The Western Agricultural Research Center (WARC), located in Corvallis, is standing in the doorway to one of the most significant transformations in its history as it transitions from doing research in some 100-year-old farmhouses and a barn into a modern research facility. The transformation is coming primarily thanks to a $1.2 million appropriation made during the last legislative session. Only one last hurdle remains to be jumped, however, before the research center can step through the door and into the next century and that’s some state participation in the funding. The Montana State University system must first come up with a $300,000 match for all that funding and the fund raising has begun in the Bitterroot.
“For the last 100 years, researchers having been doing science in old farmhouses and a barn,” said Zach Miller, the director of MSU’s Western Agriculture Research Center. “We want to build something here that will last another 100 years.”
WARC has been involved in doing agricultural research since it was established in 1907 when the property was donated to the state by the company developing the 10-acre apple tracts that were created during the valley’s Apple Boom days. As a result, the research focused mainly on apples for a number of years but as times and the
economy changed the research at the station has also changed in its ongoing efforts to serve local agriculturalists and research has broadened to include many other fruits, berries, vegetables and grains.
WARC has also developed a heightened focus on helping local landowners on small acreages by developing high value crops that are specifically suited for the climate and the soils where they are being grown.
The plans call for construction of a 4,000-square-foot facility that will serve both educational and research needs with office space and a state-of-the-art laboratory.
Donations checks can be made out to MSU Alumni Foundation and write 93627 — Western Ag Research Center Improvements in the check memo. The mailing address is MSU Alumni Foundation, PO Box 172750, Bozeman MT 59717. Online donation link is: https://www.msuaf.org/give-warc.