PCHS Ag students tour the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Station

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Recently eighteen students from the Polk County High Agriculture Program toured the Mountain Horticultural Crops Research Center in Mills River, NC. These same students are currently enrolled in the horticulture classes taught by Chauncey Barber.


As part of the tour the students were able to observe the work being done in the tomato and ornamental programs at the research farm. First, the Polk students visited the tissue culture lab where scientists are propagating new plants for both the nursery and biofuels industries. Later stops were made at the ornamental and tomato greenhouses where plant breeding is performed each year. 

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Due to the inclement weather the Ag students were unable to observe the research apple orchard. Instead, they observed an advanced apple sorter, a specialized machine that identifies any blemishes or defects on fruit quickly and accurately. It can process up to 600 apples in a minute. 


“One of the goals of our Ag program at Polk County High School is to show students the current methods of farming as well as those new crops and methods to be used in the future,” said Chauncey Barber. “Our students always come away from this trip learning something that we could not gain from the classroom.”


In addition to Mr. Barber, the Polk Ag students were accompanied by volunteer John Vining.


Submitted by John Vining