The land for Central Crops Research Station was purchased in December 1953 to replace the McCullers Branch Station, which was located in Wake County. The 518-acre Central Crops Research Station is located 20 miles from the main NCSU campus and hosts a wide range of plant breeding programs that require frequent visits from campus staff. The station hosts an ECONET weather reporting station that feeds onsite data to the State Climatology Office headquartered at the Raleigh campus of N.C. State University and to the National Weather Service offices in the region. In addition to the ECONET tower, the National Weather Service installed a 700 watt doppler radar tower that can detect severe weather conditions within a 250 mile radius. The station celebrated 50 years of agriculture research in September of 2006.
The Central Crops Research Station has played a significant part in field research and numerous scientific achievements including the release of new varieties. Research is conducted on corn, cotton, soybeans, tobacco, small grains, sweet potatoes, strawberries, watermelons, squash, apples, peaches, grapes, forage crops, wild flowers, and canola. The agricultural research projects continue to change to reflect the needs of our society and to address new challenges within the agricultural community.
The station encompasses 40 buildings or equipment sheds, including three greenhouses and specialized facilities for seed processing, seed storage and curing of tobacco and sweetpotatos. New facilities include an experimental burley tobacco curing barn and equipment housing for the soybean breeding program.
The Central Crops Research Station hosts a wide range of plant breeding programs which are labor intensive and require frequent, if not daily, visits from N.C. State University researchers. The station serves as a teaching platform for undergraduate field trips, graduate classes and continuing education, with more than 700 visitors each year. The conveniently located station allows graduate students to conduct hands-on field research while maintaining a full academic schedule. The CCRS research program changes each year but remains committed to supporting the scientists and students of N.C. State University.
The station also supports education programs at the local level. CCRS provides weekly onsite training for high school students engaged in the Occupational Course of Study. Various groups, from high school environmental teams to continuing education programs for professionals with the N.C. Department for Environment and Natural Resources utilize the permanent soil pits and the station’s unique soil profiles to learn about soil and water interactions. In addition, groups from local public and private schools also visit the station to learn about agriculture and its future.
CCRS plays host to a vareity of events annual such as the Farm Bureau’s “Ag in the Classroom” program for North Carolina science teachers and the Strawberry Field Day is held in late April.