The Lower Eastern Shore Research and Education Center (LESREC) is one of four Research and Education Centers that are part of the Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station. Actually comprised of two separate facilities, Salisbury and Poplar Hill, LESREC got its start as the University of Maryland Vegetable Research Farm (VRF) in the late 1940s. The purpose and intent of VRF was to help Lower Eastern Shore farmers with commercial vegetable problems.
In 1947, twenty vegetable growers in Wicomico County, met in the winter and spring to create the Research Farm. Their efforts served them well as land for the farm was purchased during the Christmas season of that year. Some of the prime movers for the farm were C.C. Phillips of Quantico, H.J.W. Rayner, Edgar L. Williams, and V.V. Hughes from Salisbury. William A. Matthews was the farm's first resident horticulturist. He joined the staff in 1949.
In addition to our resident faculty, many members of the University of Maryland College Park (UMCP) faculty use the LESREC facilities to conduct research programs. Some departments that use the facility are Plant Science and Landscape Architecture, Environmental Science and Technology, Entomology, and Animal and Avian Sciences. Non-UMCP collaborators the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES), and Salisbury University, and the University of Delaware which is a faculty joint appointment.
The Lower Eastern Shore Research and Education Center, headquartered at the 124-acre Salisbury Facility (formerly VRF), was formally established in 1987 as the fourth Maryland Agricultural Experiment Station Research and Education Center. Collectively, LESREC is comprised of two separate facilities, the vegetable farm at Salisbury and a 214-acre facility at Poplar Hill, both managed by David Armentrout.
The Poplar Hill Facility is located on Nanticoke Road about 10 miles west of the Salisbury Facility. Scientists at the Poplar Hill facility conduct agronomic research including variety and pesticide testing, along with environmental relationships between soil fertility and crop management systems.