Groundbreaking began at the Park on November 3, 2000. Mitchell County leased the land to UGA for development of an irrigation research and education center. The 130 acres of land was donated to Mitchell County by Mr. C.M. Stripling. Mr. Stripling was a pioneer in the start of modern irrigation farming in Georgia and national Forester of the Year. His passion and desire to protect our land, water, and plant resources motivated Mr. Stripling to develop the most advanced irrigation feasible for the Dougherty Plain conditions in Georgia.

Farmers and the Economic Development commission in Mitchell County, with their enthusiasm and support, enabled rapid development of the facility. More than a decade later, farmers continue to review research and education at SIRP to help them make the most efficient use of every drop withdrawn from surface and groundwater resources. Farmers are interested in showing non-farm neighbors that they are making wise and effective use of this resource.