The Attapulgus Research and Education Center was originally the Shade Tobacco Experiment Station, established in 1939 to help the region's many shade tobacco farmers at the time. It operated under the Coastal Plain Experiment Station in Tifton. In the 1950s, the Campbell Soup Company Research Farm in the nearby town of Climax was interested in growing okra and other horticultural crops and requested that such research be conducted on the station.
In 1974, with the shade tobacco industry gone from Georgia, the name was changed to the Extension-Research Center. The new center helped the former tobacco farmers learn to grow vegetable crops. In 1990, it was named the Attapulgus Research Farm. It later became the Research and Education Center it is today.