US (VA): Students help tobacco farmers transition to hydroponics

Students at Ferrum College are changing the way farmers in Southwest Virginia work.

Dr. Tim Durham, an assistant professor of agronomy, says the greenhouse has already completed its first growing cycle, which started in the fall.

Not only is produce being grown on the Ferrum College campus, but it's being used there as well. The first crop of romaine and bibb lettuce was sold to the campus dining hall, supplying about 75 percent of the on-campus demand.

The facility is funded through a Tobacco Commission grant with matching funds provided by the college.

Durham says the goal is to offer up a profitable alternative revenue stream for farmers who are looking to transition out of tobacco. He says the potential to grow other produce year-round could be a big money maker for farmers who have historically used more traditional farming techniques.

Read more at WSLS (Erin Brookshier)

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