APT’s “Spotlight on Agriculture,” Episode 3 Trailer

APT’s “Spotlight on Agriculture,” Episode 3 Trailer


Alabama Public TV presents
Spotlight on Agriculture. – Hello, I’m Steve Leath,
president of Auburn University. Welcome to the 3rd episode
in a documentary series on agriculture, produced and hosted by Alabama Public Television. As the world grows at lightning speed, never before has the role of the farmer been more important. Everyone must eat. But unfortunately, feeding
every person is not as simple as growing more food. Our environment is changing and our natural resources
are becoming limited. This means you must rethink
the way many foods are grown while innovating new
methods and new techniques. Sustainable practices
in agriculture are key. Overcoming challenges such as drought and disease are crucial. These are the goals our
agricultural scientists at Auburn are meeting every day. For the next hour you’ll
see how they are increasing both yield and nutritional
value for the peanut industry. You’ll learn about their innovations in fruit and vegetable production through sustainable hydroponic
and aquaponic systems, and you’ll go behind the scenes of a couple of Alabama’s well-known and lesser-known specialty crops. (engine roars) – When you think about
Alabama here in the Southeast, our climate, our environment, our souls, we’re well-positioned to be
a major row crop producer. And so we produce corn,
wheat, soybean, and peanut. And Alabama’s number two in
peanut production in the US. So we have a substantial
stake in peanut production. So we’re very proud of Dr. Chen and the advancements he’s made in peanut breeding and genetics. He has a wealth of experience. He’s extremely well respected across not only the country
but across the world for his expertise. And his approach on peanut advancement as far as genetics are
concerned is very novel. He’s looking at it from a
number of different areas. One that he’s particularly looking at is in drought tolerance. That’s very difficult within any row crop or agronomic crop because you’re trying to manipulate that plant to produce the same or more on less water. – The peanut industry
in Alabama’s expanded to a lot more counties and yield breaker has gone up drastically. That’s the only way farmers
are able to stay in business. Almost all of our peanuts
go for peanut butter and the candy and snack market. Peanuts are now grown in
37 counties in Alabama, and it is a big deal. It’s lots of hundreds
of millions of dollars. (easy guitar strums) – One area of research and teaching that I’m excited about is our
work related to aquaponics, where we’re integrating
vegetable production with fish production
in a contained system. – You can be growing fish in the tank, taking that water, recycling that water, letting the plants in the greenhouse extract those nutrients, in other words, clean up the water, and then we get vegetables in one crop, we get fish as the other crop. – We eat about 11 to 12 pounds of lettuce per person per year that
could be grown in greenhouses, so that’s excluding iceberg lettuce. So if you think about that as per person we could grow all the lettuce
requirements for Alabama on about 250 acres, which
is a very small footprint. – Auburn has helped me tremendously in making this a success through the advice that they gave me and suggestions that they’ve made. Everything that we produce is sold within a 50-mile radius. And we sell to local restaurants and also to the Auburn University. – We are absolutely very respectful of all the local farmers
that we work with, but all the people that
taught ’em work here. So we’re really trying to optimize food in so many different
ways, and by doing that I think we can give students an experience that’s second to none. – One of the primary needs growers have is for good varieties. Varieties that are better than
what they’ve had in the past. And so you ask somebody, what’s their favorite peach variety? And a typical person is going to say, I want an Alberta. They go to the market, they
ask for an Alberta peach. So here at the station, at one time we probably
had 400 different varieties of peaches and nectarines being grown in the variety trial here. And today that is one
of the primary things that our growers want. They wanna know, what are
the newest, best varieties that they can use? – My mentor is Marvin Durbin. He’s one of the pioneers in the fruit production in this county. And then of course working with a lot of the extension agents, and Auburn University was a
big asset at the beginning. We actually have about
15 varieties of peaches and about six or seven of apples. Peaches, most varieties
it takes years and years to develop that variety. – We’ve had crop sets from peaches to peas to watermelon and even kiwi. Auburn has had a hand in the development of a kiwi variety that
is being tested here at the station, and that just
really scratches the surface. Auburn has really done quite a bit for the farming industry. – So now all of a sudden you have a market that’s screaming
out for a product and the commodity will
grow to a high standard. And that’s why Alabama’s so unique. We have the weather that’s appropriate, and thanks to Auburn University we have a variety that’s
been tested, proven, and is now being commercialized
here in the state. – I’m excited about the
future for agriculture, and Alabama, and across the United States. We’re in a time period
where we’re gonna have to think about new production systems. Some agriculture will be moving indoors and it just creates some new opportunities for research and new
opportunities for education. So if you’re looking for new ways to really make a difference in the world, I think we have a place for you here in the College of Agriculture.

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