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Clanton, Chilton County, Ala.
Land Area: 161 acres
Soils: Dothan sandy loam
It’s fitting that the Chilton Research and Extension Center is located in the shadow of Clanton’s famous giant peach water tower just off of I-65, because at the CREC, peaches rule. When the center was established in 1944, its mission was to identify superior varieties and develop new management techniques that would help Chilton County’s peach producers maximize their profits. And that’s still its mission today. The CREC does work with other small fruits—most notably kiwifruit—but peaches have priority.
Peaches — Chemical thinning projects, peach rootstock evaluation
Pest management — Integrated pest management of the plum curculio
Vegetables, fruits and berries — Evaluation of plum, nectarine, satsuma, blackberry, fig, Japanese persimmon, muscadine, bunch grape and an assortment of vegetable varieties; Varietal research on kiwifruit is unique in the Southeast
Established in 1948 on a 160-acre site near Clanton, the Chilton Research and Extension Center (formerly known as the Chilton Area Horticulture Substation) allowed extension of horticultural research into the central part of the state and promoted peaches as an increasingly valuable crop for the region’s farmers.
Although peaches absorbed the greatest attention of agricultural scientists, blackberries, sweet potatoes, beans peas, tomatoes and watermelons were also among the research interests of the station.
The Chilton Area Horticulture Substation was one of the five substations established in Alabama during and a few years after World War II: Upper Coastal Plain in 1944, Piedmont Substation in 1945, North Alabama Horticulture Substation at Cullman in 1948, Chilton Area Horticulture Substation at Clanton in 1948 and the Lower Coastal Plain Substation at Camden in 1948.
History adapted from the following publications:
Kerr, N.A. 1985. A History of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station: 1883-1983. Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama.
Yeager, J. and G. Stevenson. 2000. Inside Ag Hill: The People and Events That Shaped Auburn’s Agricultural History from 1872 through 1999. Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station, Auburn, Alabama.
Last Updated: October 13, 2011