|South Carolina Department of Archives and History|
|National Register Properties in South Carolina
Coker Experimental Farms, Darlington County (S.C. Hwy. 151, Hartsville vicinity)
(Coker Pedigreed Seed Company) The scientific breeding of hardier, more disease-resistant strains of plant material giving greater yield is at the center of the agricultural revolution of the twentieth century in the United States. The rediscovery, in 1900, of the laws of plant genetics that Austrian Gregor Mendel had discovered and articulated in 1865, has allowed the most remarkable improvements in agricultural production. Whereas in 1900, the average American farmer was producing for himself and about five other people, by the last quarter of the 20th century, he was producing enough for himself and about thirty other people. One of the earliest users of the laws of “Mendelism,” was David R. Coker, who built an extensive program of scientific research and development of pedigree seeds, of new strains of plants which helped to overcome blight and vermin, and of extension services to tens of thousands of farmers. Beginning with thirty experimental cotton plant selections, and methodically applying the latest techniques in the scientific breeding of crops, the work of the Coker Experimental Farms played a great role in the agricultural revolution in the South. The Coker’s Pedigreed Seed Company was organized in 1914 as the farm division of the J.L. Coker & Company. David Coker was the Seed Company’s president. Listed in the National Register October 15, 1966; Designated a National Historic Landmark July 19, 1964.
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