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DeMilia Research Farm, Family Farm for Agricultural Research, is a 14-acre family farm recently moved into in Zebulon, NC (just outside of Bunn in Franklin County, NC) that serves as a center for agricultural research for DeMilia Research LLC, a family owned and operated small business that develops web based computer software applications for agricultural pest management. Details of all of our agricultural experiments can be found on this farm website. If you live in the Triangle area, please also check this website on a regular basis for harvested fruits, vegetables, herbs, and grains currently available at our produce stand and U-Pick, as well as for purchasing the produce from a specific research plot after harvest. Come visit the farm for family fun including farm tours, kids field scouting, and guided research plot walks. Want to help? We are looking for volunteers. Even if you don't live in NC, you can still sponsor a research plot and have your name put on the treatment stake or just make a donation. In the future, we'll have t-shirts and other products for sale featuring our dog, Lucky, and other farm animals.

DemiAg Expert System for Agricultural Pest Management is a web based computer system being developed to provide agricultural researchers, farmers, and home gardeners with forecasts for plant diseases and eventually other plant pests. It will be a revolutionary solution to past problems in implementing plant pest models. Unlike any other farm, even agricultural experiment stations, the primary purpose of crop production on the DeMilia Research Farm is for plant pest model data collection and experimentation, not saleable produce or typical experimental research plots. Details of all of our agricultural experiments can be found here. No need to wait for forever for publication in scientific literature, current data is posted immediately after being collected. You can even view time lapse photography of experiments in progress.

The sale of produce is a secondary purpose to supplement funding for research efforts on our farm. Nevertheless, it is an essential that our crop production techniques become profitable for our farm operations to be sustainable. There are considerable technical obstacles to overcome with respect to small-scale production of a large number of different crops. Almost all of the machinery for planting, maintenance, and harvesting of individual crops is designed for large commercial farm operations. Home gardening practices are often too manual labor intensive for even a small farm. There is a wealth of knowledge to be obtained from the almost forgotten practices used in small family farms of past centuries, as well as those currently used in Third World agriculture. Plus, there is nothing like the advice of local farmers for determining what works best for your particular location. The agricultural research literature provides many solutions for conducting small-scale experiments that are relatable to commercial practices. Furthermore, as computer software developers, we are always looking at new technology and how it will change things in the future. Hence, our current challenge is taking the techniques from the much larger and the much smaller, the past and the future, the remote and the local, the experimental and the proven, and trying to meld it all into viable farm operations that are efficient and cost effective.

Sadly, the small family farm is rapidly becoming a thing of the past as agriculture moves towards ever-larger commercial monoculture operations. As multi-billion dollar supermarket and convenience store chains have supplanted the Mom and Pop small food markets of the past, it has become increasingly harder for smaller farmers to sell their produce and make a profit. There are some real potential dangers in such a trend with respect to plant pest resistance, genetically modified crops, environmental contamination, biodiversity, and agricultural economics. The recent growth in the organics food industry has fueled a second look at agricultural practices of the past. There also is a notable increase in the number of papers in agricultural literature on sustainable agriculture research. Many restaurants are starting to promote their use of locally grown produce and some are even growing it themselves. While the agricultural research conducted on the DeMilia Research Farm and the agricultural software developed by DeMilia Research LLC serves to benefit everyone from the home gardener to large commercial agribusinesses, we share a particular kinship with other small family farms and local produce markets. The crop production techniques that we research, modify, and create in the course of our agricultural experiments have potential practical application for usage on other small agricultural operations. The DeMilia Research Farm hopes to serve as a model for small-scale polyculture farming.

After more than a year of preparation, 2014 was our first full growing season and we only tested untreated controls. For the 2015 growing season, we focused on crop production techniques and only a few pesticide applications were made. For the 2016 growing season, procedures and practices are being developed for use in future plant disease studies including the evaluation of synthetic vs. organic insecticide treatments. Our goal is to use the least toxic treatment for insect control as possible to obtain acceptable levels of crop damage. In contrast to experiments in future years, treatment regiments have not been pre-defined and are being determined on an as needed basis. Some crops may not require any insecticide treatment at all. We are also trying to establish when we really need to use herbicides versus when weeds can be controlled entirely by cultural practices and cultivation. In 2017, we will be continuing these efforts and collecting data on the natural levels of plant diseases on the farm for the purpose of establishing future experimental protocols. In 2018, we will begin evaluating fungicides and organic plant disease treatments. Details about our current experimental research field trials are also available. We'll see how long it takes to get an initial release of DemiAg after that so that we can start testing some plant disease forecast models. Keep an eye on the produce stand information on this website for our harvest dates.

Your personal account features are accessed through your personal dashboard. If you already have a DeMilia Research account, then you can sponsor a research plot and purchase other products through the shopping cart. If you do not have a free DeMilia Research account, then you can register for one.

Coming soon. Welcome to our initial website release. Our databases, shopping cart, and other advanced site features are currently in development. Content for most of our informational pages are still being written and currently exist in limited form. Stay tuned for the announcement of the grand opening of our produce stand in the next few weeks. Information about farm tour dates during 2016 also will be forthcoming.

 
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