At Nevada Field Day & Ag Expo on June 2, the University will bring a variety of its research and work done throughout the state to its Valley Road Field Lab and Greenhouse Complex in Reno, where visitors will be treated to hands-on activities, wine tasting, a farm stand, a plant sale, demonstrations, giveaways, and tours and exhibits featuring University research. The University’s College of Agriculture, Biotechnology & Natural Resources, with its Experiment Station and Extension units, is hosting the event, 3 – 7 p.m., at the facility located at 920 Valley Road.
The event will be buzzing with activities at more than 40 booths focusing on the latest advancements in agriculture, horticulture, nutrition, natural resources and the environment. A Main Stage will feature demonstrations on practical things such as container gardening to attract pollinators from Extension Master Gardeners and protecting your home from wildfire embers from Extension’s Living With Fire Program.
“This is great time of year for people to visit the University’s Valley Road Field Lab,” said Bill Payne, dean of the College. “There will be a lot to see and do, and it really helps people understand how we blend the missions of the University in terms of teaching, research and engaging with our communities to serve Nevadans in their everyday lives.”
The Field Lab is home to the Experiment Station’s Desert Farming Initiative, which will be selling its organic produce and plant starts at the event, as well as providing a self-guided tour showing organic farming practices and hoop house production. In addition, the Initiative’s student interns will be showing and telling about their projects, such as climate-smart farming, food sovereignty, food security and perennial crops production The Initiative runs a commercial farm, including orchards, open fields, hoop houses and a greenhouse, and seeks to advance climate-smart farming and food sovereignty through demonstration, education, research and outreach.
The Valley Road Field Lab also hosts a variety of other research projects, and guided tours will be provided featuring:
- the modernized greenhouse facility and research activities, field plant research projects, farming equipment, specialized research machines and high-tech analytical instrumentation; and
- field crop research that is being conducted at the property, such as sorghum, hemp, wheat, soybeans, alfalfa, cactus, native plants and more.
Wolf Pack Meats will also be on hand, selling meats produced at the University’s Main Station Field Lab in southeast Reno. The facility provides USDA-inspected harvesting and processing services to local farmers, teaches students the latest in meat technology, and maintains its own herd to study ways to produce meat in greater quantities with higher quality.
The new line of wool products from the College’s Rafter 7 Merino sheep, raised in Eureka, Nevada, at the University’s Great Basin Research & Extension Center, will also be on display and for sale. The sheep are world renown for their fine, soft wool. The Center in Eureka is a 622-ranch where the University addresses issues such as herd genetics and management, water conservation in cropping, and range management and restoration.
There will also be information on activities at the University’s Whittell Forest & Wildlife Area, a 2,650-acre forested mountain property in the Sierra Nevada serving as a living lab for research, instruction and community outreach.
There will also be a wine tasting for those 21 and over, courtesy of a partnership among the College, its Experiment Station and the Nevada Grape Growers & Winemakers. The partnership seeks to support activities to promote the grape-growing and winemaking industries in Nevada. The tasting of the University’s wines will feature two Rieslings, a white blend and a red blend. The grapes for the two Rieslings are from Lenox Vineyards in Silver Springs, Nevada. Award-winning Nevada Sunset Winery harvested the grapes and oversaw winemaking activities. The red blend is made from four varietals from Nevada Sunset Winery, and the precise blend is a result of a wine-blending competition sponsored by the College last year.
The white blend is from Colombard and Italia grapes grown by Extension in southern Nevada at the Research Center & Demonstration Orchard in North Las Vegas, as part of its research and activities in the southern part of the state. The research center is part of University of Nevada, Las Vegas's Center for Urban Water Conservation, and has been a cooperative effort between Extension and UNLV for over 25 years, where hundreds of varieties of fruit trees, vines and other crops are tested for growing in southern Nevada.
There will also be information on other agricultural research being done in southern Nevada, such as research on growing hemp and promoting that industry, as well as research on various pomegranate cultivars’ potential to flourish in southern Nevada being done at the Logandale Research & Extension Center, about 50 miles northeast of Las Vegas.
There will also be information on poultry and egg production and processing, as well as Extension’s Mobile Harvest Unit, which provides workforce development opportunities in the food animal industries, as well education and services in livestock processing.
There will be information on a wide range of topics, from how to deal with common garden pests and use pesticides safely, to how insect hormones and sense of smell are being used to discover new, safer insecticides and management practices.
Some agriculture-related booths will provide information and activities on topics such as tomatoes for indoor and urban agriculture; potatoes with an extended storage life; cactus pear as an arid lands crop; corn and sorghum breeding for malting, brewing and foods; and research on irrigation, root stock characteristics and other factors to reduce water use and produce quality crops.
Some health-related booths will provide information on topics such as how to make your home environment healthier, fitness and food for seniors, heart health, and dietary needs for people with kidney disease.
Other booths showcase research on natural resources, such as research on successful reforestation with trees that can grow and survive under rapid climate change. There will also be results of economic research recently completed by the University, such as research on the economic value of hunting in Nevada and the economic value of the state parks system.
For the kids, the 4-H Youth Development Program will have a hands-on activity for youth to learn how to make "seed paper," and then the kids will be able to take home their creations and plant them. In addition, the 4-H Pollinator Ambassador Program will have information on how to plan, install and work together to sustain pollinator habitats in Nevada. There will also be information on Extension’s two camp facilities, plus some fun camp games. The Rethink Your Drink Nevada Program will be there with healthy drink recipes for children and information on reducing children’s intake of sugary drinks. The state’s Nevada One Health Program will also be providing educational activities for youth focused on zoonotic diseases, diseases that are spread between animals and humans.
Nevada Field Day has been a College tradition for decades, and the University has been using the Valley Road Field Lab for agricultural research since around the turn of the century, when Washoe County realized the need for a dedicated space for agricultural research, purchased the land, and deeded it to the University. Today, with 27 acres designated for research and education, the property encompasses state-of-the-art research facilities, including the Greenhouse Complex, the Nevada Genomics Center and biofuels research facilities. Additional assets include eight high-tunnel hoop houses, an 18-acre equestrian facility and a fully equipped maintenance engineering shop.
Faculty and staff will be on hand at the property, which is a short walk from campus, to provide information on the College’s undergraduate and graduate degree programs, as well as programs offered by Extended Studies – noncredit professional development programs and industry-specific training programs.
Other organizations the College often collaborates with will also be participating in the Expo, including the Great Basin Fire Science Exchange, with information about wildland fire management challenges and how to address them; the Nevada Farm Bureau’s Nevada Ag Wagon, with information on agriculture in the state, different stations and VR headsets; and the Natural Resources and Conservation Service, with information on programs to assist landowners, ranchers and farmers with their farming operations.
Finally, King of Kings Food Truck will be selling Mexican/American fare, including tacos, burritos, hamburgers and more. Admission is free. For more information, call 775-784-6237. Persons in need of special accommodations or assistance should contact Paul Lessick, civil rights and compliance coordinator, at 702-257-5577 at least five days prior to the scheduled event with their needs or for more information.