The Learning Farm
The Learning Farm at Daddy Bob's Fruit Farm in Nashville, Arkansas was established in 2012 as a way to connect area and state fruit growers with the latest technology and information on profitable fruit production.
The Learning Farm was born of necessity when Howard County agent Sherry Beaty-Sullivan contacted Dr. Terry Kirkpatrick, Extension Plant Pathologist, about the newly-purchased farm after its present owner had approached Sherry for help. Using the successful model of the row crop verification programs that have been used extensively by Extension on private farms to teach the importance of appropriate technology in maximizing yields and profits of row crops, The Learning Farm's purpose is much the same.
Nikki Ray and her father Paul, of Nashville had recently purchased Daddy Bob's, a
commercial farm consisting of 12 acres of blueberries, 12 acres of peaches, 4 acres
of muscadines and about 2 acres of blackberries. The farm, originally established
about 25 years ago, was purchased by the Rays after the original owner passed away.
They came to Extension for information and advice on how to begin the process of
restoring productivity and profitability in the existing plantings. The Rays and
a steering committee of Division scientists have partnered together to accomplish
the following objectives:
- Demonstrate the relevance and timeliness of Extension recommendations for fruit production
- Generate realistic economic data on a diverse, mid-size horticulture enterprise in
- Identify future research needs regarding commercial fruit production in Arkansas
- Provide an ongoing "living laboratory" that is available to teach new farmers and county agents fruit production principles and concepts
Howard County Extension Agent Sherry Beaty-Sullivan takes part in a grapevine pruning workshop. Read the full story from the Magnolia Reporter. (Photo courtesy Rick Cartwright)
An aerial view of the Learning Farm with numbered zones which indicate specific projects.
Blueberries at Daddy Bob's just after the establishment of the Learning Farm.