The Border Belt Tobacco Research Station was established in 1949 in Columbus County. In 1956 the station moved to its present location off State Road 1002, seven miles northwest of Whiteville. The research facility is on 102 acres of fine, sandy, loam soil typical of the Coastal Plains region of North Carolina.
The current research program focuses on genetic studies on corn, soybeans, tobacco, and peanuts. There are rotation studies, fertility, chemical, crop management, and tobacco-holdability studies to name a few. The soils, climate, and southeastern location make this site unique in many ways. For this reason certain diseases, and plant pathogens can be studied better here.
The N.C. Department of Labor recently recognized the BBTRS for being a leader in safety and health by naming it a Public Sector Star work site.
The facilities include two greenhouses used for hydroponics studies, an office, shop, employee dwelling, pesticide storage, packhouse used for processing and storing tobacco, several buildings for storing equipment and 15 curing units that can cure anywhere from 2 to 96 racks of tobacco. The newest building is a burley curing shed. The NCDA&CS Plant Industry Division Witchweed Eradication Project operates a support shop from this facility along with the USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services, and the U.S. Geological Survey “Department of Interior” Coastal Plains Invasive Species Field Office
Throught the year, the Border Belt Tobacco Research Station hosts a variety of events such as the annual North Carolina/ South Carolina tobacco tour held in July. This year, an “Ag Wrap” field day was held to educate the public on baling corn stalks and soybeans in response to the hay shortage which resulted from the current statewide drought.