Carl Hall, farm supervisor at the UGA Durham Horticulture Research Farm, had a job working indoors once. He did not like it.
Hall feels that a bad day on the farm is better than the best day in an office, and for the past 36 years, he’s helped shape the Durham farm into one of the most productive outdoor laboratories in the state.
His ability to help researchers who are new to the Southeast and to the farm stems from a lifetime of working this land. Hall’s father was superintendent of the Durham farm, and Hall was raised on the site. He is a living, 50-year archive of the farm’s operations and knows what has worked and what hasn’t.
Over the years, Hall has designed experimental plots, built irrigation systems and prepared fields for research. His knowledge concerning the farm’s geology and layout would be indispensable in any situation, but is even more important given that the 90 acres is used by dozens of researchers in horticulture, entomology, plant pathology, ecology, plant biology and genetics.
In addition, part of the farm has been certified for organic production, and research must be managed differently and buffered from non-organic uses.
Hall has also proven his logistical skill and engineering prowess by inventing and building new equipment from scratch, like an onion transplanting wheel or a drip irrigation subsoiler—equipment that saved research assistants hours of labor.
In addition to his work with land and equipment, Hall is known as a patient, hands-on supervisor for inexperienced research farm workers, along with being a great cook.