New technology coming to Southside to help farmers across Commonwealth

IALR to get new machine to help test crops

DANVILLE, Va. – There will soon be new technology in Southside to help farmers across the Commonwealth.

The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research is getting a machine to do biological and chemical testing of crops.

It's similar to machines the institute already has, but is more advanced.

Money from the Tobacco Commission is being used to buy the machine.

Part of the money will also be used to get a new certification for the lab the machine will be used in.

"When farmers are interested in a new market, or even to insure the marketability of the product that they already have, these testing facilities and capabilities that we have allow us to offer the highest quality testing to insure that marketability," IALR Chief Scientist Scott Lowman said.

There is a high demand for this.

"We are getting calls almost daily from farmers that are interested in our equipment and testing, from heavy metals in the soil to 'What do I do with my product once I have the product and how can I get testing to increase the value of that product,'" Lowman said.

The machine is expected to be up and running in a couple of months.

The new lab is expected to have its certification by September.