The trolley makes a stop where Douglas Jones, assistant farm superintendent, and Derrick J. Coble, Ph.D., swine specialist in the Department of Animal Sciences, are set to discuss swine rearing systems in a managed forest, during a tour at the Small Farms Field Day held at the North Carolina A&T State University Farm.

Plant Production Tour, 2023

Animal Production Tour, 2023

Sheep, swine and small farmers were in the spotlight during Cooperative Extension at A&T’s Small Farms Field Day 2023, featuring five demonstrations and training sessions from faculty and Extension specialists for more than 125 growers. 

“This year, we included both crop and animal production in our areas of research and farm demonstration. These topics are both important as we think about and follow integrated farming practices,” said Biswanath Dari, Ph.D., agriculture and natural resource specialist for Cooperative Extension and organizer of this year’s event. “We want to help small-scale farmers develop, and follow, regenerative, resilient farming systems that give them multiple ways of generating revenue, while maximizing the farm and its natural resources.” 

Small Farms Field Day this year put a special focus on climate-smart practices and climate resilience. Participants learned about the use of plastic mulch for crop production; growing multi-colored varieties of cherry tomatoes to catch the off-season market; and such climate-smart farming practices as minimum-to-no tillage, cover crops, crop rotation and composting. 

The animal production portion of the tour highlighted the how-tos of adopting a silvopasture system on the farm. Silvopasture, or “grazed woodland,” combines trees, forage and grazing, domesticated animals in a mutually beneficial way.  

Another session addressed cultivating endangered sheep species on a small farm. 

“Farmers need to see things that can be done at the small-scale level, given the extreme weather events we’ve all witnessed recently – droughts, flash floods, hurricanes, wildfires, and so on,” Dari said.  “We wanted to showcase that ‘Yes,’ it is possible to make a profit.”