resource for all North Carolinians,” said Ahmedna. “Through it, the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences can increase the Farm’s already-active role in the university and local community, and enhance the delivery of Extension and research programs to our many stakeholders across the state.”