In 1951, 100 northwest Georgia farmers each donated $250 to buy land for an agricultural experiment station. Their efforts led to the development of what is now the Northwest Research and Education Center in Calhoun.
Over the years, the center has changed and grown with the times. Located in the hills and plains of northwestern Georgia in Gordon and Floyd Counties, the center now covers of 1,586 acres and has three distinct units.
The original unit has 28 acres of land and houses the main office building with a large conference room, and a large multi-use livestock pavilion located in Calhoun. In an effort to better serve the needs in Calhoun and the surrounding areas, the office building also houses Animal and Dairy Science, Poultry Science, Office of Information Technology, 4-H and UGA Extension offices.
The livestock pavilion is used for the Calhoun Bull Evaluation Sale and the Calhoun Herd Sale, livestock judging, poultry judging, lamb shows, numerous other 4–H activities, and Saddle Club and Red Carpet Cattlemen’s Association events.
The Floyd County unit, located near Rome, was transferred to the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences in 1966 from the state health department. It has 905 acres of land and is used primarily for beef cattle breeding research and some row crop research.
The Calhoun Bull Evaluation Center was established at this farm to evaluate the performance, growth potential, and breeding soundness of bulls to help identify the best genetics and improve the beef industry. The Calhoun Herd Heifers are also tested at this facility. The herd program, which is similar to the bull evaluation program, evaluates heifers for reproductive soundness and disposition.
Both programs give area cattle producers the opportunity to purchase bulls and heifers that will be productive in their herds for many years. In addition, other cattle are placed in the Georgia Beef Challenge program in cooperation with Iowa State University to gather extensive carcass and performance data for various projects that are conducted by several UGA scientists.
Other research projects at the Northwest Research and Education Center include variety testing of corn, soybeans, small grains, and canola, weed and insect pest management and control, soil amendment and crop rotation and plant disease research in soybeans.
The Gordon County unit, located in the Red Bud community, was purchased in 1996 and has 653 acres used for beef cattle research, forages and organic waste recycling. This farm has about 225 cows, 100 replacement heifers and several stocker calves. These cattle are used to research creep grazing, fat supplementation, heifer replacement development, collect and evaluate carcass data and evaluate forages. Forage projects include legume varieties, cool and warm-season varieties and Bermuda variety testing. Other projects conducted have tested the effects of poultry litter on fescue, and the effects that recycled waste products have on water quality.