Federal, state, local and university officials were all on hand Monday to celebrate in Oconee County. They were cheering the official transfer and dedication of the J. Phil Campbell Sr. Research and Education Center from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to the University of Georgia.
UGA President Jere Morehead said Monday was “a great day for the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, the University of Georgia and the State of Georgia.” He said the center will move research forward for the state of Georgia.
Scott Angle, dean of the UGA College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, said the 1,055-acre facility will support ongoing research in sustainable agriculture, herd management and water quality, among other projects. UGA students will conduct research projects and enjoy hands-on learning opportunities. Some 20 research projects are already underway, officials said, focusing on nutrient cycling, water quality, organic production and forage variety trials.
And, because the local Cooperative Extension office has moved from the Oconee County Courthouse to the station, local residents will come there for educational and community programs and projects.
Republican Representative Jack Kingston, who’s running for the U.S. Senate, said the research center would permit “vital agriculture research to continue here in Georgia while saving federal tax dollars.”
Georgia State Representative
Terry England, chairman of appropriations for the Georgia House of Representatives, praised the research
done by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.
Oconee County Commission Chairman Melvin Davis said the 2012 transfer of the property from the federal government to the Board of Regents--and dedication on Monday--along with the relocation of Oconee's Cooperative Extension Service was a “win-win for all levels of government.”
The research center has been operating for more than 75 years. J. Phil Campbell Sr., who was assistant chief of the Soil Conservation Service, was instrumental in its founding as the Southern Piedmont Research Conservation Center. A member of Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration, Campbell also helped establish the Cooperative Extension Service in Georgia.
For the transfer to go through, the university agreed to use the farm for research purposes for a minimum of 25 years.