The FAMU-CAFS Brooksville Agricultural and Environmental Research Station (BAERS)
is located in Brooksville, Hernando County, Florida. BAERS' 3,800 acres is inhabited
by many species of wildlife and plant life that are captivating and a true picture
of natural art to watch. At the time of transfer of the land to FAMU from the United
States Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) in 2015
the goals listed by CAFS for the Brooksville site were:
1. To conduct agricultural and natural resource research that will benefit the nation,
state and local communities;
2. Develop and implement the beginning rancher and farmer programs, and outreach projects;
3. Develop and implement socio-economic projects that will enable the Brooksville
site to be economically viable and self-sustaining;
4. Develop youth development and experiential learning and training opportunities
for students at all grade levels;
5. Develop and showcase demonstrations designed for various alternative agricultural
enterprises from current and future areas in the college; and
6. Engage faculty from FAMU and other universities to participate in the Brooksville
There is also the recognition that because Brooksville is located in a subtropical
region, we anticipate BAERS will expand into new research related to subtropical fruits
and animals and conduct research of significance to Central and South America, and
the Caribbean. The establishment of an International Goat Center further strengthens
the importance of BAERS in this region. Furthermore, as part of its strategic planning
initiatives BAERS anticipates “a. to create a land-based economic opportunities that
will enable the Brooksville /Hernando areas to be economically viable and self-sustaining;
b. to develop smart and sustainable agriculture demonstration where best management
practices combine with next generation technologies to optimize yield and economic
value in the face of environmental variabilities; c. to develop innovative solutions
to the world’s food production, food safety, and food security problems; and d. to
provide interdisciplinary demonstrations of various alternative agricultural enterprises
for FAMU schools and colleges through remote linear and experiential learning to students
and the public."
The Mission: Helping Black Farmers Help the Land
FAMU-BAERS is partnering with the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to
improve the health of our Nation’s natural resources while encouraging the use of
best management practices to improve the productivity of American agriculture for the underserved, socially
disadvantaged Black farmer community. Our goal is to achieve this by providing volunteer
participants an introduction to the technical and financial assistance available via
the federal Farm Bill programs. This will be accomplished by reassuring strong partnerships
with private landowners and managers in the underserved communities to conserve, protect,
restore, and enhance the lands and waters upon which people and the environment depend.
FAMU-BAERS vision is of inclusive conservation technology for all farmers; our goal
is to facilitate productive and effective governmental agency collaboration on working
lands in harmony with a healthy environment, training participants to be proficient
in resource conservation through the Installation of best management practices in the underserved socially disadvantaged Black farmer community.
FAMU-BAERS’s innovative use of experienced, retired USDA persons (Conservation Contractor-CC and Retired Conservation Contractors-RCC) is being used in the three Southeastern states of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Our
goal is to strengthen conservation planning for a more effective and efficient delivery
of the technical and financial assistance of NRCS programs and services to under-served
socially disadvantaged Black farmers, through The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018
(2018 Farm Bill). The CCs and RCCs will work to establish effective communication
that will remove historical barriers, increase the technical transfer of information, and collaborate for the common purpose of achieving a business benefit for Black Farmers.
BAERS Strategic Planning Initiatives:
- Enhancing agricultural and natural resource research capacity that will benefit state,
local, national and international communities
- Creating a system of support for new and beginning farmers and ranchers, veterans,
native Americans, minorities and women
- Creating land-based economic opportunities that will enable the Brooksville/Hernando
areas to be economically viable and self-sustaining
- Developing smart and sustainable agriculture demonstration where best management practices
combine with next generation technologies to optimize yield and economic value in
the face of environmental variabilities
- Developing innovative solutions to the world’s food production, food safety, and food
- Providing interdisciplinary demonstrations of various alternative agricultural enterprises
for FAMU schools and colleges
- Providing opportunities for FAMU faculty and other 1890 and 1862 university faculty
to participate in the Brooksville Station that will lead to enhanced research productivity
and academic excellence
- Creating international, public and private partnerships and linkages that will enhance
the quality and reach of the institution.
BAERS conducts research in the areas of:
- Preservation, conservation and ecological restoration of Florida rare, threatened
and endangered plant species such as the Brooksville Bellflower (Campanula robinsiae) and Cooley’s Water-Willow (Justicia cooleyi) in collaboration with Bok Tower Gardens,
- Blueberry and Muscadine grapes small fruits research in collaboration with CAFS Center
for Viticulture and Small Fruits Research (CVSFR) and CAFS Center for Biological Control
- Ecosystems Services research that encompasses Ecotourism in collaboration with Florida
Forest Service, Hernando County, Hernando Audobon Society, and related neighborhood
- Watershed/Wetland Ecology in relation to Lake Lindsay and Townsen Wetland in collaboration
with the CAFS Center for Water Resources (CWR),
- Invasive plant species research with emphasis on Cogongrass (Imperata cylindrica, L) in collaboration with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission,
- Livestock Pasture grazing systems emphasizing stocking rates of large ruminants (beef
cattle) in collaboration with the Florida Black Farmers Agriculturalists Association
(FBFAA) and CAFS Animal Science Program,
- Agroforestry systems and climate change through silvopasture systems with small ruminants
(goats and sheep) in collaboration with CAFS Agronomy and Animal Science Programs.
- Brazil Color Cotton Breeding and Genetics research if and when funded in collaboration
with CAFS Office of Research, The Leon County Office of Economic Vitality and Cotton
Droplet Research Initiative (CDRI) of Brazil.
There are two on-going special projects at BAERS:
The FAMU Livestock and Crop Improvement Program (FLCIP).
The FAMU Livestock and Crop Improvement Program (FLCIP) is located both at the FAMU
Research and Extension Center (FAMU-REC) in Quincy, Florida and at BAERS in Brooksville,
Florida. The program at BAERS is leading to the acquisition of scientific knowledge
that will enable the University and CAFS to assist its stakeholders – the limited
resource farmers to enhance productivity and profitability of their farming operations.
The program includes livestock improvement, hay production, forage systems improvement,
specialized horticultural crop, and best management practices for livestock and crop
production. FLCIP also includes the training of new and beginning farmers and ranchers
Conservation Collaboration for Selected States Project: Florida, South Georgia, and South Alabama (CCSSP-FGA).
This special project is as a result of $1.15 million competitive grant award received
by BAERS from the United States Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation
Services (USDA-NRCS) for attracting more minority and veteran farmers to be fully
aware of programs implemented by the USDA-NRCS. Utilizing a strategic plan from the
Conservation specialists as a plan of action this project will operate from the broad-base
of watershed management with four primary components: 1) wildlife habitat management
(WHM), 2) wetland restoration management (WRM), 3) conservation water management (CWM),
and 4) conservation planning (CP). This project involving limited resources farmers
in three states (Florida, Georgia, and Alabama) is quite unique.
North Florida: Franklin, Gadsden, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon and Madison.
South Alabama: Dallas, Green, Lowndes, Marengo, Sumter and Wilcox.
South Georgia: Brooks, Early, Grady, Lowndes, Mitchell and Thomas.