Georgia Experiment Station, Griffin
Today the experiment station is one of the region's premier agricultural research centers, poised to address the research, extension, and teaching needs of the twenty-first century. Scientists still address issues ranging from production agriculture to water quality and genetics. The experiment station
Georgia's long, frost-free growing season, diverse soils, and variable rainfall are of great benefit to growers, but these factors also contribute to insect, weed, and crop diseases. Such pests limit crop growth, reduce yields, damage stored products, destroy aesthetic beauty, and threaten homes and structures as well as the health of humans, livestock, and pets. Station researchers develop, implement, and
The delivery of safe, high-quality food is another major research focus at the station. Food is not only the most basic of necessities but also is big business. Research in this area emphasizes the performance of systems that move food to the consumer. Station scientists work to ensure food safety, improve its quality, and minimize its marketing costs. To support this mission, the University of Georgia established the Center for Food Safety at the Georgia Experiment Station in 1993. The center's faculty work with food industry and commodity research boards to address food quality and safety issues.
Researchers study the effects of environmental factors on plant growth. Much of this research is being conducted at the experiment station's Georgia Envirotron facility, which allows researchers to control such factors as temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide levels. Controlled environmental research examines the effects of carbon dioxide elevation, pollution, heat, and drought stress, as well as the effects of vegetation's toxic-gas emissions into the environment. Data from the station's Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network
In recent years, the most dramatic changes in landscape patterns in the United States are associated with rapid urbanization. North and central Georgia are included in a national urbanization "hotspot." In addition to breeding new turfgrass varieties, researchers are looking for ways to control such urban pests as termites and fire ants. Georgia residents spend an estimated $420 million annually to control and repair damage caused by household and structural insect pests. At the Georgia Center for Urban Agriculture, located at the Georgia Experiment Station, scientists are developing efficient, low-input, and environmentally sound management systems, maximizing plant quality and adaptability, promoting environmental stewardship, and conducting economic assessments.
Harmful insects and diseases are significant problems in the Southeast, so crop improvement and pest management through plant breeding are continuously needed. The Georgia Experiment Station's
Through the Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit, the U.S. Department of Agriculture maintains a repository of more than 84,400 germ-plasm samples of peanut, pepper, melons, cucurbits, sweet potatoes, and forage grasses at the Griffin campus. The wild relatives of these cultivated crops are also included in the collection and possess potentially important genetic traits, such as disease resistance, which can be transferred to cultivated varieties. This germ plasm is available to plant scientists worldwide for use in breeding new crop varieties.
Sharon Omahen, University of Georgia
A project of the Georgia Humanities Council, in partnership with the University of Georgia Press, the University System of Georgia/GALILEO, and the Office of the Governor.