Upper Mountain Research Station
8004 NC Highway. 88 E
The Upper Mountain Research Station is located in Ashe County. The station, which was established in 1944, consists of 454 acres at an elevation higher than 3,200 feet. UMRS has a varied research program with the capability of producing approximately 50 acres of crops, including forage production for livestock. Additionally, Christmas tree and woody ornamental work is conducted on appropriate sites. UMRS is the only location in the United States that has a planted range-wide seed source of the Carolina Hemlock.
The research program has expanded to include crops new to the higher elevations in this part of North Carolina. Crops currently being evaluated are strawberries, raspberries and grapes. Grants from the North Carolina Tobacco Trust Fund Commission are currently supporting both strawberry and raspberry production research.
The stations maintains 33 buildings to support the research program. Among these buildings are five livestock buildings, three tobacco barns, a multipurpose buidling, shop, and office. Recent upgrades include livestock and wildlife fencing and a newly constructed bridge and livestock working facility.
The UMRS stays active in the local community in a variety of ways. Tours are provided to school groups, local garden clubs, cattlemen’s associations, organic growers, vegetable producers, small fruits growers and anyone with an interest in agricultural research. Each year, the N.C. State University Department of Soil Quality holds a class at the station on identifying various soil profiles for the installation of septic systems. The N.C. Cooperative Extension Service provides seminars and workshops on commodities that are grown in the community and on the station. Provisions are made for the FFA and Ashe County 4-H to take the products that are grown on the station and sell them to raise money to attend their national conferences. Produce is also provided to the Sparta Food Closet, Ashe Really Cares, Meals-On-Wheels and the Society of St. Andrews to help feed those in need in the community. The station also played a role in helping the community during disasters. Staff assisted the community from the flood of 2004 in Operation A Brighter Day and the drought of 2007 in Operation AGWRAP, the Emergency Hay relief program.
The station hosts a number of events throughout the year. A variety of clinics, workshops, and conferences are held at the station. Local high school and agriculture students are invited to the station for Farm Safety Day each September.