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Field Day at the Cape May Plant Materials Center

Chris Miller stands next to and explains the biomass potential of various native grasses
Chris Miller, the Plant Materials Center Manager and Plant Materials Specialist, explains the potential biomass value of different native grass species.
Small scale seed harvester
James Futrell, Farm Forman, demonstrates a small scale seed harvester. 
Pelletizer converts soybeans into pellets
Scott Snell, Biological Technician, demonstrated the pelletizer operations by converting soybeans into pellets. 

On September 28, 2010, New Jersey Soil Conservation District employees and NRCS field offices employees from Maryland, Virginia, New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey attended a field training day at the Cape May Plant Materials Center. The field day provided a unique way for NRCS and Soil Conservation District employees to understand the role of the Plant Materials Center and how the research applies to various conservation practices.

The field day discussion highlights included:

  • Examination of carbon sequestration potential of six native grasses (cool season to warm season conversion).
  • Evaluation of propagation and establishment protocols for targeting pollinator species in cooperation with Rutgers through a Conservation Innovation Grant Project.
  • Evaluation of native Timber Germplasm switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) as a biofuel crop.
  • Evaluation of Sunn Hemp as a potential cover crop of the Mid-Atlantic area.

The National Plant Materials Program is a network of 27 Plant Materials Centers located throughout the United States. Plant Materials Centers partner with Federal and State agencies, universities, and nonprofit organizations in order to focus on specific resource concerns. The current priorities of the Cape May Plant Materials Center are to enhance and protect water quality, protect and restore costal resources, reduce water and wind erosion on cropland, contribute to the production of plant material needs for the northeast service area.

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Visitors are always welcome at the PMC. The center is open Monday through Friday. Please call the PMC at (609) 465-5901 to schedule your visit.