Idaho Field Station Marks Centennial

Idaho Field Station Marks Centennial

Aberdeen research center, conducting University of Idaho studies for a century now, is lauded by scientists as a test station with a worldwide impact.

The UI Aberdeen Research and Extension Center supports state, regional and national studies which are global in their overall importance, claim university officials.

To mark the 100th anniversary of the center, a celebration in July provided a twilight tour for a look at current research projects.

Aberdeen and UI leaders joined forces in 1911 to help ag prosper as an economic force in the region's future. They knew science would help make their vision reality.

Aberdeen is considered the center of potato breeding research in the Northwest.

A century ago, the Aberdeen Commercial Club wanted to build a partnership with UI that would help the area's major industry: agriculture. The club, Bingham County Commission, Aberdeen Valley Land and Development Co., and individuals contributed $4,500 in seed money to launch the research farm.

The $4,500 was donated as a fund on a 15-year lease of 80 acres and several buildings.  "From that tiny donation, the center has grown to include 460 acres and 22 scientists who lead teams that help keep Idaho ag productive.

"There's a lot of work going on," says Steve Love, the station superintendent.

"The partnership between the USDA Agricultural Research Service and the university's Idaho Agricultural Experiment Station helps make Idaho agriculture one of Idaho's economic powerhouses and a leader worldwide," says John Hammel, UI College of Agricultural and Life Sciences dean.

"A hundred years ago, Aberdeen's leaders understood the promise of agriculture and the value of agricultural scientists could bring to the community and the state," he adds. "The Aberdeen Research and Extension Center and Idaho agriculture continue to show how wise Aberdeen's leaders were to make that investment."

The ARS picked Aberdeen as the base for its National Small Grains Collection, dedicating a modern building to house research in 1988.  In 2006, officials dedicated a new wing, the Germplasm Research Facility and Advanced Genetics Laboratory at Aberdeen.

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