Umstead Research Farm
Research Operations Manager
|2652 Old Highway 75
Butner, NC 27509-1650
PHONE: (919) 693-2483
Established in the 1940s, this research station was originally part of the John Umstead Hospital and was known as the Umstead State Farm. The initial two-fold mission of this farm was to provide food for the hospital and opportunities for some of the patients to work. At that time the farm included agriculture enterprises related to poultry production of eggs and broilers, vegetable production, beef production and a dairy operation. The dairy herd became part of the N.C. State University research program in 1949. During the 1970s the beef operation was transferred to NCSU when around 1,000 acres of land was given to the university for what is now the Butner Beef Field Lab. The farm continued to participate in dairy research until the summer of 2004 when the dairy research program was consolidated to other research locations.
The farm currently consists of more than 4,000 acres with about 190 acres of cropland, 200 acres of pastureland and 3,600 acres of timber. Buildings on this station are consistent with a farm that has been established for several decades and include a centrally located office/shop; a multi-purpose building; numerous storage sheds for equipment and crops; old tenant houses; a warehouse; chicken houses; storage buildings; and a feed mill with grain storage bins.
This station is located at this site because its original proximity to the John Umstead Hospital. The site represents the rolling hills found in the piedmont area of the state but also includes fields adjacent to streams that are occasionally flooded. Forestry lands include both pines and hardwoods. In addition to continuing to provide resources for agriculture research, the station is also utilized by educational and community groups that have encompassed such things as a test site for an autonomous vehicles; a location of a regional field trial for tracking dogs; to a campsite for a statewide bow hunters’ club The potential for the future of this research farm is unlimited. As research into the cellulosic production of ethanol moves ahead, the availability of cropland and the proximity of this farm to the Bio-fuels Campus in Oxford, a joint effort between NCDA&CS and the Biofuels Center of North Carolina , makes this an ideal location to grow various feed stocks for the production of ethanol.
Another future contribution is related to the availability of water for both development and agriculture. With the demand for water constantly increasing, fields located adjacent to creeks are ideal for studying plastic-culture on various specialty crops.
Umstead is the site of the N.C. Meat Goat Performance Test and Field Day. The Field Day is usually held at the end of August each year.