AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. – The Alabama Cooperative Extension System has the privilege of assisting Alabamians through a range of topics from agriculture to home life. The eight topics highlighted on the Extension website provide readily available, research-based information to farmers, families, businesspeople and gardeners across the state.
Of these topics, farming is one that is familiar to many Alabamians. According to Alabama Extension Specialist Edward Sikora, row crop farming has been the backbone of Alabama agriculture for more than a century.
ACES in Row Crop Farming
Row crop farming, or production agriculture, is the practice of cultivating plants for food, fiber, fuels or raw materials.
Sikora, a plant pathologist, serves as the agronomic crops team leader. The crops team meets the needs of cotton, corn, soybean, peanut, small grain and forage growers in Alabama through Extension programming.
“Our goal is to support farmers and the agricultural industry in Alabama by providing timely information to meet the needs of growers in an ever changing, complex world,” Sikora said.
Crops team members assist with issues from suggesting management practices for pesky weeds or insect problems to determining proper harvesting times for particular crops. They can help explain the current agricultural market place, or discuss how changes in government policy might affect Alabama farmers.
Farming in Community
Becky Barlow, interim associate director for extension and interim assistant director for agriculture, forestry and natural resource extension programs, also works with Sikora and the agronomic crops team to assist farmers in Alabama.
“I am proud of Alabama Extension agronomic crops team members who help farmers solve problems and celebrate successes daily,” Barlow said.
During the summer months, team members stay busy. They assist farmers with tasks like checking cotton stand health and monitoring corn and cotton variety trials. They also provide training on how to properly conduct a soil test or pesticide application.
“Extension specialists and regional Extension agents are on call 24/7 to help their clientele weave through the growing season,” Sikora said.
Members of the agronomic crops team pride themselves on their connections with farmers in their community. Staying connected and working together is the foundation for successful farming in Alabama.
For more information about the farming section, visit the Alabama Extension website, www.aces.edu.