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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 [17]


By Ann Boyer
Exactly 100 years ago the
Board of Regents issued the
charter for an Agricultural Ex-
periment Station. It was, the
minutes read, to be devoted
mainly to experimental work
with the various kinds of grain,
grass, roots, fruits and other
products, and with the several
breeds of animals, with the view
to determining their capabilities
and defects in the productiori'of
milk, butter, cheese, meat and
wool.
   Today it's clear that the sta-
tion(s) have done the job and
then some. Says director Rob-
ert Bray, "Here were devel-
oped those crop varieties most
suited to our state. Our re-
search has centered on impor-
tant dairy and livestock for-
ages. Our agricultural
engineers have designed ma-
chinery that has made the Wis-
consin farmer's work easier and
more efficient. We've produced
corn hybrids and made founda-
tion seed available to growers;
Ann Boyer is a Madison
free-lance writer.
this alone has helped triple
yields since 1940."
   In 1883, research plots were
confined to the campus. Now
eleven stations dot the state.
Each has its own singular pro-
jects and reflects the soil and
climate of its surrounding
region-from the golden sands
of the Hancock station situated
in an area once arid but now
productive, to the long growing
season of the Peninsular Sta-
tion in Door County, the center
of Wisconsin's apple and cherry
industries.
   While often labeled "farms"
by the public, the units are
moving from that concept to-
ward a more scientific role, says
Charles Koval, who is the di-
rector of University Experi-
mental Farms. Basic research is
carried out primarily in labs
and greenhouses on the Madi-
son campus. The stations, in
turn, serve as outdoor laborato-
ries for scientists from fifteen
University departments and
provide field experience for
both undergraduate and gradu-
ate students. Research is so-
phisticated, yet it focuses on is-
sues of direct concern to the
state's farmers: problems such


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