Eight counties in the lower coastal plains of North Carolina are home to some of the richest farmland in the country. The Blackland region, formerly a cypress tree swamp, is named for the dark soil packed with organic matter that remained when the swamp was drained and cleared. Large, predominantly family-owned farms in the region produce corn, soybeans, wheat and cucumbers, among other crops. The Blackland Farm Managers Association helps its members make the most out of the highly organic soil by investing in research that supports farm management including pest and weed control, soil nutrition and environmental issues. The association partnered with the North Carolina Plant Sciences Initiative (N.C. PSI) to advance agricultural practices in North Carolina and beyond.
“There’s nothing else like this in the country,” said Jeffrey Sparks, president of the Blackland Farm Managers Association. “This will benefit agriculture in North Carolina, the country and the world. Our hope is that it helps recruit the best researchers and faculty.”
Celebrating over 50 years, the association facilitates connections between researchers and farms, and enjoys a close relationship with NC State Extension and with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. The association also hosts an annual summer farm tour that showcases new technology and production developments, drawing visitors interested in agribusiness from all over the country and the world.
“Our biggest drive for supporting N.C. PSI is seeing what the future can be,” said Sparks. “We want to further advance agricultural technology so we can continue to do what we do in the face of our challenges and remain profitable.”
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Senior Director of Development, Plant Sciences Initiative