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June 25, 2007
The second annual field day and open house was hosted at the Main Station Field Lab on Saturday, June 23. The event attracted about 400 attendees for a day of demonstrations of the current research being conducted by the Nevada Agricultural Experiment Station (NAES).
The field day offered four tours, each focusing on the different aspects of the college's research and academic concentrations.
One of the tours took the spectators to the "dairy hill" of the 1,000 acre University facility for a discussion on the unique irrigation of the pastures, which allowed clean water to be left in the Truckee River. The discussion and tour also included a demonstration of prescription grazing, which allowed llamas to graze with the sheep and guard them from coyotes.
The tour on the "dairy hill" also allowed attendees to learn about mercury as an atmospheric contaminant, how University scientists monitored atmospheric mercury and the latest research on growing certain weeds as a crop to serve as an alternative fuel.
"Gumweed has high oil content," said Ron Pardini, associate director of NAES. "They have a great potential to be used as a bio fuel.
A second tour covered the agricultural aspect of the NAES. Spectators were led to view different flocks of sheep, Angus and Hereford breeds of cattle. The audience was also informed about the developing project of using grass-fed cattle as opposed to grain-fed cattle on the meats market, which has several benefits, according to Pardini.
"Using grass to feed the cattle would be economically feasible, with the increased prices in corn and grain from the Midwest," Pardini said. "There are also better potential health benefits from eating grass-fed beef."
Another tour led attendees to see the ongoing biomedical research the college is running, including stem cell research to treat animal diseases and humanizing animal's organs for transplant.
"There is a lot of complex and groundbreaking research being done in the biomedical field," Pardini said.
The Wolf Pack Meats facility was also toured, allowing the attendees to snack on the facility's product. Wolf Pack Meats hosted a free barbeque in the afternoon.
"The feedback on the food was excellent," Pardini said. "The feedback on the whole day was excellent."
Other activities were hosted throughout the day, including a kid's area where hay rides were offered. The kids could also view wool textiles and canine demonstrations by the University police.
"It was a great learning experience for the kids," Pardini said.
Pardini believes the field day offers the community the chance to become informed about the various methods of research the University is administering, as well as enjoy themselves.
"As a land grant university, we're supposed to do research to help the citizens," Pardini said. "Part of that concept is getting engaged with the local folks and receiving input on the research."