CLEMSON — Clemson University has folded its campus farms into one Research and Education Center and appointed a seasoned researcher as its director.

John Andrae is director for the newly established Clemson Simpson Research and Education Center (REC),

John Andrae is director of the newly established Simpson Research and Education Center.
Image Credit: Denise Attaway / Clemson University

John Andrae was named director of the Simpson Research and Education Center (REC), located in the Agricultural Center on Old Cherry Road.

Chris Ray, director of the Clemson University Experiment Station, said the Simpson REC was established so the seven research farm locations on and around the Clemson University main campus would have a common bond.

Clemson has six Research and Education Centers (RECs), five strategically located in the state’s distinct soil and climate regions and one in Dominica. The Research and Education Centers provide science-based solutions that directly support South Carolina’s $42 billion agribusiness industry through research in crop production, disease and pest control, sensor-based irrigation, forest management and cost-effective food production.

“The Simpson REC is different from the other RECs in that the land that makes up the other RECs are contiguous for each REC and the land for the Simpson REC is located around (campus),” Ray said. “The Simpson REC is a collection of campus farms.”

They are:

  • Calhoun Field Laboratory – Also known as “Clemson Bottoms,” this area includes an 18-acre lateral move irrigated plot for field research in plant sciences, as well as aquaculture research facilities. Current research focuses on vegetables, field crops and pest management.
  • Crop and Equipment Services – It provides services to the different farm units, including: hay, silage and crop production; pasture management, vehicle and equipment maintenance, facility maintenance and upgrade, engineering services, grading construction and land management, utility installation, grounds care, carpentry and machine shop services, as well as diesel fuel and gasoline storage.
  • Equine Center — The Equine Center supports equine teaching, Extension and research efforts synergistically. It provides “real-world” experience for animal and veterinary sciences students in pre-veterinary and equine business studies.
  • LaMaster Dairy Center — The LaMaster Dairy Center provides quality animals for research, teaching and extension projects, as well as quality genetics and dairy products for breeders and consumers worldwide. The 677-acre dairy is located within a mile of campus and has about 150 cows of five different breeds.
  • Morgan Poultry Center — The Morgan Poultry Center is located 1.5 miles from campus and consists of 11 experimental houses, a feed mill, a hatchery and a workshop containing the farm office. The poultry farm houses a variety of breeds of chickens that either are reared at the farm or purchased from approved commercial vendors. The farm supports both teaching, research and extension activities.
  • Musser Fruit Research Center – This Center is an interdisciplinary research and demonstration facility dedicated to developing and disseminating knowledge for sustainable production in the Southeast. Most of Clemson’s peach research takes place at the Center, a 240-acre fruit tree research farm.
  • Sheep Barn (Small Ruminants Facility) – This facility supports multiple nutrition and tall fescue projects and is used in the teaching programs.
  • Simpson Research Farm — The Simpson Research Farm provides land resources, equipment and livestock for cattle, sheep and agronomic research, Extension and teaching activities. The Clemson Bull Test facility is located here and evaluates seedstock for producers across the region.
  • Starkey Swine Center — The Starkey Swine Center is a “farrow-to-finish” operation where swine are bred and raised from birth to market weight. It is located approximately five miles from the Clemson Campus.

Ray said putting all of the individual farms together as the Simpson REC “tightens up” the organizational structure of the campus farms.

“It’s a pretty unique situation here,” Ray said. “The other RECs have certain animals, fruit and/or vegetable crops to study. The Simpson REC is a conglomeration of several different types of animals and different types of crops being researched.”

Ray said he believes the Simpson REC will provide South Carolina producers information they need to help them be successful.

“We believe this will strengthen the research activities by having a more streamlined, coordinated approach to the research,” Ray said.

Andrae, its new director, is a 10-year veteran of Clemson Research and Extension who studied and worked in both plant and animal arenas. He has a doctorate in animal physiology from the University of Idaho, a master’s degree in animal science from Oklahoma State University and a bachelor’s degree in animal science from Texas A&M University.

He has been a professor of forage crops and livestock grazing systems at Clemson since January 2006. Prior to coming to Clemson, Andrae worked in the Oklahoma State University animal science department’ University of Idaho Plant, Soil and Entomological Sciences and Animal and Veterinary Sciences; and the University of Georgia crop and soil sciences department.

“We felt like John had a unique set of skills in the research community,” Ray said. “He has quite a bit of experience in plant sciences, as well as animal science. Most folks are trained in one or the other. But John has a combination of training in both of these areas and because both of these research areas are prominent in the Simpson REC we felt he was the most qualified. Because he knows both plants and animal research, he’ll be able to work well with researchers at all of the farms within the Simpson REC.”

In addition to having a vast amount of knowledge about plant and animal sciences, Andrae also has experience with the individual farms as he served as assistant director of the experiment station with responsibility for the animal farms for the past several years. He said he is excited to be able to use his experience and knowledge to help move the South Carolina agricultural industry forward.

“I am honored to be selected as first director of the Simpson REC,” Andrae said. “I hope to improve the already strong ties among faculty and the research farms while working to improve agriculture research, Extension and teaching programs in South Carolina.”