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County agent shares agriculture production practices with members of an exchange program

Published: 05/27/2015 4:30PM
By: booner

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Delegates from Africa and members of the River Road Church of Christ in Albany learn how a high tunnel hoop house is used to grow vegetables at a farm in Albany on May 11.

Charlie Grace, Fort Valley State University’s Dougherty County extension agent, recently met with seven African delegates representing Malawi, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Sudan to share information about American agriculture and vegetable production.

The delegates, who are a part of a three-week exchange program sponsored by the River Road Church of Christ visited Dougherty County for 14 days.

As an 1890 Land Grant Institution, county agents like Grace provide useful, practical, research based information to farmers, producers and small businesses owners in rural communities.

One practice shared with the delegates included the use of a high tunnel hoop house. High tunnel hoop houses are enclosed structures used primarily for gardening. They allow farmers to extend growing seasons which could increase profits. 

Alfred Greenlee, FVSU’s 2014 Farm Family of the Year Award winner, assisted Grace by demonstrating the use of a hoop house he maintains on his farm. During the demonstration, he showed how an irrigation system works in a hoop house where he grows peppers, tomatoes, greens and eggplants.

Greenlee said it was a great opportunity to share his knowledge with the African delegation. “It can allow them to be able to grow produce or vegetables any time of the year,” said the Albany native.

Grace said the visit provided him an opportunity to perform outreach outside of his targeted county. “The knowledge they gain will have an educational impact as a teaching tool to their people. They can apply it (information) to programs or small farms that they’re engaged in, which can help them increase their yields from a production standpoint,” Grace said.

For more information about farming techniques using hoop houses, contact Grace at 229-436-7216 or gracec@fvsu.edu.