1919: Coastal Plain Experiment Station opens in Tifton
The Georgia Land Owner's Association, a coastal plain organization led by Captain H.H. Tift and William Stillwell, successfully lobbies the state legislature to create an agricultural experiment station in the state's coastal plain region.
The experiment station was intended to be affiliated with the state's land-grant College of Agriculture located at the University of Georgia and provide research-based information on coastal plain agriculture. Generous donations of land and facilities from Captain Tift helped Tifton win the bid for the new experiment station.
Opening in 1919 under the direction of S.H. Starr, the 206-acre Coastal Plain Experiment Station became the first experiment station in the nation's vast coastal plain, which stretches from Delaware to Texas.
Coastal plain farming has undergone many changes since those early days, but agriculture remains the backbone of the region's economy. South Georgia farmers produce about 80 percent of the state's row crops and are among the nation's leading producers of peanuts, cotton, tobacco and pecans.
The research conducted by the faculty and staff of the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences has helped farmers grow traditional crops in a more efficient and environmentally friendly way and given them many other agricultural options like new turfgrass varieties, nursery plants, fresh market vegetables, fruit and nut trees, and beef and dairy cattle, to name a few.
As an integral component of Tifton campus' research, Extension and teaching efforts, the Coastal Plain Station now includes 7,000 acres in south Georgia with research farms and centers at Attapulgus, Camilla, Lyons, Midville and Plains. UGA researchers also collaborate with USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists based at the station, a partnership that dates to 1924.