CHILTON RESEARCH AND EXTENSION CENTER HELPS FARMERS
The Chilton Area Horticulture Substation was officially
designated as the Chilton Research and Extension Center Aug.
22 in Thorsby. The center includes a new Distance Diagnostic
Program lab. The program is partially funded by the Alabama
Farmers Federation and will serve farmers throughout the state.
Doug Rigney, executive director of the Alabama Farmers
Federation, praised the timing of the center opening.
"This is an ideal time for Research and Extension to provide
more support and help to Alabama farmers and to equip farmers
with the latest methods and technology available," he said.
"Farmers are probably in the most difficult time they've been in in
a long time. Commodity prices are at their lowest, and farmers
have had two straight years of difficult crop seasons. To
compound that, the problems have been, for the most part,
localized to Alabama and the Southeast. Other parts of the
country will harvest bumper crops."
The Thorsby facility is the sixth center to open in Alabama since
1995. It's distance diagnostic lab gives the center the capability
to help clients quickly identify and solve plant problems through
the use of an Internet system, microscopes and digital cameras.
Through this cutting-edge technology, samples can be sent
anywhere in the country to get quick analysis.
The Chilton substation has helped farmers in the Chilton County
area for 52 years. The upgrade to Research and Extension
Center will allow it to assist farmers in a much larger region.
Twelve counties are included in the center's coverage area.
Dr. William Walker, provost, Auburn University, said the opening
of the center offers several unique opportunities to advance a
number of important areas in agriculture while developing a
stronger rural/urban interface. A number of spin-off programs
from the commercial studies and educational programs
developed at the Chilton Center will benefit all citizens of
Because of the geographical location of the Chilton Center,
strong relationships can be established between the C. Beaty
Hanna Horticulture and Environmental Center in Birmingham
and an urban center that is being planned for the Montgomery
area. A Beef Cattle Improvement Association (BCIA) extension
animal scientist also will be on board at the center. Extension
Animal Scientist Lisa Kriese-Anderson explained that the goals
of the station and BCIA are the same.
"At this station you look at new varieties to see which are going to
produce the best and which ones are genetically the best. That's
what the BCIA does, only for beef cattle, " she said.
The station was selected because of its location. Every beef
cattle producer in the state can be reached within two hours of
the center, Kriese-Anderson said. Extension is partnering with
Alfa Farmers and the Alabama Cattlemen's Association to make
sure Alabama beef cattle producers are able to market and be
as economically viable as possible in an ever changing industry.
Bobby Boozer will serve as the first Extension staff member at