Virginia Tech’s SmartFarm will benefit farmers, consumers
Virginia Tech is creating a network to connect its campus
with each of its extension research centers and local extension offices. The SmartFarm
Innovation Network will connect extension specialists with producers to develop
technologies to increase agricultural efficiency and sustainability, according
to Alan Grant, dean of the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture and Life
“We can use some of these new technologies to trace where food comes from, and if there are food safety issues and so forth, for tracing that food back to its origin,” Grant told Brownfield Ag News.
The network concept can grow beyond Virginia’s borders to help other institutions answer questions about the economics of innovative farming practices, said Grant.
“That’s what a land grant university should be doing is evaluating some of these technologies as well and working with producers to see what makes and what maybe doesn’t make sense on their operation,” he said.
Students will also have access to the network. Plans are underway to develop curriculum aimed at creating workforce that is prepared to work in SmartFarm-related fields.