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The Middleburg AREC conducts research and Extension on horses and cattle

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Situated in the heart of Virginia’s horse country, the Middleburg Agricultural Research and Extension (MARE) Center is one of Virginia Tech’s 11 ARECs. Philanthropist Paul Mellon donated the 420-acre farm to Virginia Tech in 1949 to foster research that improved pasture and animal productivity while enhancing the land. The center was used primarily for beef cattle research for 40 years, but was rededicated to equine research and teaching in 1992.

Today, the MARE Center continues to play a critical role in the discovery, outreach, and education missions of Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Through collaborations with academic and industry partners around the world, the center advances the health and well-being of the horse through innovative research efforts and exceptional educational programming in equine science. 

So here at the middle Berg and a rag that we're focused on bringing together research and extension efforts that leverage livestock, so specifically cattle and horses, to investigate and how things like pasture management, animal nutrition, exercise physiology, and technology can come together to help inform best management practices. That dovetails not only into our research, but also into our extension efforts. And that extension goes out not only to current stakeholders within the community, but also to the next-generation of agriculturalists. One of the unique things about the research activities here at the middle merge, a racking is the integration with technology. And so we've developed a smart farm testbed at this site that allows all of the data collected here, acme, a rack to be transmitted back to campus. And what that means is that researchers have flexibility in terms of where they live and where they weren't. The research and of course, the extension efforts here at the middle Bergerac really impact our producers because we're attempting to identify best management practices. We're trying to do things like improve environmental stewardship, enhance productivity, and maintain animal health. They also impact the region, of course, through the integration of the youth component about the extension activities and focusing on bringing up the next generation. Not only to be excited about careers in agriculture, but also to understand concepts like where their food comes from. And that becomes increasingly more important when we look at the impact of the center's activities at the national scale, where we have this increasing divide between our urban and rural communities. We kinda target youth as a way to close that gap.