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Marshfield Research Station turns 100 in March, but its waiting until Aug. 16 to throw the party

The Marshfield Agricultural Research Station passes a major milestone on March 12. The station was established 100 years ago on that date when the University of Wisconsin officially took title to 80 acres donated by Wood County and the City of Marshfield.

Staff and friends of the station plan to celebrate, but not until it’s
a little warmer. They’re planning a centennial event for Aug. 16,
along with other activities to chronicle the station’s long list of
accomplishments.

Over those 100 years the station has hosted a wide variety research on
row crops, forages, soil fertility and management, dairy herd
management and other topics. It was long the home of landforming
research begun to help area farmers cope with the area’s heavy,
chronically wet soils. The state soil testing lab was established
there 60 years ago, and the superintendent’s house is a model
“Tomorrow’s Farm Home Today,” built in the 1950s.

The station, which is located nearly dead center in Wisconsin, also
draws thousands of visitors each year to field days and other
extension activities.

In the 2000s the operation underwent a shift in both location and
mission. The university turned part of the original property back the
city for an industrial park, and 620 acres were purchased north of
town. The new land is the site of new facilities that house a
sophisticated dairy research program, conducted in partnership with
the USDA’s Dairy Forage Research Center, focused on raising dairy herd
replacements and nutrient management.

Creating the Marshfield station was part of a university effort—
mandated by the state legislature—to create a network of research
farms “located on representative soil types that are materially
different than that which obtains at the central station in Madison.”
Stations had already been established at Spooner and Ashland, within a
decade there would also be operations at Hancock and Sturgeon Bay.

For more information: Mike Bertram, 608-846-3761, ext. 102; mbertram@wisc.edu

The historical photo of the Marshfield station shown above is available
online at http://flic.kr/p/bBHvF2.