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Buster Sykes Farm

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History of the Buster Sykes Agricultural Demonstration Farm and Forest

In 2006, aided by Alamance County Extension director Rett Davis, Coleman Clark “Buster” Sykes signed an agreement with North Carolina State University to put his 170-acre farm in a land trust with the NC Agricultural Foundation. His wish was to protect the land from development and to establish learning centers and demonstrations for youth and adults through Cooperative Extension.

Around 15 acres of the mostly wooded land were cleared and a road was established. In agreement with the Foundation, the North Carolina Wildlife Commission built the Sykes Depot on a portion of the cleared land. The depot is dedicated to aquatic wildlife conservation and habitat management. They share a bay of their garage as auxiliary meeting space for Extension demonstrations.

In 2015, Extension director and horticulture agent Mark Danieley began planning  the transformation of two acres at the front of the property– the land that was once Mr. Sykes’s sweet potato field.

With funds from the sale of timber, the field was tested, plowed, fumigated, fenced and irrigated. A team of Extension Master Gardener Volunteers helped to install nearly 300 trees and plants—peaches, apples, pears, plums, cherries, pawpaws, grapes, blueberries, blackberries, and figs.

The Master Gardeners continue to learn while working with the farm manager to collect data, prune, weed, clean up brush, thin fruit and harvest.

The remaining acreage is being developed  by Alamance County Extension for 4-H clubs and nature trails through the forest.

Learn more about the farm and the man who donated it