University of Georgia officials will host a dedication ceremony for the J. Phil Campbell Sr. Research and Education Center at 9 a.m. on Jan. 21 in Watkinsville, Ga. The facility becomes the newest research and education center in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences network of research facilities across the state.
Formerly a USDA Agricultural Research Service research station, the 1055-acre farm and laboratory complex was formally transferred to the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences to help expand the college’s education, research and outreach programs.
UGA President Jere Morehead; Dean J. Scott Angle, of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black; U.S. Representative Jack Kingston; State Representative Terry England, chairman of the Georgia house agricultural appropriations committee; Oconee County Commission Chairman Melvin Davis and other local dignitaries will be on hand to celebrate the successful transfer of the center.
The program will include remarks from local and state dignitaries between 9 and 10 a.m. followed by a ribbon cutting and tours of the facility with several opportunities for photography.
In 2011, as the USDA was moving to close similar sites around the nation, Congress approved a provision specifying ten land-grant universities could take ownership of such facilities, provided they agree to utilize the property for agricultural research for a minimum period of 25 years. UGA is the first land-grant university to complete the transfer process and take over management of a former USDA facility.
The Campbell Center has a strong legacy under the USDA of research into grazing land and cattle herd management, soil protection and carbon sequestration, water quality and conservation, animal and cropping systems and integrated watershed research. UGA and the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences are committed to continuing and expanding that legacy.
“The acquisition of the Campbell property from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will allow the University of Georgia to continue the important research that has been conducted here for decades,” said UGA President Jere W. Morehead.
Access to the facility will allow, UGA faculty to investigate sustainable agriculture practices and their impact on the natural environment from a systems-based perspective. The center currently houses about 20 ongoing UGA research projects on sustainable grazing systems, nutrient cycling, water quality, organic production and forage variety trials.
The center also serves as the home of the Oconee County Extension Office, an outdoor classroom for UGA courses and the hub for the UGA Extension Beginning Farmers and Ranchers Training Program—a hub for information for beginning and limited-resource farmers which offers support, workshops and other resources.