Ruminant Systems Specialist
Gabriel Pent is the ruminant systems specialist at Virginia Tech’s Southern Piedmont Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Blackstone, Virginia. He grew up raising dairy goats and native trees for landscaping in Florida, but never thought about merging the two practices into one system until arriving at Virginia Tech. After receiving an undergraduate degree in Biology at the University of Central Florida, he moved to Blacksburg to study silvopasture systems. His PhD research was on the effects that hardwood trees in a silvopastoral system might have on sheep behavior and forage nutrition and productivity. He also worked with Randolph Henry High School and extension personnel in Charlotte County as a Graduate Extension Scholar to develop a problem-based learning curriculum for students and teachers interested in pine silvopasture implementation. Current research projects include heifer performance and behavior in thinned and newly planted silvopastures in Blackstone and the necessity of shade in Virginia livestock production systems.