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Murphy, Thomas H. (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 84, Number 4 (May 1983)

Boyer, Ann
State farms are there!,   pp. [16]-21


Page [19]


For many,
the University
of Wisconsin
isn't Madison-
it's the local
Experiment
Station.
pollination; the seed, collected
and stored at low temperatures,
is shipped worldwide. The pro-
ject guarantees that breeders in
countries as far-flung as Israel
and Russia will have access to
genetically diverse materials.
   The Ashland Station fea-
tures one of the nation's most
highly-regarded dairy herds,
and the Dairy Forage Center at
Prairie du Sac is internationally
known, frequently hosting ob-
servers from France, Sweden
and Japan, to name a sampling.
   A longtime frustration for
Koval has been the program's
thwarted attempts to build an
urban center. He would like to
see a Milwaukee site for dem-
onstrations (trees that flourish
without pesticides) and re-
search projects (vegetables best
grown for roadside markets).
The Milwaukee Board of Su-
pervisors has already ear-
marked land, but the proposal
gets turned down regularly in
the state's biennial budget
process. Koval sees the total
cost coming in under a million
dollars. While the need is there
and a pool of talent exists to
staff such a center, the project
lacks a coalition of users who
would exert pressure on the
legislature to vote the funding.
   Knowledge expands us, as
the saying goes, and 100 years
of discovery have produced a
good news/bad news syndrome
at most of the stations. Those
which must house both animals
and crops for research are run-
ning out of room. "By now,
we're trying to do too much on
the acreage we have," says
Koval. "The Hancock Station
in particular has been devoted
to a great deal of small-plot re-
search. There the land is used
so intensively that everything is
locked together like a Chinese
puzzle." At some stations it is
no longer feasible to grow the
necessary crops to feed the ani-
mals. And disposal of animal
wastes is a related problem. A
great deal of acreage is tied up
in research, so the normal prac-
tice of redistributing manure on
the fields cannot be followed.
Waste from the UW-Madison
station (Remember the cows
grazing along University Ave-
nue?) must be trucked out.
"We handle 30,000 tons a year
from the campus alone," says
Koval. "And people just aren't
quite as tolerant of the odors
that go with spring as they once
were."
   Despite these problems, the
stations maintain a high level of
activity. In some parts of the
state, they're the largest public
buildings around and serve as
community centers. Early this
year, within a few weeks' time
the Spooner Station hosted Al-
coholics Anonymous, Project
Headstart, a radio club, Ducks
Unlimited, Future Farmers of
America, and the Sweet Ade-
lines. "We're the polling place
on election day," says Koval,
"as well as the local square
dance headquarters." For
many who live in Rhinelander
or Marshfield, he suggests, the
University of Wisconsin isn't
Madison-it's the Experiment
Station.                   El


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