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Saipan Tribune: NMC-CREES hosts successful Field Day (April 28, 2017)

The Northern Marianas College’s Cooperative Research, Extension, and Education Services conducted a very successful Field Day last Tuesday with the event attracting 48 participants at their 5-acre center for agriculture in As Perdido.

“Part of our research here is to see and test out varieties of different crop species and how they react to our environment,” said NMC agricultural extension agent Solly Takai-Nakamura.

According to Takai-Nakamura, part of the point of the Field Day is to relay to the community that there is a viable source of income in farming. The 48 participants included full-time farmers, hobbyists, and farmers that seek to earn secondary income through farming.

For these few months, the NMC agriculture center would be focusing on planting five varieties of tomatoes, four varieties of cucumbers, and multiple variants of squash, okra, pepper, lettuce, melon, radish, eggplant, and corn.

The center will also focus on looking at the proper rotation of crops. Takai-Nakamura said five patches of land were used for the growing of corn because the vegetable consumes a lot of nitrogen. Takai-Nakamurar pointed out that to correct the lack of nitrogen in a patch, they planted black beans. Also taken into consideration was the content of the soil in terms of the presence of clay. The patch of corn grew on soil that had high concentrations of clay present, so Takai-Nakamura explained that radish was grown in the patch as well to break down the soil for future plants.

“We do research and teach [the community] what we learn,” said fellow NMC agricultural extension agent Arnold Route.

“There were a lot of farmers that came and saw a lot of different varieties of [plants] here. They learned a lot today because these are mostly new varieties of plants we test here,” shared Route.

Department of Lands and Natural Resources agriculture director Manuel Tenorio is very appreciative to the efforts by NMC-CREES and is hopeful that the local farmers utilize the information provided.

“We hope that the results of the research may be utilized by the farmers here on the island so that they can start to plant different varieties of plants as well as the rather difficult plants to grow on Saipan,” he said.

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