This heifer barn is part of the CALS Marshfield Agriculural Research Station.
Photo By Wolfgang Hoffmann
Marshfield Research Station turns 100
The Marshfield Agricultural Research Station passed 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.