On Thursday, July 28 th , the annual Field Day for MSU-Western Agricultural Research Center (WARC) will be held in Corvallis.
Established 108 years ago, WARC is the primary site for horticultural research in the state. Their work addresses the needs of commercial and home growers of fruits. At the Field Day, the public is invited for a dinner and farm tour with speakers sharing their knowledge and experience directly with guests. Speakers will include the Center’s three professors, two of which arrived this year, and several agricultural researchers and educators from across the state.
“We’re excited to share what we’ve discovered in the last few years and the new projects we’re starting,” says WARC superintendent Zach Miller.
A strong program of applied research and producer education is needed to support these farmers and facilitate the growth of the specialty crop industry. WARC work focuses on higher-value crops that can be grown profitably on smaller acreages. These specialty crops can provide higher value per acre than typical farm crops like grain and hay. Farms that can add value to their crops through processing into juices, jams, wines, or cider can realize even higher sales per acre. However, starting a farm, especially an orchard or vineyard, requires a large investment. In addition, perennial crops will not produce much of a crop for the first few years, so there’s a slow return on that investment. To ensure success and a return on this investment, growers need to know that what they’re planting will be productive and profitable. They need to know what will grow well and how to grow it successfully and they need research that’s specific to the conditions in Montana.
The Ag. Center helps these growers identify which types of specialty crops can thrive in Montana’s varied climates and how to manage these crops and their pests successfully. The Western Agriculture Research Center partners with MSU-Extension faculty and professors from across MSU and the country to find solutions and share them with growers across the region.
The MSU Western Agriculture Research Center is part of the Montana State University Agricultural Experiment Station network. Established in 1893 by the state legislature “to conduct and promote studies, scientific investigations and experiments relating to agriculture, natural resources, and rural life, and to diffuse information thereby acquired among the people of Montana.” The MSU Research Centers provide research-based and unbiased assistance to farmers and ranchers so that they can have more productive and profitable farms.
Each Center focuses on regional agricultural issues. While the Bitterroot valley has unique agricultural opportunities, the MSU-Western Ag. Research Center works with fruit and vegetable crops, weed management strategies and crop trials and is finding a ready audience across the state.
The event will run from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday. The address is 580 Quast Lane in Corvallis.
Anyone interested in attending Thursday’s event should contact Kierstin Schmitt by email at: Kierstin.email@example.com as RSVPs are appreciated.
For more information, contact Kierstin Schmitt, 406-360-6266 or Zach Miller, 406-451-3673.