Profile and History
In 1930, the Georgia Mountain Branch Experiment Station was established as a branch of the Georgia Experiment Station in Griffin, Ga.
The initial 210-acre tract of mostly wooded land, of which only 35 acres were cultivated, was leased from Bob Christopher and purchased a few years later by the University System of Georgia Board of Regents.
In 1932, John Bailey was named to head the station, a position he held until his retirement in 1972. Early research projects at the station focused on the potential for vegetables and fruits in an effort to upgrade the economy of the area. This research revealed that good variety selection along with proper fertilizer produced excellent yields of high quality vegetables and fruits.
The station was expanded in the late 1930's and early 40's to include field research on feed grains, forages, soil fertility, dairying and sheep. A soil test laboratory, a fruit stand and a community cannery were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.
In 1938, the station entered into a cooperative agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority known as the GA-TVA. This council promoted economic usage of TVA fertilizers in the valley counties of Georgia. Station personnel produced results to illustrate that yields of feed grains and forages could be greatly increased with good fertilizer and proper variety selections. Consequently, a farmer from Union County was the first in Georgia to produce 100 bushels of corn per acre.
Research conducted from 1950 through 1990 produced gains in apple production, forage evaluations for sheep production, soil-test-crop-yield correlations, variety testing of horticultural crops, beef cattle stocker feeding and swine production. During this time, a station researcher discovered that Black Rot fungus invades the apple at the time of bloom. This outstanding tradition of research continued throughout the '90s included the cultivation and introduction of TifBlair centipede grass.
In 2013, Stephen Mullis became the fifth superintendent of the GMRE Center. He oversees research projects conducted by UGA faculty. Currently, there are 41 ongoing research or extension projects involving apples, asparagus, beef cattle, blueberries, collards, field corn, forages, greenhouse pests, peaches, pumpkins, soybeans, turf grass, woody ornamentals and wheat.
The station was renamed the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center in 2000 to better reflect the purpose of branch stations statewide.
In 2004, aided by funds raised by the Community Council of the Georgia Mountain Research and Education Center a series of adult outreach seminars was begun covering a variety of topics for the home and farm gardener. Hands-on field experiences for area school children were also initiated. Preparations and preliminary installations to the Appalachian Ethnobotanical Garden and the Jarrett House Heirloom Garden were completed to expand the preservation efforts at the Center.