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Cherry Research Station

The 2,245-acre Cherry Research Station lies along the banks of the Neuse and Little Rivers in Goldsboro, and is primarily focused on sustainable agriculture. Originally a source of food and therapeutic work for Cherry Hospital, the farm is now owned and operated by the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, supporting diverse research projects in the region. The station has an ongoing affiliation with the Center for Environmental Farming Systems (CEFS), hosting the CEFS Field Research, Education and Outreach Facility at Cherry Research Station. This collaboration is a joint effort between the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Resources, NC State University and NC A&T State University.

The varied landscapes, soils and water resources of the farm allow scientists to conduct large-scale research to simulate conditions on commercial farms as well as space to isolate different management components. The facility provides a diverse mix of livestock operations as well as field and horticultural crops.

What We Do


The research at the Dairy Unit focuses on the benefits of pasture-based dairy production by examining economics, cow health and welfare, milk quality and environmental data. The station provides hands-on training for veterinary students, and scientists conduct important research in the areas of mastitis, Johne’s and other economically important cattle diseases. In addition, the Beef Unit operates a coastal plain cow/calf production system that maximizes profitability while minimizing expenses and environmental impacts through agroforestry.

In the Swine Unit, swine roam freely in open hoop houses, except for the gestation barn where crates are used for feeding and artificial insemination purposes. Researchers study the antibiotic-free herd for cross-breeding growth traits between the Yorkshire, Berkshire, Duroc and Large Black breeds.

cows grazing at Cherry Research Station

Precision Planting

Approximately 600 acres are used for producing crops such as corn, soybeans, sweet potatoes and cotton. NC State scientists develop, evaluate and showcase state-of-the-art technology in precision planting that North Carolina’s farmers can use to enhance their productivity. These fields provide feed for the station’s livestock and for researching plant breeding, plant diseases and entomology.

Researcher working with crops at Cherry Research Station

Sustainable Agriculture

Multiple sustainable agriculture methods are studied at the station. The Small Farm Unit utilizes 30 acres to provide small-farm stakeholders with research in organic systems work, season extension, organic transplant production, small fruits production, pastured meats, grafted tomatoes and cover crop/no-till systems. Two hundred acres are devoted to long-term research investigating best management practices in systems that include conventional cash cropping, integrated crop-animal, organic cropping and plantation forestry. In addition, silvopasture—which combines trees with forage and livestock production—is an ongoing agroforestry research project at the farm in the Beef Unit.

Small unit farm at Cherry Research Station

N.C. Agricultural Research Stations Ramping Up with New Technology

Four men under a canopy, one holding an unmanned aerial vehicle, or UAV
Jason Ward, an NC State precision agriculture specialist, explains how he used multiple data sources for demonstration plots, including aerial imagery from the Quantix UAV.

NC State and N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services are working together to enhance research stations across the state by developing, evaluating and showcasing the latest technology for North Carolina farmers.

On-site Weather

For more than 75 years, the Research Stations Division has worked with the National Weather Service (NWS) to provide accurate, statewide weather data. When you hear and see local and national weather reports, you can be sure meteorologists and climatologists are using information gathered from our stations.

Cherry Weather Station 
Exterior of Cherry Research Farm

Contact Us

Cherry Research Station
Johnnie Howard, Station Superintendent
604 Farm Road
Goldsboro, NC 27530

Cherry Research Station was established in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ (NCDA&CS) Research Stations Division.