Back to top

Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center (LIHREC)

Horticultural research in front of the greenhouses at LIHREC
​Riverhead, Long Island,

The 68-acre facility is dedicated to serve the research and extension needs of the horticulture industries of Long Island. The facility features agricultural fields and research plots, state-of-the-art greenhouses, a nursery and container production area, and a plant tissue culture facility in support of research projects ranging from grape and vegetable production, to ornamentals and floriculture.

Winter squash growing on white, sandy soils
Produce, from grapes to hops and winter squash, thrive on Long Island's sandy soils

​LIHREC is located close to the tip of Long Island, in the heart of Suffolk County. Unique growing conditions on Long Island provide exceptional opportunities for this region. The climate is ideal for farming — it is the only area in New York State with USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 7. Strong underground aquifers provide plenty of fresh water. But the reputation of Suffolk County's agriculture is literally rooted in its characteristic white, sandy soils. The soils are the result of thousands of years of glacial deposition made of particles that were brought from as far away as northern Canada. The confluence of events that occurred during the glacial period — a convergence of water, ice, sun and rock — created a soil that is completely unique with excellent drainage, moderate water-holding capacity, and modest fertility. No other place can duplicate the soils of eastern Long Island; they are among the finest in the world and a precious natural resource, providing unmatched opportunities for farmers, growers and researchers.

LIHREC is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year

Established in 1922, this pioneering research facility continues to serve the diverse agricultural community on Long Island. In this video, Director Mark Bridgen and Cornell scientists explain how research there supports fruit and vegetable growers and the floriculture and nursery industry with the latest production information, such as ecologically sound pest and disease management, and sustainable growing practices.

LIHREC sign and building in 1947
LIHREC, June 1947

When the center was established 100 years ago, it was called the Long Island Vegetable Research Farm. Our present name, Long Island Horticultural Research and Extension Center, better reflects our mission and was adopted in 1999. Learn more about our history

In this Section