Cherry Research Farm
Research Operations Manager
|201 Stevens Mill Road
Goldsboro, NC 27530-1057
PHONE: (919) 731-3270
FAX: (919) 731-3273
The Cherry Research Farm in Goldsboro is comprised of 2,245 acres. The farm, transferred to N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in 1974, was originally a source of food for Cherry Hospital, a mental institution. Patients worked on the farm as a therapeutic benefit, and gained skills to enable them to be mainstreamed into society and support themselves financially. In the mid-1980’s the farm was transferred to the NCDA&CS Research Stations Division and began the transition from production farming to agricultural research. In 1994, Cherry Research Farm was designated as the site for the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS) – a joint effort between NCDA&CS, N.C. State University and N.C. A&T State University to focus on sustainable agriculture. Since 1994, both the livestock and crops research programs at the Cherry Research Farm continues to expand.
The varied landscapes, soils and water resources at the Cherry Research Farm provide researchers with diverse opportunities. The size of the operation provides the ability to conduct large-scale research to simulate conditions on commercial farms and space to isolate different management components. The facility provides a diverse mix of livestock operations as well as field and horticultural crops.
There are 41 structures on the station to meet the needs of each research unit. Station facilities include office buildings, maintenance shop, equipment storage, feed mill with crop drying and storage facilities, fertilizer and pesticide storage buildings, milking parlor, beef barn, swine hoop structures and fueling facilities. Over the past year the dairy has been upgraded and a new swine complex with hoop structures and an office has been constructed. Work continues on construction of a biodiesel processing unit that will provide the Cherry Research Farm and other eastern research stations with B100 to support their fueling requirements. The events at the station cover a wide variety of formats and topics and include an array of visitors. Station tours are provided to universities, extension agents, community colleges, area school groups and commodity groups. Workshops are held on topics such as backyard organic gardening, beneficial insects, best management practices for beef, biofuel use, and high tunnel greenhouse production.
The Cherry Research Farm is an important part of the local community. Within the CEFS Program a variety of partnerships have been developed with local groups including the Wayne County Public Library Community Garden, Discover Ag (K-12 agriculture literacy) with the Wayne County Cooperative Extension, and the Wayne County Community Food Systems Initiative. Additional partners include Wayne Community College Forestry Program which uses the timberlands for forest management and GIS training. The N.C. Department of Labor OSHA Carolina Star program recently identified the Cherry Research Farm as a Public Sector Site, one of seven in the state. Excess produce, such as sweet potatoes and cabbages, are gleaned by the Society of St. Andrew for hunger-relief efforts. The Cherry Research Farm provides a site for a variety of events such as workshops, training sessions, field days and station tours.