During the 1980s, the programmatic emphasis and direction of the SVAEC began to shift in response to the ongoing transition of agriculture in the Suwannee Valley area. At that time, the program at the SVAEC was no longer only agronomic crop and livestock driven, but has the added emphasis on developing profitable alternative agricultural opportunities for the diverse Suwannee Valley agricultural producers. To this end, the primary mission of the SVAEC in the late 1980s, and continuing today, is to develop and demonstrate technology appropriate to the needs of production agricultural clientele in the Suwannee Valley area of Northeast Florida. To accomplish this mission, applied research and demonstration programs are in place or are being planned toward the development of an interdisciplinary farming systems research and extension approach, including agricultural economics and marketing to solving real problems of farmers on their farms.
Programmatic efforts to carry out the mission at Suwannee Valley AEC are mostly covered under three thrust areas as follows:
- Environmental and Sustainable Agricultural Research and Demonstration
- Water and nutrient Best Management Practices (BMP) in crop production.
- Cover cropping and soil management.
- Weed biology and management.
- Forage crops
- Integrated pest management systems
- Small Farms and Alternative Crops Research and Demonstration
- Field vegetables and specialty crops.
- Sustainable fruit and nut crops.
- Organic and sustainable vegetable cropping systems.
- Greenhouse, protected agriculture, and hydroponic crops.
- Agricultural Economics, Marketing, and Regulations
- Crop and enterprise budgets
- Marketing strategies for alternative crops.
- Entrepreneurial skill development.
- Agricultural regulations and farm food safety