UNL CropWatch July 13, 2010: A Brief Historical Perspective of UNL's Panhandle REC

UNL CropWatch July 13, 2010: A Brief Historical Perspective of UNL's Panhandle REC

July 13, 2010

The UNL Panhandle Research and Extension Center was known as the Scotts Bluff Experimental Substation when it was established in 1910 to provide a place that agricultural research could be conducted on irrigated crops under local conditions.

Centennial Stories

The Panhandle REC has played a key role in agriucultural development in the Nebraska Panhandle for 100 years, working with growers to advance the ag industry through focused research and education programs.

Learn more about early agricultural leaders, the history of the center, and current research and extension programs in a series of stories written by PREC specialists and found on the PREC website.

Also see the story and schedule of July 24 Centennial Celebration events in this week's CropWatch.

The Panhandle’s climate differs greatly from eastern Nebraska, with a shorter growing season, about half the annual average precipitation and extreme variations in temperature and precipitation. Also unique to the area in 1910 was a massive irrigation project constructed by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on the North Platte River.

The station started with 160 acres and a couple buildings at the original location 6 miles east of Mitchell (about 4 miles north of Scottsbluff on Highway 71 and 1 mile west on Experiment Farm Road). It has changed, expanded and moved from its original location several miles south to the present site, on the northwest edge of the city of Scottsbluff.

Land for the experimental substation was provided by the Bureau of Reclamation, which turned it over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The plots were managed by USDA until 1948, when the land and management were turned over to the state, and subsequently the university.

Today the Panhandle Research and Extension Center has 14 faculty members (and one pending faculty position in feedlot nutrition and management).

Most of the specialists have joint research and extension appointments, representing the following disciplines: beef nutrition and feedlot management, cow-calf production and range management, entomology, weed science, irrigation management, machinery systems, plant pathology, soil and nutrient management, alternative crops breeding, dry bean breeding, potato production and crop physiology, hydrogeology, nutrition and wellness, entrepreneur and business development, and dryland cropping systems.

David Ostdiek
Extension Communications Specialist, Panhandle REC