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Northern Piedmont Center

The Northern Piedmont Center (NPC) in Orange, VA was established in 1940 to support the agricultural needs of Central Virginia. This site was chosen to take advantage of the Soils unique to this area which include Davidson, Dyke, Starr, Nason, Tatum, and associated soil series. Local farms are utilized for specific soil-site conditions not found at the center. The NPC focuses on field crops and soils research under the various climate and soil conditions of Virginia, similar to 5 Virginia Tech ARECS in their respective regions. The research and extension programs found at the Northern Piedmont Center include: variety testing of corn, soybeans, wheat, barley, hemp, warm-season and cool-season perennial grasses, and alfalfa; management of forages and grain crops; soil fertility, soil erosion, soil pollution, and soil management. The NPC also conducts the USDA Uniform Soybean Test, and is Virginia’s site for the National Winter Canola Variety Trials held annually. 

In addition, the NPC:

  • Provides a location in the Northern Piedmont region of Virginia where project leaders can find uniform land with the appropriate climate for their research needs, and the labor and leadership on projects that fit into the goals of the ARECs.
  • Gives Virginians the opportunity to observe both Land Grant University agronomic recommendations as well as comparisons to those recommendations.
  • Provides a place to conduct field research with assurance of technical ability to control variability by careful placement of studies on the land, by adjusting the replications to assure uniformity in the soil site, and by protecting the land and crop for the most accurate results possible. Specialize in small plots that fit into the undulating piedmont landscape.
  • Provides local agronomic data for VCE specialists and area VCE agents 
  • Supports Local VCE agent programming
  • Assists with on-farm trials 
  • Hosts current VT Graduate student projects including the use of native wildflowers for “bee friendly beef” and Mitigating neonicotinoid pesticide transport using winter cover crops and vegetated buffer strips
  • Serves as the local education hub for agricultural meetings and programming (VCE Women in Agriculture Gathering, Central Virginia Cattleman’s Association meetings and educational programming, 4-H club programming for Orange and Madison counties, STEM programming site for Orange County Public School students)

Contact: Greg Lillard, Farm Manager, 540-672-2660, glillard14@vt.edu