Established in the mid 1920s, the farm was used as food source and therapeutic training for mentally-handicapped patients residing at the adjoining hospital. Since its transfer from the N.C. Department of Hea;th and Human Services in 1974 to the N.C. Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Caswell Research Farm has redirected its focus to agricultural research and is well suited for large plot research. The station has a total of 1,259 acres, 150 of which are used for field crops and 20 for infrasturcure. Woodlands cover 424 acres and the remaining 700 acres are used for rotational purposes. In 2006 this station merged with Lower Coastal Plain / Cunningham Research Station also located in Kinston. With one management team and more than double the resources at their disposal, the Lower Coastal Plain / Cunningham / Caswell Research Station is poised to lead the agricultural community into the 21st century.
There are 29 structures located on the station. In 2005, the farm increased grain drying and storage capacity by upgrading the grain dryer and adding two 27,000 bushel grain bins. Last year, the farm installed a linear travel irrigation system to irrigate 45 acres of research land. Structures include sheds and shelters for equipment storage for both the farm and researchers. The farm utilizes old dairy structures for fertilizer and pesticide storage. A shop is provided by and shared with the Caswell Center. The Caswell Center also provides office facilities for the superintendent, office assistant and farm manager.
The primary purpose of this research station is to provide resources in the form of land, equipment, personnel, expertise, labor, facilities and irrigation to research scientists conducting field research studies on agricultural crops.
The station currently provides support for scientists conducting research on both conventional and organic production cultural practices. Because of its location in the agricultural community of Eastern North Carolina and its large highly productive fields this research facility is extremely important to Agricultural Research Service scientists and the private farming sector.
Corn and Soybean breeders from NC State Univeristy have benefited greatly from the uniform, high yielding soils. Soybean breeders have made tremendous progress in evaluating breeding lines by being at this location because of the uniformity of highly productive soils