Gabriel Pent has been named superintendent of Virginia Tech’s Shenandoah Valley Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Raphine, Virginia. The Florida native has lived in Blacksburg for the past two years.

Pent brings extensive knowledge of agricultural research and Extension programming, including expertise in reducing livestock heat stress through silvopasture and alternative forages, the use of technologies to identify animal welfare issues, and beef systems.

“This farm has had a long history of agricultural innovation,” said Pent. “That legacy is our priority as we fulfill the land-grant mission to develop practical solutions to issues in agriculture and demonstrate the use of those practices to the farmers who need them.”

Since 2017, Pent has served as an Extension specialist at the Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center. For four years prior, he was a research assistant in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences’ Department of Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences, which is now part of the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences.

Pent earned his bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Central Florida in 2013 and his doctorate in crop and soil environmental sciences from Virginia Tech in 2017. He has won several awards and authored or co-authored 11 papers. Pent is also a member of the American Forage and Grassland Council, the American Society of Animal Science, the Crop Science Society of America, and several other professional organizations.

His vision is to establish the SVAREC as a premier information and data hub for forage-based livestock systems in the mid-Atlantic United States.

“We recognize the value of showing farmers the opportunities and challenges of various practices developed by scientists at this experimental farm so that they can adapt them to improve their own production systems,” Pent said.

The SVAREC is part of a network of 11 agricultural research and Extension centers located throughout the state. The center includes more than 900 acres in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Specialties include livestock production, forages and forage systems, and small-scale forestry and wood lot management.