The University of Wisconsin Agricultural Research Station at Marshfield commemorated its 100th anniversary on Thursday. The facility is one of a dozen research stations across the state established to allow University scientists to test their ideas under a variety of growing conditions. The Marshfield Station began operations in March of 1912 on 80 acres on the east side of the city. Crops and forage production were the main focus of the research at first but eventually dairy would be added to the mix. The farm would add a soils laboratory in the 1950s and a forage testing lab was added in the 1970s. The farm would become a major dairy research facility developing everything from new feeding strategies to a new type of housing called the calf hutch.
Early in the 21st century, the City of Marshfield was looking to expand its east side industrial capability, that desire led to another expansion of the farm. The city purchased land in a rural area north of town and then swapped for some of the Research Station acreage. While the offices and labs remain at the original site, the 1,250 acre “North Farm” is a state-of-the-art free stall heifer raising and research facility and also houses a dairy herd and milking parlor. The station is actually part of the overall University of Wisconsin dairy herd housed at Marshfield, Arlington and at the U.W. Madison campus.
Mike Bertram was superintendent of the Marshfield Station but recently moved to head the Arlington Station. He says the purpose of the herd is to serve the scientists at the University and combining the three gave them the cow and heifer numbers needed to do research pertinent to today’s dairy farm.
Among those speaking at the ceremony on Thursday: U.S. Senator Herb Kohl, USDA Deputy Undersecretary Dr. Ann Bartuska, USDA Ag Research Service Midwest Area Director Dr. Robert Matteri, Wisconsin Ag Secretary Ben Brancel, U.W. CALS Dean Kathryn VandenBosch, State Representative Scott Suder, State Senator Terry Molton and Marshfield Mayor Chris Meyer.
Read more about the Marshfield Ag Research Station here: